While I was visiting family in northern New Jersey a few days ago, a snow storm blasted across the Northeast. Nemo left eight inches of fluffy stuff covering everything in sight.
And overnight, my sister’s household slowed down to my speed. Lyme speed.
First thing in the morning, my sister gazed out the window at the white world and declared “We aren’t going anywhere today!”
Because of the snow day, everything was on hold. No work. No errands. Lunch dates cancelled.
For once, I was housebound but not totally isolated; and I wasn’t the only one sipping coffee in my PJs.
And then, joy of joys, I realized that my symptoms were not escalating like they often do as the day goes on. I pulled on some clothes, boots, and a coat and stepped out into the sparkling day.
In the back of my mind lurked my usual worries: How long will it take for the pain to come on? Will it be a lot worse after a few minutes of activity?
I threw those thoughts off. One of my sisters was shoveling the walkway. My brother-in-law had fired up his snow blower. I wanted to help—and there was one chore I figured I could handle.
As a child, I would venture out with my parents in heavy snow—even in the dark, even as big flakes still fell—to knock the weight off our precious, ancient boxwoods so their branches wouldn’t snap under the weight.
So I picked up a broom and reached up beneath the limbs of my sister’s biggest shrubs. They were already bending perilously under the heavy burden.
With every satisfying thwack of that broom against a branch, I found it easier to be in the moment—the Lyme-free moment.
Crystals of snow cascaded down onto my purple coat like sifted sugar, and found their way down the back of my neck with a delicious chilly tickle. Sunlight dazzled my eyes as I squinted upward.
The sound of songbirds chirping and snow shovels scraping down the block reached my consciousness. I hadn’t experienced that sort of outdoor bliss in a long time.
I caught negative thoughts encroaching: Remember when you used to be strong enough to do outdoor chores all day long? Isn’t is sad you can’t be skiing with your son on fine days like this one?
Mentally, I placed those thoughts on a branch—and knocked the daylights out of them with my broom.
After perhaps 15 minutes, no more, I shook off the snow and went inside to rest, exhilarated by fresh air, a little exercise, and the satisfaction (so rare for me these days) of a job well done.
Turns out that brief interlude was short-lived; pain and fatigue wiped me out again by day’s end. I’ve had a long run of days where I haven’t even been well enough to write a blog post.
That’s why we all need a vision of life at its best, a memory to carry us through on rough days.The next time I have Lyme-induced cabin fever, I’ve got mine ready: snow day. So what’s yours?