“Must have been something I ate,” we say, or possibly it was everything I ate: a couple days of high stress, a couple days of reckless eating. It came on yesterday, as I was finishing up the weekly reports for work: a sluicing diarrhea, and the strange intense pains that can go along with that. You would think that it would be a nice break for the bowels, dealing in fluids for a change; but it seems not – sharp, griping pains, and faint efflorescences of panic.
I made it home without accident, and spent a disturbed night, back and forth from the bed to the bathroom, pain enough to make me gasp and think of death one moment, and mere faint discomfort the next. I remembered a retreat I was on once, with Lama Michael, and Michael in the grips of a horrid flu. Pale and sweaty but good-humored. “Sometimes,” he remarked, “impermanence is on our side.”
And now I'm fine, and already it becomes dreamlike, the distress difficult to recollect. Now the fact that I took the day off work already is larger to me than the digestive episode, the fact that I disturbed the even, two-stroke motor of my life across the pond. It's nice to do something different. I cooked my own eggs – eggs from the neighbor behind us, the ones with the Yeats-and-Richard-Wilbur poetry board, or rather from their murmurous, mellifluous chickens – and ate a wedge of extraordinarily sweet cantaloupe, and shared Martha's grounds to make my coffee. And then I made a salad, and washed up, taking time out to lie down from time to time. It was very domestic and nice.
Maybe, I thought, maybe I could learn to stay home in the morning, make breakfast, not be so restless. I knew there was not a chance of that, though, not while I'm healthy. When the sun is out and about, I have to be too.
And now – it's about time for a nap, I think. My eyes are closing themselves. Later!