Saturday, we drove to our bigger town to do a small bit of Christmas shopping.
The sky punctuated by gilded, rugged clouds, the river down below hemmed by basalt
cliffs which all fed my soul as I realised how long it had been since I'd been "out."
The Columbia Hills are greening with tiny blades of grass that will soon be "comfortered" by a
blanket of snow. Cattle nibbled on old scrub and fresh delights, and I dined on the sights.
We went to one small store, a discount membership store we shop at a lot, and I got lost
in scanning each aisle, thinking specifically of the people on my mental list, their likes and
dislikes, what I know of them and mourning the things I don't know.
Gift giving does not take us away from the true meaning of Christmas. In a way, it puts us into a mode of dwelling on the hearts of loved ones, if we allow those gentle nudgings.
Next, we parked in the handicapped spot in front of the discount grocery outlet and walked through for a few items. I reveled in the visual feel of the checker placing my items into the cloth, reusable bags I brought in for my carry-outs.
We stopped for a casual lunch, amiably visiting over french fries and turkey sandwiches and milkshakes.
Lastly, to the hardware store. I elect to go inside with my husband, to experience the sights,
the sounds of Sawyer's True Value and their chosen decorations of the season. While Pete
browsed through tools and accessories, in my Johnson CTO I went up and down aisles looking for sales on discontinued items.
Ah, the "Christmas lights and decorations" aisle. My viewpoint may have been reined in like a work horse in blinders, but I was determined to experience the joy of the glitter and the fascination with the sparkle.
As I rounded the corner, I saw four big kids in the aisle which caught my attention.
And I stopped and drifted over to look at something else. I was finely aware of how I looked in the big brace, and I just didn't have the strength or courage at that moment to endure questioning looks. I didn't have the energy to smile and take away their embarrassment, their discomfort. Doing so can be such a job sometimes.
My feet started zinging, the strength drained away in waves, the profound bone-pain swelled through me. I found my husband and asked for the keys to the car. I couldn't get out there fast enough to hide in the car away from looks, inquisitive, sympathetic or otherwise.
Previously, I had readjusted the straps on my CTO, thinking perhaps they were holding me a nano of a millimeter in the wrong spot, causing the dreaded pulling-down into painful neuro-sleep. But the ride home proved things were still all wrong and by the time I got there, I struggled out of the passenger side of the car to open the gate, weakly climbed the small hill up to the house. I feebly unsnapped the four clasps that hold the CTO on, as well as the wide velcro'd band around my forehead and sloughed off the brace like a snake weary of dragging around his old skin.
Stumbling down the hall to the guest room, I carefully slid into bed and slept 90 minutes, a scenario played out every time these days that I go to our shopping town.
The world narrows, the aperture tightens.