Edging Into the Day, Wearing Shoes

The southeastern sky is a remarkable vision this morning. Purple and pink and grey and deep blue peek through spaces between leaves and branches as yet unlit by the morning sun. Where the sky is not partially hidden by the forest, white and violet and grey compete for prominence.  The absence of clouds to soak up and refract the light lets the sunlight dissolve the darkness without interruption.

It is quite cool this morning—37 degrees outside and 67 degrees inside, according to my thermometer. I have yet to turn on the heat, knowing it would fill only a temporary need. Today’s forecast high of 70 degrees and clear skies will allow the windows in the house to amplify the sun’s heat, making artificial warmth unnecessary.

My first task of the day, aside from the regular routine of showering, shaving, and coffee, will be to join a group of church members and friends as we collectively clean a roadway of trash and litter.  That should take no more than an hour or so, given the number of us working separately and the relatively short length of roadway we have been assigned to clean. Next, I will travel to the Garland County Fairgrounds, where a hazardous household waste collection event will take place. After almost seven years in our house, I am finally getting rid of all the gallon and quart buckets (many almost full) of paint the former owner of the house left here: seventeen gallons and 7 quarts. I have more that I should take, but I have no more room in the trunk. I can take the remainder the next time such an event is held.

After I take care of that task, I will do some odds and ends around the house, make shopping lists for groceries, hardware, and related needs, and have lunch. Sometime after lunch, I will go visit my wife. She has been moved to  a room with a window facing the parking lot, just off a sidewalk. I can go stand at the window and we can talk on the phone while physically seeing one another. It’s not the same as being in the same room, but it has to do for now. Her sister and I went to see her yesterday; she seemed to be in good spirits; we talked for almost an hour. Then, last night around 9:30 I was pleasantly surprised to get a call from her; we talked for almost half an hour.

A couple of nights ago, after another very pleasant afternoon visit that last about 45 minutes, I got a call telling me her blood pressure was extremely low and that her nurses were going to give her intravenous fluids and they had been directed to stop several medications that can cause blood pressure to drop. I called her immediately and she said they had already started the IV. Of course I worried about it all night. The next morning, her blood pressure had rallied to low normal levels.  I find myself constantly on edge about her state of health, wondering whether she is getting sufficient fluids, proper nutrition, adequate therapy and stretching exercises, etc. I have to be available whenever she might need me, though I don’t know just why that would be, given that she is under the care of medical and healthcare professionals.

On edge. Edging into the day. Always tense, as if the day could spring an unwelcome surprise on me at any moment. Coffee probably doesn’t help much in that regard, but it tastes wonderful and holding a warm mug in my hand feels right. I suppose I could try caffeine-free hot tea for awhile (that’s what my wife drinks); I like it quite a lot, but I still prefer coffee. But sometimes, when I deviate from the norm and have a cup of hot tea, I feel a sense of comfort that coffee does not give me. I wonder why that is?  Hot tea and an orange-cranberry scone might do the trick for me this morning. The hot tea is easily accessible; the orange-cranberry scone, not so much. I used to buy orange-cranberry scones at a Starbucks in Dallas when I took my long morning walks. I bought one for myself and one for my wife, which I took back home to her. She likes them, too, but I think she might prefer blueberry scones. Why I’m reminiscing about scones is a mystery to me. So many things are mysterious. Shoes, for instance. Why do humans were shoes? Why did we not evolve like the rest of the animal kingdom, our feet protected by thick skin or protective pads or whatever? I wonder when the first shoes, or shoe-prototypes, were worn? Where were the people who wore them and what caused them to make them? We’ll never know, so the best we can do is to speculate. That’s a worthy thing to do on a moderately lazy Saturday morning: speculate about the first shoe-wearers.

It’s almost time for me to head to church, where we’ll gather, be given our assigned routes, and equipped with gloves and bags and vests and “pickers” to grab refuse from the roadside. One more sip of coffee should finish the cup. Then, I will step in the day, wearing comfortable (more or less) shoes.


About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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