Saturday, January 31, 2015

Taking a Breather

Most of the rest of January, 2015
Mostly at home (when not at work)

Taking pictures of bubbles ... photo courtesy of Jackie Donnelly

Some who have lain flat on the ice for a long time,
looking down through the illusive medium,
perchance with watery eyes into the bargain,
and driven to hasty conclusion
by the fear of catching cold in their breasts,
have seen vast holes
"into which a load of hay might be drived,"
if there were anybody to drive it,
the undoubted source of the Styx
and entrance to the Infernal Regions from these parts.
HDT Walden, The Pond in Winter

The day after playing on the lake ice for hours,
I started feeling as if I was catching a cold.
I stayed home that Monday, thinking that bed-rest would avert the worst of it.

Nope ! By that Friday, I felt even worse, and stayed home again.

I have caught the “Coughing-Virus” that seems to be going around.
This is unlike any other cold I’ve ever had, you just cough and cough till your eyes bug out.

It’s a funny dry cough that leaves me breathless.
This cold is lasting a long time, and only time can cure it, since it’s a virus.
It’s hard to be patient, though.
After several weeks of moping around, and trying all the home-remedies I can think of, I finally feel like venturing outdoors again.

How terrible it must have been for Thoreau,
who contracted tuberculosis early in life.
He valiantly struggled with “the trouble in my chest”
throughout his life.

Having lost several family members and friends to this deadly affliction, he knew how it would end.
In the 1840s, there was no cure, and the disease was fittingly referred to as Consumption.

He was frequently ill for weeks at a time.
(Working in his family’s business -- grinding finely-powdered graphite – must not have helped !)

In between bouts of what he called “bronchitis,”
he spent as much time as possible outdoors, in all seasons.
Friends marveled at his strength and endurance.
He considered Nature the finest physician.

I am confined to the house by bronchitis ….
As soon as I find my chest is not of tempered steel,
and heart of adamant,
I bid good-bye to these
and look out a new nature.

   HDT, Journal, February 14, 1841


  1. A few teaspoons of honey in a cup of hot water might help sooth a sore throat. At any rate, it sure taste good on a cold day.

  2. hi Bernie, yup I was drinking Throat Coat tea with a dollop of local honey added to it -- that and Thayer's were the best things at soothing that devilish urge to cough