I pray to the birds because I believe they will carry the messages of my heart upward. I pray to them because I believe in their existence, the way their songs begin and end each day… the invocations and benedictions of Earth. I pray to the birds because they remind me of what I love rather than what I fear. And at the end of my prayers, they teach me how to listen. ~ Terry Tempest Williams, Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place
I lie in bed nursing my battered psyche and renegade body, feeling like such a failure for succumbing to COVID-19 so unexpectedly. This is a first for me — after years of careful dodging and concerned management I am just another casualty of this abominable pandemic.
I was supposed to be spending my time writing an article about our local island birds — for submission before I fly off to Bali for a sound healing workshop. Instead, I loll around in a daze — my fevered brain pounding savagely, eyes hot and bleary, unable to focus.
Instead, I gaze out my windows — watching the light change, listening to the busy business of birdcall, feeling the breeze warm up for the day. While life goes on full tilt energy outside, I am a prisoner in my room — isolated and incommunicado, depleted and dejected.
May in the Visayan Philippines this year has been a brutal scorcher. Temperatures soar in the mid90s to over 100 degrees with humidity aggravated by passing thunderstorms. The light and sound spectacle brings too little rain to cool our scorched air.
The whole island is plagued by constant brownouts as an already overloaded power grid falters and caves with added demand. Fridges. Freezers. Fans. Airconditioning. All fail under duress. As the heat bears down mercilessly.
I’m too hot and bothered, sore and achy to stay awake much. Unused to medication, what little I’m taking makes me feel even less okay. I find comfort in sleep and long hot showers to escape my swollen sinuses and dysfunctional corpus. Taking three or five of them a day.
I wake at 6am and do ten to twelve asanas in bed — fondly referred to as pajama-stay. Namaste in bed, to stretch and release tight knots and sore joints. Then it’s off to the first scalding shower of the day. I come out refreshed and renewed enough to fight another day.
I have my hot barley tea — no more coffee for now — meds make me too acidic. Take out my journal and devote a few minutes to my morning pages. More stretching after then I make my bed. Even if I will lie in it most of the day it gives me something to do since I have abandoned all other projects for now — big or small.
I’ve also given up my hearty farmers breakfasts as eggs are just not in favor on my palate right now. It’s a toss up between a large slice of papaya with a calamansi squeezed over it or some pan de sal or puto.
Then I read in bed til the pounding in my head grows too much, signaling it’s time for another hot shower or a nap. My body decides this for me — I am just an empty vessel here.
Activities cycle and repeat til the next feeding — not skipped so my belly is lined prior to any more meds taken. I am grateful I have not lost my sense of taste because five days into COVID, I did lose my sense of smell. What a bummer — it did dull an already dulled day and appetite.
According to our current CDC protocols I have another five days of this to prepare for. Hopefully that will be it for me. Am so looking forward to my imminent release.
In the meantime, I am supremely grateful for the rich world of reading readily available for much needed rest and relief.