It is 6:30 on the last day of my week away at my parents place. Finally, I have woken from a good night’s sleep and finally the words for a blog post start coming to me, and in a moment my baby will wake. What was meant to be a pleasant week away playing in the hills of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, has turned out to be a week of convalescence – and how I managed to escape the virus that felled my family I have no idea – usually I am the one to fall down first, and come up last! I can usually make a simple virus last months and months, but this time I had 2 days of feeling awful, and the rest of the time feeling like I ought to feel awful, because everyone else has been!
What a virus this one was … in a large household like ours (10 people) it is interesting to watch illnesses unfold: one child comes home with a fever and we all quietly watch to see who will be next. Sure enough nobody in our household escaped this one, but each person developed it and moved through it in their own way. My son seemed perfectly fine, if just a bit pale and tired, during the day but at night would cough cough cough all night long: scary for him and us. The mental preparation for the night’s journey was exhausting enough. Don’t you hate it when you reach such levels of sleep deprivation that you begin dreading the night? A quick trip to the naturopath for some herbs and homeopathics set him right again, thank goodness for him – and for us it meant one less child to wake up to at night-time.
While everyone else around me has been wrapped up and turned inward into their own healing, I’ve had time to sit and notice the things I’d normally be too busy to pay attention to. “Sacred Idleness” is what I came here for: time to sit and think and write and enjoy stretching time. In a round about way, that is what I achieved, even if it came at the expense of everyone else’s health. The weather here has been amazing. The bright winter sunshine has been healing and warm without the bite of summer. I’ve been able to sit outside in full sunshine every morning without fear of being fried to a crisp. The skies have been clear and where my parents live we have the very wonderful opportunity to observe the full colour spectrum move across the sky from morning to night – “rainbow skies” as my three-year old calls them. So pretty.
My mum and dad have a wonderful garden. Out the back are the vegetables and the fruit trees. A beautiful chicken coop waiting for some chickens. Out the front are grasses that move and whisper when the wind blows, paths for children to follow and play on, lots of little flowers for three-year old girls to pick, a simple sandpit – with some bricks, a shovel and a few bits of wood: heaven. The bird bath daily sacrifices its meagre offering of water to the activity in the sandpit, scooped out with old yogurt containers and carried carefully with two hands down the brick path. The children like to pick veggies and visit the worm farm, and there is almost always a job for them to do when busyness is the difference between a happy child and a whining one.
Upon reflection, having a holiday when every one is sick has been a good thing to do – we’ve been away from our usual routine, which means that we’ve been able to break habits, slow things down, eat simply and not plan anything. Our day has revolved around meals and rest, and in between there has been lots of tea-drinking and newspaper-reading for grown-ups. For the kids there has been exploring in the garden and a couple of trips to the park – and that was the whole reason we came here – except without the coughing and the debilitating tiredness!! I only hope it has not been too much for my parents, who have also been sick. Nobody enjoys being unwell, but at least we have been able to share the experience and enjoy the quiet days together.
Yesterday the kids and their dad left Baby and I here – and for the first night we have both slept beautifully. After several weeks of caring for sick and unhappy people I have woken feeling healed and fresh and am grateful that it this feeling has arrived, even if it is my last day before going home. I’m sorry that everyone has been so unwell and worn out, but grateful for the opportunity to look at things differently and to start again. Leunig, as always, puts it beautifully. I’ve posted it before, but this one is always good to revisit:
God bless those who suffer from the common cold.
Nature has entered into them;
Has led them aside and gently lain them low
To contemplate life from the wayside;
To consider human frailty;
To receive the deep and dreamy messages of fever.
We give thanks for the insights of
this humble perspective.
We give thanks for blessings in disguise.