A retired English teacher, I reflect on the many facets of my life: retirement, reading, writing, gardening, faith, parenting adult children, grandchildren, loss, grief, healing from grief, surviving the loss of a loved one by suicide, hair loss, alopecia, aging, and living life at the foot of the Rocky mountains.
April, you were given a bit of a bad reputation by T. S. Eliot in his poem The Waste Land. He called you the "cruellest month."
April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
I wonder what he would have written had he spent this past April in Colorado. His poem was not a happy one. He was speaking as one with depression. The reawakening of the earth is so often a difficult time of year to those with depression.
Eliot might have actually liked living here in Colorado because on this next to last day of April in 2016, the lines about winter and how the earth is covered in “forgetful snow” speak of the reality we are experiencing where I live.
The snow, at times in thick curtains, falls silently to earth blanketing everything it touches. The effect is one where everything appears to have been redecorated with thick white cushions. As the day continues, the snow seems to be dissipating. The warm earth that had soaked up sun a few days before is drinking in the snow quickly. The trees branches weighted with snow, leaves, and blossoms droop and slough off the added weight of snow. Some see this time as an extended time to do some cross-country skiing.
Snow is April is common in the mountains and foothills of Colorado. Snow in April is best seen as an unexpected gift where one is able to enjoy those things we most love about winter.
I’ve been trying to do that very thing myself. I drink in the beauty of this unexpected snow. I welcome the moisture which is feeding the life that wishes to spring up from the ground now covered in blankets of white. I cast off the extra weight of being frustrated by things I cannot control. I am reminded on days like this when snowy weather is not really what I might wish to have that I can choose to have a day of gold rather than a day of lead. I welcome another day spent cozily ensconced in my home. These days are as temporary as a spring snow. They never last long. They provide time for reflection, rest, and recharging.
Honestly, I’ve done so little for a month that I am beginning to feel as if I’m at risk of being completely slouched from the whirl wind of busy lives that buzz around me. Will I ever again completely join the flurry of life that has been passing me by recently?
Yesterday, my husband and I spent the morning doing a lot of nothing. “I’ve wasted the morning away again,” I lamented as I headed to the shower when it was nearly noon. “No you didn’t,” said my supportive husband. “Did you enjoy yourself wasting time? If you did, you didn’t waste it.” Then he added this gem:
Beside, we have less time in the future to waste time than we did in the past,
so we might as well enjoy wasting it.”
I can’t say that I have actually wasted time this entire month. It just feels like it sometimes. On March 31, I had cataract surgery on my right eye. I spent the first few days just listening to a story on Audible. I couldn’t bend from the waist or do heavy lifting, so I let housekeeping chores slid. Once I was better, I caught up on my chores, did a little planting, had lunch with friends, visited the sick, and did a bit of exercise.
Ten days ago, on April 19, I had surgery on my left eye. I again did not have any anesthesia during the surgery. The surgery all went very well. My doctor was fabulous. He talked to me through the entire surgery to keep me calm. I was quite proud of myself for being able to have both surgeries without taking any drugs.
The day after the surgery, I could tell that the left eye was not responding like the right eye did. I could not see anything but light and shadows. At the one day follow-up appointment at my eye doctor’s, I could not see the big E on the eye chart. All I could see was a lighted square on the wall. That was a bit unnerving. The eye doctor was quite concerned about the amount of inflammation I had in the eye and by the condition of my cornea. He sent me home with instructions to do nothing for a few days but rest and put prednisone drops in my eye every two hours. It is crazy how one eye had no problems, but the other eye had significant problems after surgery.
Following the doctor’s orders, I went home and listened to my story on Audible. (Standby for a future post about the book I listened to.) The Auschwitz Escape is a great book. I really enjoyed it.
I was back at the doctor’s office in two days. The eyesight was improving significantly. Finally, at the one week mark, the eye was nearly back to normal. I have 20/20 eyesight again. I’m very pleased with the results after having the surgery. It will be a month or so before I get new reading glasses.
Now that the eyes are all fixed up, I’m working on getting some dental work done. That is always a fun thing to do. I’m also trying to resolve pain issues in the left sciatica and hip area. This has been an on-going area of pain for at least fifteen or twenty years. Monday’s MRI and the one from February don’t give us any definitive answers. In the meantime, there are days when I have trouble walking and sleeping because of the pain. Because of my allergic reactions to steroid shots in the past, we are ruling out shots for right now. I see the specialist that operated on Jim’s back soon. Hopefully, he will have a plan. Quite honestly, I am now ready to see May arrive. I have some travel plans for May and June. I can't wait.