muskrat love

muskrat pushups on frozen pond

I am seated in the suite of a seaside bed and breakfast, next to a window where, last evening, horse-drawn carriages carried their soothing rhythm to my ears as they carried their blanket-clad guests past our door. Its blustery out there this morning, so now I am appreciating the creamy cup of coffee brought to me by my husband. Escaping for an impromptu getaway, before his upcoming corrective ankle surgery, we are simply relaxing here and now. Yesterday afternoon, we walked the beach, reveling in the vicarious joy we experienced watching a dozen wetsuit-clad surfers delight in the dusky high tide, then basked in the fuchsia sunset that set the sky afire and turned the waters pink.  Being with that intersection of water and sky suggested to me sitting next to an Algonquin lake, evoking similar feelings of peace in me.

This was the first Don has been able to walk on sand since I have known him, so the surgeries are, in the end, a positive thing. It’s just we both are weary, and the recovery from this second ankle’s reconstruction, two years ago, has been so problematic and unpredictable. We don’t know from one day to the next whether he will be in so much pain that he cannot bear weight on his foot or will be trucking along at a pace, to which I have to push on my shorter legs to keep up. Occasional drugs have been a life saver- in the wilderness far from home, or in the wilderness within him when the pain seems frightening.  Currently, the thought isthat there has possibly been an infection in it all along, which flares fromtime to time. The doctors are going in to clean it out and remove the possiblycontaminated hardware.

We are hopeful.

Additionally, this trip has been a respite for me, a breather so to speak, from the time I have been spending inside—inside my home, industriously building my winter’s nest (which went directly from the bedroom remodel project of the fall to the bringing in of the winter greens), and inside of my self, plumbing the depths of this recently opened chasm in me.

Muskrat’s come up for breathers too.  From beneath the frozen-over pond, they surface into conical ‘push-ups’ they have crafted for themselves with sticks poked up through the ice. There, they rest for a bit from the work of gathering  enough food from the bottom to fire their little bodies, a continuous and daily task throughout the long winter for them-.  Inside those push-ups they also welcome others, for the shared warmth provided to shivering bodies, huddled together to survive the cold. Sometimes they’ll even take nurture from the walls of those structures.

I too require such moments of shared nurture and reprieve, from these industrious days of searching the depths of my soul for the nurture that can only be garnered from the bottom of my being,  far beneath the sudden cold that descended upon me a few weeks ago.  As when gazing out upon a frozen pond, it may appear to the outside world that nothing much is happening within this interior world of mine, in which I have been encased, but this has been lifesaving and restorative work.

So, up from those dark depths I rise- for a visit with a friend, a walk in the woods, a long phone call, or an impromptu trip to the sea with my love- for nurture and warmth. Huddled with a fellow being who will share this space with me, one who is equally grateful for the warmth and nurture- these tender shoots I have drug up from the bottoms, with which I have crafted this shelter –  as I am of theirs, we are revived.

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