Homebound. That's what it's called, medically, when you are basically going to be at home for a while and need services and the world to come to you instead of visa versa. And, sadly, for better or for worse, that is what I am. Here is how it happened. Twelve days ago, I remember one of those sparkling 24 hours, including a Friday night, candle lit dinner with wonderful friends...my first down hill ski day of the season on a bright blue Saturday fluffed with new white powder...a star lit night and an "all is good" kind of feeling through body and soul. Then, all of a sudden, swift as lightening, I slipped on unseen black ice in a dark parking lot and crashed onto my hip such that it fractured and shattered and I was told, after an ambulance ride and x-rays, that I needed to have a total hip replacement. Now, this week, instead of working with one of my favorite teams at IPS Butler University Laboratory School in Indianapolis, I am homebound. And, all of my work and travel plans have been rescheduled or canceled for the time being while I recover, slowly.
I am fortunate to be living in the perfect recovery room. It is a small, first floor study in our newly renovated, fresh Vermont house. Ashley and a good friend moved one of the single beds from upstairs down and from here, I can see the world. Out of 6 windows in this small room I can view the changing weather, the comings and goings of chickadees and cardinals at the feeder, the sky through the day and night, the distant traffic on route 23 traveling out of town, and one of my mother's little Italian stone men, the one with the long pipe, placed under the birch tree, today with snow on his cap.
It is strange to go from fully engaged, moving through work and life at a robust pace, healthy, strong, fit...to full stop, going nowhere, life is what you see and do from here, and that is that. One friend called and left a message, "Hi, I am calling Cadwell Calamities and I want to leave a message." My friends, colleagues and family are so wonderful...bringing soups, sending cards and flowers, calling, writing, sending emails and books. And, Ashley as well as being a stellar business partner and husband, is an excellent nurse and cook! I believe that I will recover especially well because of the cheering squad and blessings of this wonderful support team. Below are two examples that I want to share with you.
The day that I came home from the hospital, my mother-in-law, Mary Cadwell, sent me the following email:
I was delighted to read that one of Ashley's chores in preparation for your homecoming was to hang a bird-feeder outside your window. We have a flock of little juncos busying the spillage in the snow under our feeders. They make me think of one of E. B. White's little essays, "Winter Back Yard: "Even the drabbest yardscape achieves something like elegance when a junco alights in the foreground - a beautifully turned out little character who looks as though he were on his way to an afternoon wedding."
This all comes from my having time now to pull out some of these lovely books which have stood on our book shelves tantalizing me while days filled up with "busy work." E B W has lovely observations on Spring coming in the city. But I won't aggravate anyone's itch for a change of season by quoting those .... yet.
So, I guess we must be patient, patient, patient, patient with all things.
And, a few days after, I received a book from my dear friend, Carol Hillman, entitled, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating. This little book, written by Elizabeth Tova Bailey, is both a memoir and an account of a naturalist's research and observations. The author is struck by a mysterious virus that attacks many of her body's systems such that she becomes very ill and must stay in bed for a long time. This is the tale of her relationship with a woodland snail that a friend brings by one day in a flower pot of spring violets. While reading it, I began to feel much less sorry for myself and somehow more able to calibrate myself to the rhythms of the natural world that surround me.
I am grateful for the wisdom of my mother-in-law, Mary, and my friend, Carol, manifest in what they thought to share with me as I adapt to my new life during this dead of winter time and trust my body to heal. And now, just as I conclude writing this post to glance up from my lap top, the blue and pale light has turned to soft gray and a spiral swirl of soft snow falls all around. I am in my very own snow globe.