I have spent this Good Friday in the car, on a ferry, travelling to Parksville and back for a thyroid ultrasound. This is a hangover of a cancer scare from many years ago. There was and is no cancer but we like to check on those thyroid nodules every year or so just to make sure. It’s not how I want to spend this day, it being the first of four days in a long weekend, but I don’t say no when the medical system offers me an appointment. You never know when they will offer you another one. There is just no room in this world to be fussy anymore. Too many people, too few resources. We take what we can get and move on.
This last week has been unremarkable in almost every way except that it started with a power outage, and that meant that I couldn’t work and so I took myself on a walk around my neighbourhood on Monday morning, down to Sandwell Provincial Park where sea lions were rafting in the bay and Canada geese were teaching their young to fly. I wish I could start all my weeks, all my days, that way. I’m grateful for good paying work that I can do from home, of course. I feel very lucky about that. But all things considered, I’d rather have my days to myself. It’s times like this that I remember my 25-year-old self starting work in the government and wondering why my late-forty-something co-workers were so grumpy about it all. It didn’t seem so bad to me then, and I guess it still doesn’t now – but the older I get, the less patient I am with it all. Waiting for budgets, waiting for election calls, conducting performance management reviews, churning through the paperwork required for every small thing. The immediacy of springtime, the crisp wind coming off the strait: that feels real when so much of the digital realm in which I spend my days does not.
My fitness routine after the weird leg incident of last week is pretty much back to normal except that I’ve switched my running to walking for the time being. Everything feels okay again, with a bit of tightness in my ankle, so I’ll see about adding impact in the next couple of weeks. I’m also going to ask for a referral to an orthopaedic specialist when I talk to the doctor next week. I’d like an opinion about whether that bone is healthy or deteriorating so that I can take any measures to help it out before the rest of me is falling apart anymore. I expect it is just one of those things to monitor and that activity, especially activity that supports strong bones and mobility in my joints, is about all that will slow the onset of arthritis at this point. I have noticed since returning to playing the violin in December that the arthritis that had been creeping into my hands has completely disappeared. Which doesn’t mean its gone forever, but I think I have managed to stave it off for a bit by returning to a practice that demands huge amounts of strength and flexibility in my hands.
I suppose I can now make the claim that I have fully returned to playing music since it’s been four months of near-daily practice. This is probably the longest stint of intensive playing I’ve had in over a decade, and yet four months of practice is nothing. I am humbled over and over by the challenging nature of good violin/fiddle playing, the impossible hand maneuvers and dedication to posture required. I feel like I’m just skirting the edge of “hey, I don’t sound half bad” most of the time, and not getting too far beyond that. On the other hand, I’ve learned and memorized several new pieces – two in the classical genre, a couple of Romanian folk songs, and a couple other folk tunes. After a long stretch of feeling like I could no longer memorize anything, I’m finding that it really just comes down to chipping away at it line by line, sometimes very painfully.
If all I get out of playing music is improved hand dexterity and memory skills then it’s worth the effort just for that, but I am currently harbouring secret fantasies about playing chamber music with a couple of monster players who are kicking around. Perhaps with another year or two of daily practice that will be possible!
I am really very impatient to get vaccinated at this point, but not so things can “go back to normal” because there is a lot about my life right now I am loathe to give up. Really, I’m just hopeful for some spring and summer parties – I’m missing the people in my life way too much. Though we have been lucky to maintain some regular friend visits throughout this time (outdoors and so on), I’m ready for a bit more than furtive gatherings with one other couple huddled around the fire! Though I keep hearing rumours that we’ll all be done on Gabriola by the end of April, we don’t have our community-wide vaccination date yet so I’m not holding my breath. At least I can see through my Facebook feed that more and more people I know are getting the shot (frontline workers, older folks) so I know that it can’t be long before we get ours.
I hope all of you out there are kicking off the long weekend without a medical appointment and that you have something chocolate planned for Easter! I’m just on my way back onto the ferry as I write this – and so my long weekend will actually begin for real tonight. If you are looking for some good rootsy tunes – my mini-road trip playlist today has included Goodnight, Texas, The Devil Makes Three, Pokey Lafarge, Crooked Still, and Mandolin Orange – all worth checking out.