It is the last day of 2020 and my tiny patch of planet Earth has a fair to middling dusting of snow. Day is breaking, bathing the homestead in light from a somewhat otherworldly pink and silver sky.
I could simply deem this Hogmanay’s morn’ as a beautiful natural phenomenon; an ending with decent metaphorical significance – were it not for the stiff competition it is up against in 2020.
I suppose I might have enthused romantically about what this sunrise could symbolise for 2021 with someone lying nearby but at this particular moment in time, I cannot be bothered. I catch myself in apathy – a simple human taking way too much for granted.
I muse – and not for the first time – that this is possibly the sweetest spot in my history to relaunch as a stripper or get a full facial tattoo if seeking to act out something as a “no biggie” passing by amongst friends and family unoticed.
The window I stand thinking at is sodden with condensation; dribbling then pooling below in its blackening wooden frame; the radiator thinking it’s helping by pumping out an extreme and sickly heat like some sort of carefully controlled cultivation of mould.
I should really just wipe it right now, my mom brain states, but instead I stand on my tippy-toes to open the window – just a chink – move closer and take an affirming sniff of the glacial air. Yup. Most definitely more snow coming.
Virginal snow air on nostrils sure is a hard buzz to beat.
I briefly consider how the kilo of earthworms that I ordered on Amazon might be faring in my frozen looking compost bin. They’ve had food scraps galore, but I haven’t checked in with them properly since before Christmas. I hope they are ok.
To get to this point – making a daily weather assessment and worrying about worms – we must first go back in time just a little bit.
To the time when I still need to make the journey the metre or so from my warm kingsized bed to the window. This is no mean feat if you’re cozy and you’re me. I sense some unspoken judgement in the air that I’m lazy. I don’t disagree with this theory but I also don’t always see the perceived rush to get up. Each to their own I say.
Today though, I have been half awake for a while, most lately balancing on one hip bone or hanging off the side of this bed, which oftentimes doubles up as a wriggle raft for four.
Periodically, someone will get up to stalk the halls. Meanwhile, the stragglers expand naturally into the newly available space to re-settle and then, just when all is well, the enthusiast will come back wanting his or her space back; and then we’ll all have to unsettle, settle and decide whether to respond to the latest breakfast in bed request, before starting the four in the bed… we all roll over routine again.
Not me today though. They already know not to ask too much of me because I announced early on in proceedings that I have a migraine. But if anyone wanted to bring me a cup of tea and a headache tablet next time they’re up – then that would definitely help. Anyone?
Ok, I’m finally ready to move. Swinging my legs out the bed I note two things as my feet plant: one, that the nausea and banging headache is still there, and; secondly, that all my toes are a disturbing dark shade of purple.
Over the last few months I have googled CoVid toe, chilblains and Gout countless times but am still no closer to the truth. Applying distilled Witch Hazel topically seems to help. I think having Gout, as a lifestyle concept, bothers me most. I try not to watch the news.
Someone has had the bright idea we go sledging and so I’m slowly digging out my thermals whilst trying not to vomit. Note to self: re-google peri-menopause symptoms later from hot bath. I don’t bother with a bra.
I’m back. Sledging was fun. My new super duper thermal socks didn’t work though and I can’t help feeling quite disappointed as they were more expensive than your average sock. Toes are almost black. Migraine still there.
I run a hot bath for my son and husband. My daughter claims she’s not cold in the slightest and steals the opportunity to watch YouTube on the big screen while the boys are bathing. I put two more pairs of socks on and my pyjamas and use the opportunity to lie flat in a cool dark room. Open eyes. Google sepsis.
Someone shouts. Mummy, I’m hungry! I get up begrudgingly then feel guilty.
Yes, there has been hardship, frustration, anxiety and hopelessness everywhere. But after days in this this bubble: I reflect and feel gratitude that all those on our little patch of Earth stay safe, warm and well-fed.
These are my pink and silver linings.
Those of us non-key workers are asked to do our bit by doing nothing – I send you love and a reminder to be grateful. To anyone who has to do something I send love. To anyone bereaved, ill or alone I send love. To young people and young adults I send love. And hope and best wishes to all for the year ahead. Thank you for hearing me out.