Thursday, February 25, 2021

The Wandering (Part 2)

We had both known this was coming. I guess Ignose had forgotten, in the pain. My heart plummeted.

“Can I move into the village?” She begged. “So I can be with my daughter? She was born in the sea. She was born in the sea. Please don't take her.”

The Ogna's face twisted. I thought for a moment she was going to strike Ignose. I dropped my bundle and dashed in front of her, prostrating myself in the dirt.

“She did not mean it, Ogna. She is distraught. Please, I will take the baby to Paqia before I bathe.”

The silence stretched, and when I finally raised my face from the ground, Ogna May's winkles were set like stony crags. Her eyes were kind, though. She nodded to me, and I stood, and took the baby from her arms.

“What is her name?” I asked Ignose, who was glaring at me through a wash of tears.

“Ryia,” Ignose said, her voice wracked with pain. “Her name is Ryia.”

“Ryia,” I said. A good name. “Do not worry,” I said, and turned quickly.

Paqia's hut was in the village with the spear-sisters, those who defended against the cursed clans, those who hunted and sported and fished. This, I knew, was the third time she had returned from the sea empty handed, but she had borne it well. She had always been kind to me. But Ignose, she hated. I do not know why.

As I walked, I swung my bundle quietly. The infant was asleep. She had dark skin, like the nights when the moons were all new. No eyelashes, yet. Fuzzy hair like soft moss crowned her head. 

She was beautiful. I smiled, watching her chest rise and fall and feeling her warmth seep into my arm. 

It was a bit cumbersome, walking with her, and my things for washing, but I managed. I wound around the path—the path from the village to the sea, where Ignose and I had made our home, and thought.

I thought, I need a plan.

Paqia's hut was empty of sisters, the grass pallets spread across the floor like discarded husks, the hollow indentations showing where each body would lay at night. It was quiet. I paused in the doorway, trying to imagine what sleeping next to so many women would be like. What living in the village must be like. A pang like a slap of seawater washed over me, but I set my face as stone. Thoughts and emotions were dangerous here, in the village where I did not belong.

But thoughts washed over me regardless of my inhibitions. I forgot Ryia, snoozing in my arms, and I forgot my bunched clothes and bathing requirements. And I allowed myself to dream. In the deepest depths of my soul I would like to be a weaver. Wielding the spear held no interest to me, but weaving! Oh, it did. I had helped Ignose weave our mats and lean-to every year since I could remember, and our clothes. Even she had said it was much better than she had done alone. I wished to stretch my skill, to have access to the soft plants those in the village cultivated instead of fumbling with my foraged cuttings.

A weaver. As I was two hands old now, I would be in my first year of apprenticeship. I eyed the warp and weft of the hut before me, and the leaves that padded the underside of the pallets. I imagined the spear-sisters reclining here, laughing together, sharing stories of their hunts and battles while they ate the choice meats and drank the fragrant bone broth from their hunts.

The baby stirred in my arms, reminding me of my purpose, and I took a step back. I had almost entered the hut.

Gulping in horror, I whipped my head around. No spear-sisters were visible.

I immediately ducked my head, backed away from the hut, and began to search the village. I should not dream thus. Especially not here.

I passed by the rest of the grass huts easily—where the weavers, the maidens, foragers, child-minders, the fishers slept. Beyond them lay the the inner circle, housing the elderly too old to work, who kept the fire-pits hot and the sauna steamy, and the Blessed, like the Ogna. Many of the women were gathered around the central fires with bowls of fish stew. It smelled delicious and made my stomach rumble, even though I had just eaten.

I didn't see Paqia's dark form or any of the spear-sisters with their short hair and breeches cut for running, so I kept walking. Beyond the fire pit lay the work huts, where the weavers wove and the women processed fish and game. I had to pause and kneel as two maidens walked by, their hair braided like mine. I heard the soft scuffing of their feet scrape as I clutched the sleeping Ryia, but they did not speak to me.

I counted two hands after they passed, and rose to stuff Ryia's fingers into her mouth. She had woken. Her eyes were dark and full, like two twin moons below her peaked brows. She latched immediately and began suckling her hand like her life depended on it. An old trick, I'd seen many of the women do.

Beyond the huts were the fields, with knee-high plants and climbing, half grown kai pushing sun-ward. I hesitated. If the spear-sisters were hunting, I would never find them. Maybe I should bathe first, and check with the Ogna again.

I turned to double back, chewing on the inside of my cheek. Plan. Plan. I still needed a plan. So lost in thought I was, as I rounded the corner of a work-hut, that I ran right into someone.


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

7 months

Last May I was bedridden with either lyme or chronic EBV. After stumbling around in the dark (and getting worse) and around $500 later, I did a round of buhner herbs followed by the gaps diet and pronounced myself cured. Slowly I have been working on my digestion which was wrecked by the caustic lyme herbs. Today, I am happy to say my digestion is at a great place!! I can eat things I have not been able to eat in years and not be in pain... its great.

But four weeks ago my lyme started to come back. At first I didn't realize; it was slow. I thought I needed more sleep or more exercise; but one morning two weeks later, I realized these were the same symptoms I had presented with all those months ago. It was lyme (or EBV, really I can't tell). 

Here are my symptoms: 

1) Extreme fatigue. I wake up like I didn't sleep at all. I feel more tired in the morning than I was the night before when I went to bed. Mornings are rough. I am exhausted. Everything is hard. 

2) Pain in the back of my head, down my spine, sometime radiates to my shoulders or all over (joint/inflammation pain)

3) Low grade fever basically all the time

I decided to try if I could wait it out. I mean, I have some of the herbs but didn't want to shell out another 200-300$ for the ones I would have to replace if I didn't need too. I tried sleeping more and started a few supplements. I tried the gaps diet, again. Nothing worked--my symptoms remained. So yesterday I started on some Buhner herbs again, through I know the herbs make my heart palpitations worse and also lower my blood pressure and cause gut irritation. I have to make a choice--and the choice is I need the herbs because I have to function.

I thought I was done treating this. I didn't realize it would come back. Seven months of normalacy made me forget about how serious lyme is. It steals all your joy, all your energy. I was sleeping all the time again and irritable from the pain. I was (and still am) discouraged. But you know what? God knows that I was/am going to deal with lyme and EBV. He gives us suffering to bring glory to himself-- just read the book of Job to learn all about suffering and redemption! God is so good. I won't collapse in despair or give  up. 

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”

In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong...Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

I am not like Job, but I want to be. I am weak. I complain when I have piles of laundry sometimes! Even when I am in pain, and my body fails me, I will endeavor to be more like Job who did not sin and was wise to understand that following God is not all sunshine and rainbows. We are going to suffer. And yes, it is disappointing and yes it is hard but I am going to try to lean on God and not turn towards him and not to self-pity or self-loathing. God is good and he is here. I am not alone.

I would love some prayers as I gear up to fight lyme again. I'm feeling the same feelings of last summer--I had so many plans that we didn't get to do in 2020 because of covid and because of my chronic illness. I had planned them all for this year, and now am having trouble walking to the bathroom and back, so...we will see what this year holds. I will have to change my expectations once again. 

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Snow day!

Last year we had no snow! This year we have had two snow days. I know if you live up north you may be tired of snow; here we rarely get any. Snow is such a treat!

Looking back at these pictures reminds me how blessed I am and how wonderful God is. He is good and I should complain less. I have a beautiful family, a wonderful home, and am not hungry. God is good!