Saturday, January 23, 2010

Forget Cabin Fever

I’m not sure how I could have had a more perfect storm of my fears of living in the forest. Driving dark mountain roads to get Richard to the hospital. No major medical facility within an hour’s drive. Icy road conditions not made for Cajun drivers. Doctors who wouldn’t listen. None of our medical friends to pull strings and explain things. Pets who needed tending, and neighbors unable to navigate to our house. Family fuming because we’d moved so far away, and friends fussing because I hadn’t called on them for help. And ice everywhere for days, after I took my convalescing honey home. Forget cabin fever; how do you spell panic?

Last year’s cure for my cabin fever was putting my mind to publishing Jack’s first book while Richard was my own personal wood sprite. As I sat for seemingly endless hours teaching myself the tricks of publishing, Richard, like magic, made marvelous meals appear, kept clean clothes in our closets, and fanned fanciful flames in the fireplace. No wonder I was losing my mind while fearing that I’d lose Richard during our latest medical melee.

I began to write this blog as a way to make my peace with the quiet mountain life. I find myself unable to tolerate sameness and ritual for long without either getting “ants in my pants,” as my teachers used to say, or becoming completely complacent. In spring, summer, and fall, no two days are ever the same when you live this close to nature. Winter, however, can close in on Coker Creek with a blanket of gray above and a mess of mud below us. What were we thinking, moving a solar powered person like moi into the dark?

As it turns out, many people here have cabin fever. Some head to Florida for the winter, but the die-hards and those who grew up here hunker down and handle what’s here: friends, faith, family, and folk arts. Some, like Anita, sew. Some, like Eda, bake. Some, like Mary, make soup. Some, like Jack, spin tales. Mamie makes a point of having friends in for lunch and dinner, and Charlie and Deborah continue their year-round bluegrass and car club adventures. Adam rides the roads as a policeman and one-man community morale booster. Josie celebrates every day that she can get outdoors with photographs of the smallest changes in our many miles of scenery. One thing none of them do is sit around wishing winter was over.

I’m so glad that Jack’s fan club has been clamoring for his next book. There’s no better way to get my mind off the mud than to keep my nose in a manuscript. And every day that the weather permits, I’ll go visit someone with a bit of information or joy to add to the wit and wisdom I’m attempting to amass.

I do hope Richard will still keep the fire burning and cook at least some of the meals.

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