For two weeks, I was pretty distracted. So I didn’t write. Much of what happened reminded me of how important good health is and how quickly our physical circumstances can change. Life is so fragile. It’s amazing we don’t live in constant daily fear. There was also the tension of the election and arguments about who would win.
First was giant hurricane Sandy, requiring preparations like removing outdoor furniture, gathering supplies. I grew up used to lots of hurricanes in Florida, where we would buy batteries, food, and fill up the bathtub with water. After Sandy hit the northeast on October 29th, I had power, but for days no land line phones and internet. Fortunately I have satellite TV, but seeing the devastation and fires probably depressed me. We only lost some trees. Nothing. Spared. I was numb for days.
But a friend has had no power for 10 days. Yes he has a house, but that is still a big change to deal with. Another friend in Brooklyn can’t buy gas, her Manhattan office is still without power, her subway doesn’t work. One day your life is different. So fragile.
Then I found out about an acquaintance, age 63, who walked up stairs, his leg gave way suddenly, and he fell on his neck. He is now confined to a wheel chair, maybe forever. So fragile.
Two weeks ago I found a tick on my chest. Hadn’t even been out in the woods. Probably picked it up from the dog who had eight of them I located later. A friend who had a severe reaction for months from Lyme disease had a relapse: headaches, joint pains. Would I get that too? The bite location is still red, but I don’t feel any of the systems. So fragile. One day your life changes.
Another acquaintance has a husband in his 50′s who stopped communicating. No words, no thoughts come through. She has to take care of him constantly. One day…
How do we live through all these possible calamities and not be either terrified constantly or grateful for every healthy, happy moment? Is the fear just so great that our brains won’t let us think about it? I met a boy on a bus in Japan decades ago who braced himself during the ride for the crash that could happen at any second. Tensed and white knuckled as he gripped the pole or seat hand rail, he was ready. But what did that do to his equanimity? Destroy it? Or give him peace, because he was prepared. I was 21, he was my guide, and I never forgot his continuous fear of the bus crash, his legs extended out in front of him, just in case there was a collision. I wonder if he lived a long life, or if his fear poisoned his system and made him sick?
These daily doses of terrible events and accidents from the media can’t possibly be beneficial…other than teaching us things to watch out for and avoid. Then people we know have so many stories of their losses, setbacks, tragedies. Yet somehow we go on, trying to be disciplined, doing what is right or good for us, what we hear is healthy and beneficial. All such a muddle, a jumble, a mix up and a hodgepodge. Or as one effete snob writer explained, “gallimaufry.” I had to look that word up. Can you believe that someone writes like that in a newspaper, where she is supposed to be communicating to the masses! Idiot. And so I rant in the face of Fate’s wheel turning turning turning and scaring us if we let it.
Now I will stop writing and do some exercise. This will be my 366th continuous day of exercise. A full Leap Year of discipline. I have reached this simple goal. It is a way to give me pride and confidence. A bit of tone, not really bulking muscles. But I am striving to enjoy the after effects of each session and also defer my inevitable bodily decay.