27 January 2018

The day after I got back from New Zealand I was felled by flu, and have been in bed mostly since then, just now starting to get back to something like normality, although it will be a while until I feel properly better, I fear. I have a spent a lot of time over the past 12 days just staring out of the window, into the birches, hazels, willows, rowans, alders, oaks, aspens and ashes that surround our cabin in the woods.

They're all dormant, of course.

They stand doing nothing much at all, letting the low angle light sparkle through them, holding then shrugging off snow, allowing themselves to be danced by the wind. Perhaps their buds are, imperceptably slowly, swelling in preparation for the season of regrowth, or maybe they are completely at rest. As gales sweep through, every breakable twig has been tossed down to the ground to join last season's leaves, which are all mulching and rotting away.

I find myself, not for the first time, realising that there is deep wisdom in this sleepy behaviour. I love hibernating at this time of year and most years would have indulged in a few weeks of really gentle inactivity over the winter solstice. I wonder whether, by going to the southern hemisphere I did something so violently strange to my system that it has gone into revolt, and contracted flu as a form of enforced idleness, as if my body has told me that if I won't rest, like a tree, it will simply break down.

I heed the lesson. I am doing like a rowan tree. I am resting.

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