These past couple of weeks following my father's death have been reflective and exhausting. Reflective because I feel compelled to dwell with thoughts and feelings and not rush anything. It feels like it is important to be present for what is.
Exhausting because the day after I arrived back in my home province, I had to get my body ready for two abso(f*#@ing)lutely deeeeelightful medical procedures that would happen the next day. I know I am not alone in this prep for medical procedures, but shitting for an entire day is NOT a fun way to spend a day. Not to mention that there was no way to get any of the backlog of work done .... perhaps I could have moved a lap-desk into the bathroom. Um, no. Then two reasonably uncomfortable days following the procedures where the fermenting pile of backlogged material keeps getting higher and higher ( that's a pile of paper... the work backlog... not another kind of backlog). Finally got the pile down to manageable proportions and then got through the next phase of a new fermenting pile of material.... don't get me wrong, I love my job; working in the education field is a privilege... however, there are certain times of the year when the work feels endless and thankless.
OK, got through that endless thankless phase.... now, today, partner and I fly to Washington, DC for a conference ( oh, yeah.... that was the other thing, getting the writing ready for this conference... but it's all good). As a Canadian, living quite near the U.S. border I have been somewhat baffled by the various stages of alertness that my neighbour to south has been experiencing lo these past few years. As a Newfoundlander, I wonder who is benefiting from such a thoughtfully crafted scam. Today, as a traveller in a U.S. airport, I am realizing I would rather be going to any city .... except Washington, DC.
And, I hate, hate, hate flying. I was still a practicing alcoholic when I first began air travel, and was blissfully unaware of, well, pretty much everything, really, but especially the sounds, turbulence, shifts in speed, take offs and landings... ok, all of it. My first flight sober was horrific. I was nervous as a cat, ready to jump out of my skin at every nuance .... as they say about living sober: son of a bitch, everything's real.
Anyway, back to today's flying adventure. It was a " hop" (hah, I love the casual treatment of that word; a hop, you say) from Buffalo to Washington DC, so the plane was small. Small. I am no great height (barely 5'4") and I banged my head into the ceiling numerous times as I fidgeted and organized myself into a semblance of obedient seatedness. And again on my way to the bathroom. And on this, the bathroom... here 's a body cue to help you turn around: raise your arms over your head and shimmy around in a small circle before you sit; also, do a good shoulder warm- up before you head back there so that you don't have to be contortionist in order to finish up the paper work when you're done with the.... other business. I return to my seat and Partner consoles me; be grateful that you don't have to stand up and aim, he says.
I am grateful; I now have a visual to take my mind off the wind gusts that rocked the plane on the approach to Reagan International. Obviously, we landed and I once again evaded the jaws of death. Fear is what it is; there's nothing rational about it. And for that, I am also grateful.
One more thing, while I am practicing my gratitude.... I am grateful for the opportunities blogging gives me to write, to read others' writing, to enjoy funny, thoughtful, irreverent, poignant and tender writing and comments from people who feel moved to express and encourage. I find this community of writers to be patient and supportive, and am impressed in ongoing ways with the acts of bravery, kindness, creativity and humanity that I have the privilege to encounter. I know that writing and reading have inevitable ebb and flow and that life's unfolding does not happen on a schedule. That said, when the ocean finds its way back to calm, it's nice to have a harbour waiting for the boat.