White Walden

Looking out the window I wish for sun. Too many days of grey upon grey upon white tends to drain me. The feeling of cold clutching at my skin, whatever of it remains uncovered when I venture outside into the white.

I am feeling too tired to go to Walden, but then I think of the week ahead and wonder when I will get the opportunity again. The grey fog of structure of my life, the lack of routine, the normal that I want to count on to guide my days. I overcome my fatigue and go.

It’s Sunday, the first weekend of March, and the temperature suspiciously sneaks above freezing. ‘They’ predicted snow. More snow. (Who are these nameless ‘they’ anyway.) I think back a year, and how in early April I swam in Walden, albeit the icy water clutching at my breath as I exhaled. Today the ice is as thick as it has been all winter, and I am not at all anxious, grinding my crampons into the pond surface. A month ago the ice fishermen told me at only six inches thick, it was late in the season for it to be so thin. A week ago I walked the slushy pond perimeter. Footprints falling into the pond. Today there are people all over the pond, walking the perimeter or across her girth.

I am glad I have come. My energy picks up. I focus on listening to the rhythm of my steps. Stopping occasionally to take photos, but more wanting to put rhythm in my life that the days do not otherwise hold.

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Back at my x husband’s house, one of my fifteen year old daughters lies on the couch entertaining school friends. She has not been to school since the middle of January when unsuspecting, she was diagnosed with a relapse of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Three and a half years in remission, three and a half years back into a teenage existence focused around school, and work, and friends, and clothes and fashion, and her love of animals…and suddenly swoosh….the ER, blood tests, hospital admission, a marrow biopsy and a host of other procedures and the start of chemotherapy.

The disintegration of normal.

She is home from hospital for two weeks, recovering from a severe fungal infection in her skin. The chemotherapy, designed to ‘knock out‘ her immune system, left her susceptible to an infection you or I would not blink at. The chemotherapy, now tempered so she can fight the infection, has done it’s necessary work. She is in remission (again) but needs continued treatment so the cancer is truly gone. But currently cannot afford to have her immune system knocked back until her body has sufficiently handled the infection.

It’s good to have her home. Family time. Except that for me it is not my home. I am staying at my x husband’s house, better equipped to handle her care than my own small apartment, to provide the hours of nursing and mother love she needs. Intravenous medications, dressing changes, oral medications, encouragement to eat and move off the couch. Hours and hours each day.

So I am at Walden, listening to each foot as it plants on the icy snow. The scrunch it makes on the ground. Looking out at the uninterrupted white layers of ice under the white sky. Longing for sun and warmth, the water I know which lurks beneath. Hardly able to conceive of it at the moment.

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