Falling ill

It’s mid October, which means that the Fingerlakes region of New York has been elevated from strikingly beautiful to car-accident-inducing, stomach-aching gorgeousness. When I drive through the countryside, it’s all I can do to resist the urge to pull over and snap photos of the trees in every color ((Sometimes I succumb to temptation)).

It’s a inwardly focused time for me, as well as the plants. As they pull their energy down into the roots to overwinter, I find myself also drawn to the wells, finding the still-warm, dark places the coldness has yet to penetrate. I’ve seen it become a theme over the past few weeks in my blog-feed — that this time of year is more New Year-ish than dead-middle-winter. As a species, this is the season we would be evaluating our cold stores, but since survival in these harsher climates is no longer the dire concern it once was, the fall lends itself to contemplation instead.

There’s less to do now, for me anyway. Fewer Green friends to seek out along the skirted trails of the city parks. Holiday travel plans to make. Little apartment projects to put away before it gets unpleasantly cold (and it does here. Oh, it does).

I am sick. And I’ve been sick since last weekend, a good six days now into some horrific virus I no doubt picked up from my daughter’s preschool class. And yet, being sick as I am, I’ve managed to chaperone two field trips, get the kids ready and out the door for school, shuffled to dance class, Spanish club, and the ilk, grocery stores, vet appointments for the fur beasts, oil change and new tires, to say nothing of the worky work (which admittedly, I’ve really been taking it easy on the past week). I’m tired. And I should be resting.

So I was thinking that this is probably where we actually drop the ball on the families ((We, being Americans, specifically. Westerners generally, probably, though I hear it’s better in Europe.)). Because of… let’s just say reasons… I’m a single mother and I have custodial responsibility for my children 85% of the time. No one takes care of me when I’m sick, so it lingers.

I don’t have any answers or suggestions to fix the problem of tiredness, of unrest and the inevitable cycle of disease that comes from it. Obviously the issues are complex and deep-rooted in a culture of do-whatever-you-must-to-do. But I know many elders who have worn out their bodies with work when they should have been resting (my father included, is yours?) and renewing their wellness.

This weekend my kids are staying with their dad so I can sit on the couch and sip my hot water with lemon, elderberry syrup, honey and whiskey, fire cider and miso broth. Sit with my dog, who is snoring next to my thigh as I type this. Reach down to my roots and retreat from the world awhile.

Author: Melissa

Melissa Jozefina is a poet, stargazer, and fortune teller.