And here we are at the close of another year. Through all the difficulties and uncertainties of this past year I hope you have also found time for appreciation, happiness, and wonder. May you look back on 2021 as a year fully-lived, and look forward to the new year with hope and joy in a new day’s dawning.
Our winter landscape has fluctuated as much as the temperatures have been up and down. Each weekend we get a freshening of snow and then we get a bit of a warm up that creates some thawing and ice, and then it’s followed by the same routine the next weekend. And the forecast is much the same for this weekend. But this roller coaster ride seems to be keeping most people happy – the ones that love the snow and the ones that prefer the warmer temperatures. The fresh snow keeps our scenery fresh and lovely, and gives me a renewed appreciation for winter.
As we are all social distancing and staying at home, our world is dominated by our views looking out. Many of us have become observers of the transition of seasons, the angle of the sun coming through our windows, and our neighbors that pass by walking their dogs. It’s good to look out to recognize and confirm that winter moves into spring, the sun continues to rise, and our neighbors are still in our neighborhood. That’s what gives us a sense of normalcy in these uncertain times.
This photo takes a different approach and looks inside from the outside. The sunlight streams through the window, lighting the vase amidst the darkness behind it. Shadows are created across the curtain by the window frame. The lace is delicate and beautiful, set off against the coarse texture of the wall. Perhaps our inside worlds are just as beautiful now as the outside world, if we take a moment to observe and appreciate where we are at this moment and what surrounds us.
The past two weeks have humbled me quite unexpectedly. I took a bad slip on a frozen sidewalk and landed on my right leg and ankle. A ride with the EMT’s took me to the local trauma hospital’s emergency room and a set of x-rays were taken. Turned out I’d dislocated the ankle and had a trimalleolar fracture with breaks in three bones. Surgery was scheduled the next day and I came out with plates, screws, wires and lots of hardware holding all those bones together. Yesterday the plaster splint was removed and I got to see the results of the good surgeon’s work. Luckily the breaks are healing and the stitches on both sides of my ankle were removed. I’m now in a boot keeping my ankle immobile, but I cannot put any weight on the foot. I’ve learned many lessons in these two weeks and some that I’m still learning. Patience and slowing down are essential now — I couldn’t rush to do anything if I wanted to. I’m unable to put any weight on my right leg, so I’m reliant on the walker to give me the support I need when I’m upright. Friends and family are wonderful — flowers, phone calls, text messages, gifts, food, and visits have all brightened my days and given me something else to focus on. I appreciate our medical system, doctors, nurses, assistants, PCA’s, EMT’s — I’ve been treated and taken care of by people who were smart, experienced, knowledgeable, and kind. People who saw to my comfort and needs as they were dealing with many other patients too. Yes, I’m not happy with the broken leg and the distant horizon of the end of May before I can walk “normally.” But the past two weeks have given me a different perspective on the things that I have taken for granted so many times in the past – something as simple as walking, getting outside to enjoy the fresh air, and the people who I am lucky enough to call family and friends.