Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Northern Morning

The flu arrived at my house in the last week. We'd all had flu shots, and that did seem to make it a milder case for everyone; the fever lasted for about 24 hours. Walker came down with it on Wednesday, Eleanor had it Saturday, and I got it Monday. It was the mildest fever I think I've ever had; rather than making me achy, it made me so lethargic I couldn't move. It was lovely to lie in bed. I had to get up and do a few things, but then I would lie down again, and it felt so nice. In real life, I'm like Harriet the Spy about bed: "in and out, that's my motto." But for two days, I felt like nothing was urgent.

When I started to recover, the sun was shining and the crocus were blooming, and my first bunch of jonquils, which have always opened by March 26, were already in full flower, a week early. Even though it's supposed to rain and turn cold again during the night, it's been an oddly peaceful interlude. Now I can face another cold and ordinary morning, appreciating my cup of tea in a new way, as in the poem "A Northern Morning" by Alistair Elliot:

It rained from dawn. The fire died in the night.
I poured hot water on some foreign leaves;
I brought the fire to life. Comfort
spread from the kitchen like a taste of chocolate
through the head-waters of a body,
accompanied by that little-water-music.
The knotted veins of the old house tremble and carry
a louder burden: the audience joining in.

People are peaceful in a world so lavish
with the ingredients of life:
the world of breakfast easy as Tahiti.
But we must leave. Head down in my new coat
I dodge to the High Street conscious of my fellows
damp and sad in their vegetable fibres.
But by the bus-stop I look up: the spring trees
exult in the downpour, radiant, clean for hours:
This is the life! This is the only life!

For the next couple of weeks, which are often damp and sad here in Ohio, I'm going to try to look up. In the movies, you see hidden attackers that way. In my yard, you can see unfurling lilac leaves.


lemming said...

I love my bed as much as the captain in Hitchikers Guide loves his bath.

Jeanne said...

Oh my, Lemming; that's a lot! In Harriet the Spy, the woman who loved her bed leapt out when her doctor pretended she was confined to it.