Monday Morning Musings

Posted on June 7, 2021 under Monday Morning Musings with 4 comments




“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

“Is the glass half full or half empty?”

“Is it a blessing or a curse?”

I have just finished my first week of my 4th quarantine and at various points this week, I have pondered all of the above expressions. When you have 24 hours a day to spend with yourself, there is a lot of time for reflection and thinking, a potentially dangerous pastime.

I arrived back home last Sunday at suppertime and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t exhausted. It wasn’t necessarily from travel although it does take two days to get home from the north, so that would be an easy and convenient excuse. But my fatigue was much more than that. The cumulative stress of teaching in the north had taken its toll.

Honestly, I wasn’t looking forward to another two weeks of self-isolation. I’ve done this three times before and it has grown old, quickly. I wouldn’t use the word dread as much as a curse.

It only took one hot shower and a great meal to reframe my situation.

I was too far gone to attempt cooking supper. It was looking like a grilled cheese sandwich and a beer which would have been more than enough to sustain me until bedtime. I had a moment of inspiration. Wheel Pizza! Every small town in Canada has a “go to” pizza shop and here in my hometown it is the iconic Wheel Pizza and Sub Shop. Just as I was about to order, I received a text from my brother wondering if I had had already dined. When I told him my plan he responded. “Would you rather have spinach pesto bacon stuffed barbequed sirloin with garlic mashed potatoes and Caesar salad and a slice of strawberry rhubarb pie instead of pizza?” Needless to say, I decided to put The Wheel on hold for another day! I am happy to report that my brother was simply the delivery boy. The extravagant meal was prepared by his long -suffering wife, Karen!

The meal, along with a glass of red wine (19 Crimes – The Warden) was fantastic but now I wondered how I could possibly stay awake until a respectable time.

I decided that a hot shower was my best option. Many of us do some of our best thinking while in the shower or the tub. There is something soothing and calming about hot water that allows our minds to drift off to other places. Part way through the shower, it dawned on me that I didn’t have to worry about water consumption. You see, in the north, water is delivered to your home by tanker truck every few days. If the weather turns bad, delivery is unpredictable and one has to be cognizant at all times about water usage. Ditto for sewage. There are small lights in the bathroom and when your sewage tank is full or you’re out of water, the lights go on. Then, you’re shit out of luck until the weather improves.

There are so many things that we take for granted like ample water, good internet, strong cable signal and the ability to phone or text. In the north, there are times when these essentials are not functioning at full capacity and it has a way of wearing you down mentally. Add to this the pressures of teaching and Covid thrown in for good measure, stress becomes a pretty big deal. Standing in the shower, I came to the realization that I was mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted. I immediately came to the conclusion that a quarantine was exactly what a doctor would have prescribed. My reframing began at that instant.

My daughter had stocked my fridge with food but I didn’t even look at the fridge until day 2 when I realized that my freezer had some treats. Now, it’s not like I had forgotten about them during my 10- month hiatus from home. Last summer, when the price of lobster was low, I stashed several bags of these tasty crustaceans using my food processor. I had originally planned to take some with me up north last August but transporting frozen lobster can be tricky with the vagaries of travelling in the arctic. I had also frozen some Digby scallops, haddock and local strawberries. My quarantine was looking brighter by the moment.

Stress is an awful thing. Besides a chronic knee and back problem, I seemed to have added numerous other pain centres in my body during the past year. Truth be told, it seemed like every muscle and joint in my body ached. I drew a hot bath and sunk into a deep, hot tub of ecstasy. My joy was short lived. When I went to add more hot water, I could barely stretch to get to the taps, such was the sorry state of my body.

Two night earlier, I had stayed in a hotel in Montreal overnight. I have never paid much attention to the hand bars that they have for old people to get in and out of the tub. I found them helpful just getting in and out of the shower. So, I had come to the end of my bath and it was time to get out. I don’t have hand bars on my bathtub. Try as I might, I couldn’t push myself into an upright position. The combination of a slippery tub and a bad back was a toxic and dangerous situation. I rolled from side to side like a beached whale. If I had had my phone handy, I might have been tempted to call James MacEachern and ask him to drop by the neighborhood with his boom truck.The last of the water trickled out of the tub. I was able to grab my towel and dry off the sides of the tub and eventually extricate myself. Jeez, getting old sucks.

I won’t bore you with too many details of the full week. I did get a Covid test (negative) on day 2 (as prescribed in my Covid travel plan) and was able to go for an hour walk every day which was a great blessing.

A few observations.

I was awoken the first morning by the sounds of birds. It was a most beautiful sound. Oddly, I feel a new oneness with birds having eaten the brain of a Canada Goose and the eyeballs of a ptarmagin! I also noticed the rustling of leaves, the smell of new mown grass, the delectable aroma of lilacs, the hoot of an owl and the unmistakable sound of a bald eagle in search of food (or a mate!), deer in the meadow, the gurgling of the Brierly Brook, the gentle patter of raindrops and the flitting of a butterfly.

My glass is half full… more than half. Actually, it is overflowing with gratitude to have a safe and quiet place to decompress.

Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. Just look around you.

My 4th quarantine has turned out to be a blessing and definitely not a curse.

Have a great week.

P.S. My work colleagues from the south had different departure dates. I was in the first group to leave. Last Thursday, one of my friends was scheduled to leave with her cat and dog. A blizzard highjacked those plans. Apparently, the cross-country skiing was excellent that day. Let that sink in.



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