Monday night after Great Scott's tests, I stayed up until 3:something in the morning, unwilling to sleep, wanting to stop time in the stillness of the night. I was cold. Very cold. Putting on another sweater didn't help. Putting on houseshoes didn't help. Sitting directly in front of the heat stove helped a little, but not much. When I did go to bed, I piled on the covers but couldn't sleep for my violent shivering. This continued all day yesterday and into today.
On the rare occasions that I speak (or write) of the most painful and frightening things that have happened in my life, I don't get emotional and am not tempted to. I don't cry; I don't feel like crying. I don't get angry. I don't feel afraid. My body, however, becomes very cold, and I tremble. I tremble hard. So given our current concern about Scott, I assumed that my feeling chilled was probably a physical manifestation of emotional stress.
This morning I took a walk. Last night had brought a hard frost, and even past 10:00 a.m. each grass blade and fallen leaf was outlined (when not completely covered) in its thick silvered-white. Halfway back to the house I knelt in the middle of the gravel road and cried, my hands in my lap, the stones pressing against my knees. When I thought I had my breath back, I lay down on the ground, my face buried in my arms. And this was good. There is a comfort in hard earth, in the chill of stone, in their solidness, their support along the body, their stillness. I lay there a long time, letting these soak into me, and if I went home feeling even colder than before, I also went home understanding that while I had been afraid of the cold after all, I don't have to be .
(Note: I discovered this afternoon that I am, indeed, running a fever, and I've been queasy all day, as has our older daughter. The stomach flu, I am told, is going around again. Ah, timing!)