It has been my observation that most American kitchens do not contain sharp knives. In my kitchen, all the knives are well-honed and I use them all the time to cut, chop, and slice.
In winter, I boil, steam, mash, or roast root vegetables almost daily. You need a sharp knife to cut a tough root vegetable. Carrots take a moderate amount of effort; turnips are soft; potatoes very in hardness; but beets and rutabagas resist the knife and are difficult to cut.
So when I awoke this morning with the image of one of my Gerber knives slicing through a freshly peeled rutabaga, I knew it meant something significant. I took it to mean that my strength is returning. I knew, at a cellular level, that I would write again.
I have walked a steep, rocky, and twisting path these last months. I gave up writing entirely; life intervened. My focus moved—I became more involved with friends, quilts, cooking, knitting, and playing bluegrass violin. A new grandchild was born.
As my function decreases, it takes longer and longer every morning just to get the day started: get out of bed, wash, dress, fix breakfast, make coffee, open the blinds, and get the newspaper (the one I still subscribe to) off the front porch. I whine about this a lot, but really, this set of tasks that used to take only a few minutes now consumes an hour or more, shaving minutes from early morning, my prime writing time.
There have been steps backward: reduced walking ability, worsening balance, weight gain, fatigue, and sleep issues. But there have also been undeniable gains. An incredibly gifted body therapist, Valerie Lyon, taught me how to stand up straight and access the energy my body already possesses. I find great joy in making music and piecing quilt tops. I discover new friends, and strengthen ties with old ones. I deepen my religious faith or my ties to the Universe, however you wish to look at it.
And the whole time, even when the boulders were the biggest, I’ve held despair at bay. Not by denying, but by accepting.
Finally, the packed ice broke, and floes began to break off and float into consciousness. Sleep is easier, I’ve been able to lose a few pounds, and every day I count many accomplishments, even though I am frequently tired. One of the blessings of sleeping longer and more consistently was that I began to dream again. And thus, the vision of the sharp knife easily slicing into that rutabaga, tough as it was.
And here I am, writing again.