Imbolc, or, The End of Winter
At Imbolc, halfway between the dark winter solstice and the brightening promise of spring equinox, I'm trying to stay philosophical. It is, after all, the start of spring according to the ancient Gaels (just don't ask the Japanese weather). It is February first, known as the Feast of Saint Brigid in more recent centuries, and I am nursing a knee injury which ended my winter eighteen days ago.
Today revolved around my third installment of intensive physiotherapy, and while physio has presented new - undesired - adventures at the frontier of pain, it's also, seemingly, working; bendability has gone from "hngh" to "kinda" to "somewhat". As mobility gradually returns, I can focus on each returning ability like the reacquisition of a misplaced possession. The day before yesterday I could clamber into my shower room. Yesterday I was able to make a simple dinner for the friend who has fed me many over the past weeks. Today I only grunted and screamed during physio, rather than also crying. I'm hungry for the ultimate prizes of being able to climb stairs, drive, work, run, and lift again, but for now, each small ability I reclaim is pleasing. I imagine it's the satisfaction of a scout collecting badges, or at least I think of it as a game to try and keep my spirits up.
Perhaps buoyed up by reflecting on the nominal start of spring, I'm riding a rather positive wave today, but the past two weeks have been mostly troughs. As the weather outside continues to remind me, winter carries on without me, in its cold, white, glory. The snow is on the mountains, but I cannot ride. The injury has been cumbersome, awkward, and painful, but the heartbreak and frustration of losing my active lifestyle, especially in the finite, precious snowboarding season, has been the two week's traffic of my mind.
In the past 18 days, I have studied Japanese intensively, exercised my English with Scrabble, had lengthy conversation about books with a new friend, and worked on this website. I have also lain absently on the sofa for hours at a time, escaped to Middle Earth or a galaxy far, far away, or (weather permitting) propped myself up on the balcony to sigh and gaze sullenly at the mountains. Ultimately I have been lucky to have many friends for crutches of the domestic, physical, emotional, language, and even literal kinds, and I promise them, I'm doing my best.