Last week I slowed down. My active life went on hold and several opportunities to gather with friends were postponed. After finally going to the doctor, I now know why. It is called walking pneumonia. What I do NOT have is the kind of pneumonia that makes you lie in bed with a croupy incessant cough that keeps you miserable and incapable of doing anything else. Rather, it means that you feel tired, achy, quiet, and like there is a two-year-old sitting on your chest. And the coughing...yes there is plenty of that but you can get up and walk around and do things. Activities like: soak in a hot tub to soothe your sore muscles, wash your hair and put on make up so you won't hate yourself at every mirror. Dressing in loose clothes lessens the effect of your sensitive skin. You can talk, but how much or how loudly depends on the stage of hoarseness in which you find yourself. You can go outside but only to sit on a pillow in the sun hoping for healing rays to make it all better. Texting is great and a few dear ones checked on me faithfully.
You can eat normal food and do normal things like read, write, cut out fabric and do the laundry; but the speed at which you do these things is lowered tremendously.
One saving grace for me during this time was Instagram. On April 1, I chose to enter into two photo challenges. Author and photographer, Susannah Conway, from London, England, is hosting April Love 2015 which offers a word prompt for each day, plus an email to encourage us to love and care for ourselves. The other is led by Catherine Just, a fine art and commercial photographer in Los Angeles. Her's is named, The Daily Miracle. Both are very talented women with styles that are almost complete opposites. Susannah is bright and airy, full of color and dreams. Catherine works in dark black and whites with focused sometimes blury images. I have been learning from both. It is good to be directed and challenged with my camera.
Reading also took on a new role this week. I finished up Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist and The Story Within by Laura Oliver. I've described both in my Recent Reads section. I am also thoroughly enjoying, A Writers' Book of Days, by Judy Reeves, one that has been sitting on my shelf for some time.
I'd say the reason this all feels so possible is due to the fact that I have had to SLOW DOWN. I've taken time to study other participant's photography. I've tried to narrow my focus, experiment with black and white and, more importantly, see with eyes that know better what they are looking for. I've entered into some books that are teaching, encouraging and challenging me in fresh directions.
I don't get sick very often and I'm not the greatest patient. But if I have to get sick, at least it feels better to have an outcome that feels like I've learned some new things and taken time that normally I would have "gone after" quickly, without much thought. But honestly, if I was totally truthful, I probably should have taken a few more naps. Hopefully it won't take another bout of walking pneumonia for me to slow down in the future.