Thursday, April 8, 2010


I have been ill. That is another reason for all the quiet around here lately. Though some of us around here don't believe in illness.

"Are you going to try to walk it off?" he asks me. I'm shuffling into my clothes in the dark. I meant not to awaken anyone, but heavy coughing gave me away.

I leave the house in the dark to walk in the dark.

The air is good. Chill and clear. But I can't get enough of it inside me. "Go on without me," I have to gasp halfway up the hill. But my friend comes with me back down. In the dark we climb back up towards home. There is no other way than uphill home.

I am sorry at every stop I have to make, hands on my waist, head bent down, trying not to feel I'm breathing underwater. My friend is very patient. She waits beside me until I can climb on. I come back inside, still in the dark, sobbing for breath. And back to bed.

It's the old trouble - run myself down and the bronchial stuff acts up again - too boring to talk about it.

Boring, too, to be sick like this. Too short-minded to read. Sleep is only a softer deeper buzzing and unrefreshing. The only pleasure is a long succession of hot mugs: Throat Coat, Gypsy Cold Care, Breathe Easy, Lemon Ginger, Licorice Root, Good Earth Original. If I do not cough, I believe, I will get better faster.

I fall asleep and wake to watch the sky through the window.

I decide to contemplate my life, to set out a new and improved plan, and fall asleep.

When I wake up I try to read and end up looking deeply into the knotty-pine slats of the ceiling - someone stepped on one when the roof was still sky and left a 1970's Ked's tread in the varnish. I breathe and do not cough. I drink more tea.

I think about the little vase my grandmother made for her mother.

And the little tin that great-grandmother was given by her husband when he came courting.

Or rather I don't think about them.  I notice.  I look very closely.  I feel their sides.  And then I sleep again.

I call my sister, my mother, ask them to talk to me, except that I can't talk back.  I can only listen.

Music gives me a headache.  I do laundry.  I go back to bed.  I listen to the rain.

I am so quiet at last that, after months and months of running away and running around and talking at the top of my lungs, I can no longer avoid hearing the muttering of my broken and abandoned book.  The one I thought I was too much a coward to keep writing.

Back before this spell of silence fell on me, I found a site among the treasures in this Babel tower of many tongues: weaving as a story-making.  Watching this woman's apt hands weaving, seeing her try this woven pattern with that, the ripped cloth blending into the cloth it overlaps, reminded me of something.  While I lay there, another of the Babel's treasures replayed itself against the gray sky outside my window: a ghost story suggesting many ways for coming home.

So that, coming back to myself, I am haunted by ghosts weaving themselves into existence.  And I don't wan't to talk too much about it for fear of over-handling.  Like moth wings with their fragile feathers, so easily rubbed away.  Or the bloom on blue plums.

Which is to say:   more silence up ahead.


Shayna Prentice said...

Beautiful post. Please feel better soon.Tomorrow when I drink my green tea I will think about you. xo

Mrs. Organic said...

So sorry you are sick, but grateful for you that the stories are back. Feel better.

ArtSparker said...

I know the feeling of creative children waiting to be born, calling from drawers...Hope you feel better soon.

m e l i g r o s a said...

silence could be good. take your time and we will be here when you are well.
take good care of yourself sweetie ♥!!!

suzanne said...

I have had a cold. I have been drinking Gypsy Cold Care. And I have been looking at my words while I've been sick, thinking, who cares? Thank you very much, so much, for caring about my words.

Lorenza said...

I am sorry to hear you're not well, but your words are beautiful nonetheless, written words are more powerful than spoken ones anyway, and give the pleasure of being able to read them and re-read them :D get well soon! L xxx

Clowncar said...

It is good to have a friend to wait with you while you catch your breath. I hope I am that kind of friend. But know sometimes I am impatient.

Thank you for letting us explore your windowsill. There is a wonderful stillness to your writing.

Velouria said...

So sorry to hear that you are ill, let's just say that I understand your frustration from repeated personal experience. Get better and come back soon.

Lisa B. said...

I have missed your voice, emma j. I hope you're feeling better and I hope you're writing.

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