Sick Day

January 31, 2008 at 6:37 am Leave a comment

Sick Day

            I called in sick today. Okay, so I was sicker on Sunday, and on Monday I had an air deprived raspy voice, and yesterday maybe I was more grumpy than anything. Favorite coworkers highly encouraged me to call in sick. They felt I looked and sounded sick enough, and maybe they just plain didn’t want to see me around looking like a frustrated gloom cloud. So I did it. I was told to sit around in the bathtub reading all day, only moving to the couch to watch movies.

            It is worth calling in sick to simply be free of the alarm, though I’ve made my alarm as gentle as it can possibly be with the CD of Dennis Kamakahi singing “Ahe Lau Makani” and “Sweet By and By” to me over the last five years. When he gets to “Kapela,” I know I’m on the last call, and leave Cholla to snuggle in the comforts of down as I stumble down the banister-less stairs to bright lights and a shower. I love to turn poor Dennis off on the weekends, and the mid week treat of waking to a blue sky instead of darkness gave me instant healing all to itself. With clear vision I made it to the shower and decisively went out to coffee with my newspaper and journal in tow. My coffee shop overnight has become famous. Everyone in town was there, and I exquisitely performed my coughing skills with all, complete with singing a broken version of “Las Mananitas” to someone who had a birthday. I said I was going to ride my bike, sweat out the illness, but when I went home, I instinctively pulled out my backpack, warmed up my pea soup on the stove, and headed out to Soberanes for a hike.

            It’s a favorite hike, though I have to say it’s also a favorite hike for many. It’s not unusual to come across a friend as one might encounter someone at the market. The trail is steep, and beautiful, and goes through a change of several ecosystems all in one trail, and it always gives me great joy to come around a bend to hover over a span of ocean that is as close as I can get to hang gliding (no, I’ve never attempted that). I hike it a lot at night, too; I love the night shadows and moon beams. Today, no one was there. I hiked up and up, pausing to breathe in those massive views of greens, of blues, of clouds, of cool air, noting changes in colors with the rain we’ve had, and somehow, wanting to keep the views and the way I saw them; the severe giant land fingers reaching down, down, the hawks swirling, and opening my eyes as wide as I could to take it all in without paints, camera, or even a pen to write about it. Up at the top, I nestled into some rocks, happily stripped off my sweat soaked t-shirt for my fresh one, put on the red sweater my sister knit (and amazingly just handed to me as she didn’t like how it turned out. I love that sweater), and there looked out at “my hills” (I’m sure we all say that), hunkered in there with my pea soup, loving that I was looking at green and eating green at the same time. With my wet t-shirt on the rock, my soup and the coziness of the rock, I was getting the rejuvenation I needed. After the hike, I called out “thank you,” and blew kisses to the hills.

            A sick day! What a great thing! I did also read, and knit, and then walked Cholla on the beach. Odd things were going on. About twenty people in something like “moonsuits,” as one person put it, were out in a pack collecting the blobs of black gooey stuff that the local authorities told us were perfectly safe. They had on head to toe protective gear, an odd juxtaposition to us folks with dogs and Frisbees. Another guy was up on the eroded part of the beach with his shovel. I knew what he was after, and went up to join him. He was scavenging for the old bottles and cool stuff that was junked on the dunes back when the local beaches were considered undesirable places to be, perfect for tossing garbage at the turn of the century. So we chatted along, finding old Listerine bottles, crocks, Chinese plates, cups. I never got this guy’s name, though we shared lots of local stories and mutual wisdoms. He said he comes a lot, and has collected baskets and baskets of bottles. As the sun set, I grabbed my little stash, my clothes covered in soot, and headed home. 

            Sick. It’s a good thing. Sick. I think it happens when all the subtle parts of our being try gently to remind us to take some time, turn off the cell phones, forget about the work, forget about the anythings that twirl around in our minds, and as we neglect to notice the quiet reminders, another force within our bodies says, “well, since you’re not listening, here goes…take that! So NOW will you take a break?” Then it’s no voice (shoot, so now I can’t talk at meetings?), Kleenex box in a constant embrace, (no one wants to stay with me for very long?), coughs (wow, those rooms can clear out fast), and there’s no choice: attend to the self. I’m kind of glad I waited until I was pretty much on the other side of sick to use this day, do those things that keep me in my happy balance. To be repeated again soon!

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Entry filed under: daily life.

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