Yesterday was the first day I’ve been out all week. My back has been giving me grief and although that allows me to watch too many episodes of Schitt’s Creek (my son would argue there is no such thing) and admire our bedroom’s newly washed windows, I do get restless. So yesterday we went for a drive to see the leaves.

I gave up on being a grouch over who’s wearing or not wearing a mask long ago, or at least I’ve really tried. But when we drove into the park yesterday and saw a large family celebration (with no masks), we just felt sad. Still Scott and I put on our masks and the kids stayed in the car because they would rather steal my phone and replace the screen picture with an image of a very buff Jesus (honestly, don’t ask). We took five minutes to ourselves and tried to find the tree we’d sat under more than twenty years ago where Scott had brought up the idea of us getting married for the first time. A perfect moment for sure with no kids and no back pain.

We drove through pretty Waterloo, the leaves so amazing this year. We got ice cream. We felt sad again when we drove past the mall and it’s absurdly full parking lot, not sure what was more disturbing, that it was so packed during a pandemic or just that it was so busy on such a gorgeous day. We talked about how much we miss our family and friends.

I’ve being doing really well lately at not focusing on numbers. I’ve been losing my phone on purpose in order to read more (although I’m in a bit of a slump and haven’t read a fantastic book in awhile). While I rest my body and my back, my mind is busy figuring out how to make the best of the long winter we are staring down. It needs to rest too.

And then the word Heal comes to me and everything settled. That’s what this time is. Calm. Quiet. Light, is what I imagine for the winter. We’ve had a lot of heaviness over the years – long before Covid – and maybe this winter, this time, we can rest and just heal. Maybe that’s what we’ve already been doing. School isn’t going terribly, it’s moving along. I’ve had a piece of writing published. Our dog couldn’t be happier. We had new bird feedings and so many birds! Scott makes me zucchini fritters and happy videos for his students. We have so much to be thankful for.

Heal. This is my word for this year and next, I’m not waiting until Jan 1 because what’s the point when I need it now. It allows me to let go of worries that I wasn’t doing enough for my family and guilt that I shouldn’t be enjoying this time when the world is in chaos. We’re going to slow down, appreciate this time and use it to get stronger so we can in turn do more to help others.


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