I woke yesterday morning with a clear head, for the first time since we returned from Cuba, now more than two weeks ago. Ellie is still not feeling great, but I persuaded her to join me for a walk on the beach, having learned from my computer that the tide was especially low. A fine opportunity. So we leashed up George for an early walk--dogs aren't allowed on the beach after 8AM in Laguna between Memorial Day and Labor Day--and set out boldly in the hope of dispelling, with fresh sea air, some of the symptoms that have been plaguing us since our return from Cuba.
A great day at the beach. The tide was, indeed, spectacularly low. The sound of the waves, I always think, is as healing as the air and the movement of the body in the warm glow of the early sunlight. George trotted along patiently, content to carry his ball in his mouth rather than demanding it be thrown for him. People were out, many with their dogs, enjoying the glory of the day. Almost everyone we passed would nod and smile and find a few words to greet us. After a week-long struggle with ill-health and its accompanying anxieties, it was good to be out and about.
We felt well enough, after our walk, to drive downtown and drop George off at the groomer's for a much-needed bath. I have promising him one for days, but have lacked the energy to make good on my promise. In the meantime, Ellie and I stopped by the Cafe Zinc and I risked a cup of coffee and a bite to eat. As usual, sitting under the white umbrellas there, we ran into old friends, exchanged the news of our lives, enjoyed the sense of community we always get at the favorite local haunt.
A leisurely breakfast, then, with the New York Times and quiet conversation. Life seemed to be finally returning to its normal rhythms. A stop at the Whole Foods market to buy a fresh supply of bananas--we have been eating a lot of them, as a part of the BRAT diet (banana, rice, applesauce and toast) we have been recommended--along with a papaya, probiotic pills, and the charcoal capsules we just heard about as a useful way to settle the stomach down. Stopped by the flower shop for a bouquet for our friend Mary's birthday. By which time, George was ready to be picked up, emerging from the groomer's with a soft, clean coat and his usual grin.
All seemed well until lunch time. Feeling just a bit queasy again, I decided on a return to the BRAT diet and opted for bananas on toast--with a little unauthorized peanut butter to make things a bit more palatable... Disaster! All afternoon I felt lunch sitting there, a ponderous weight in the belly, heavy enough to attach me immovably to the couch. All the other symptoms came rushing back, that bug reasserting his power to lay me low. Come dinner time, I still could not eat a thing. We watched a Ken Burns introduction to his Fall season special on The Roosevelts. A couple of recorded Jon Stewarts and a Stephen Colbert... And I took George out for his last pee and poop walk before going to bed.
I consult, this morning, with what I know about the dharma. I practice metta: May I be restored to health. May Ellie be restored to health... I breathe in, breathe out, and wish for a better day.