Posting, even though this was stuck in drafts for ages.
An arm pushes from beneath a pile of rumpled blankets. The fist unfolds to release a white flag. The arm flails pathetically….
Fine, it's a germy tissue, but my surrender still stands.
Colds suck - the exhaustion, the sneezing, the burny eyes and nagging cough. Sucks. When a cold also makes your knees numb and triggers the feeling of carpet burn up and down the side of one arm - super sucks. I feel like my immune system goofed off at Hogwarts and learned half-assed spells intended to annoy me.
Okay, whining over. I am a day or two or three from kicking this virus's ass, thank jeebus. Mind you, I said that three days ago too. All hail Neocitran, the mighty god of fucked up dreams, but decent sleep.
Now if that carpet burn sensation could disappear, that'd be fab.
The daily snowshoes/hikes picked back up again yesterday, now that I can hold my head up and the brilliant ball in the sky doesn't make my eyes stream. If there is one fantastic perk of living here, that's it - the fields. I can open the door, throw on my snowshoes and walk with the dog for an hour without having to drive anywhere first. To the back of the field, down through the brambles, around a copse of evergreens and back again and my heart and lungs are hollerin'.
When I say "walk with the dog" I mean the dog is within sight at most times. That could mean 4 feet or 300 metres, so it's a loose phrase. She has superb recall, so it's fantastic to be able to let her run free. She likes to bull+china shop her way through the brier. Who needs the easy way when you can gleefully bulldoze your way around?
I am loving the walks. I'd like to wax poetic and regale you with stories of how the dog and I bond, traipsing side-by-side, but really, we're both in our separate worlds. She sniffs out every scattering of deer droppings and lifts a paw to tell me they're there. Thankfully, the days of wanting to roll in dung are years past us. [Er, she was the one who used to roll in horseshit, not me. Granted, I have spoken a lot if it in my time.] Or she trundles along sticking her nose into cat, bird, or even her own tracks, adding to her endless inventory of "cool stuff that was here recently".
The time with her is precious to me. I love watching her soak up the outdoors. When she stops to flop and floop around on her back in the hard packed snow, I laugh every time. It is the picture of joy.
And, for some reason, snowshoeing doesn't much feel like exercise when I pop out the door and get at it. If the snow is hard packed, I throw on heavy Sorels for the added heat and weight, and leave the rackets behind. I get the same lung joy as I would at the gym, without the mental effort it takes to work myself into it. It's just right there. There are no excuses...and I love it, so I don't try to make any. Me and my dog. And my MS, so I take my phone in case of emergency.
I was going to end this here, but friends have been asking how I feel living in the country, so….
I won't live here forever - I miss the ocean and my friends far too much - but this necessary move has offered up a unique experience that we are both trying to immerse ourselves in to the fullest. I felt isolated living in town. Not lonely exactly, that is a rare feeling for me, but alone. Now when Nance is away, I don't feel that at all, even though I am surrounded by nothing but fields of white and the whistling wind. It's easier to absorb being alone when you're surrounded by nature.
Loneliness is not a totally foreign concept to me. Because I'm on the far end of introversion, I rarely feel it from a social inclusion perspective, but I feel alone in MS on a semi-regular basis. I have the best support anyone could ask for, but Nance is not inside this head with me. I feel what I feel on my own. And while I like and need to communicate how I am, it's also a lot of effort to try to explain why I am not 100% in a given moment. Why I'm teary. Why I am flexing my hand or clearing my throat (most of the time I'm unaware of doing so). So, even if I let my wife into my head, which is my go to, sometimes I choose to be alone with it. And I've learned to be okay with that, for the most part.
So, I'm okay living here. Better than okay. I walked 6 km this morning with the dog and felt free. Myself. I'm not lonely here.