| Ida Valley Musings – Creatively Self Soothing – 31st MarchJillian Sullivan

Ida Valley Musings – Creatively Self Soothing – 31st March

Early evening, and the grey cloud has lifted from the flanks of the Hawkduns and the sun lies weakly there, faint shadows and stipples on lightened ridges.

On Rough Ridge too, the tors in subdued light. It seems so long since I took it for granted I could climb up there, even in a snow storm, just to feel the strength of nature, the wind and snow. Perhaps now it’s too far to walk up there, too risky to climb where in the 1860s young children followed a three kilometre track to school over the ridge. In these days, what is right? But even so, I don’t have the energy yet.

This morning I read in the Otago Daily Times a line: we shouldn’t spend our time in isolation “exceedingly self-soothing”. So not just Netflix and news. But to do something positive. My temperature was down and my mind began to fill with ideas – writing, and learning new music on the piano, preserving, cooking. I chose to try and fix my weedeater.

It lay in the carport as I hadn’t had the time or inclination to face it, and what better time than lockdown? I consulted Youtube videos for the wrong models or advertising models or outdated models. In the end I sat on the verandah and consulted the weedeater itself. Found a way to get the lid off the spool. Used a rusty nail to pick out long strands of tussock grass and shredded flax and some white nylon string. Poked about, pulled out the string and reinserted it. Assembled it, and it appeared to work.

I spent half an hour in the garden dominating long rye grass amongst the tussocks and old hollyhock spires. My face reminding me now and again that it was swollen, sore. On a break I consulted google again, becoming more lurid with my descriptions of symptoms and outcomes. Who knew there were so many things could go wrong with a body. Still, I feel the effect of coronavirus on the medical system through my own distress at not being able to get to a doctor for another four days. By then the golf ball sized swelling may be an orange.

My friend Roi, who was often in hospital, would sometimes write his newspaper columns from his hospital bed , keeping up the humour and not once mentioning where he was or his own anxieties of the future.

I watched Netflix but the new rule was that I had to work on my ragrug while I watched. First I resisted picking up the sack and the rug needle, then I didn’t want to stop. Just one more row, one more row, while I watched three episodes of Shameless. That could be my challenge, finish the rug (which was for Brian’s 75th and now he’s 76) by the end of four week’s lockdown. And one new song on the piano.

rag rug for Brian

About Jillian

Jillian is an award-winning author for children, young adults, and adults. A mother of 5, a Grandma of 9, a teacher of the 'Hero's Journey', a cyclist and a builder of strawbale houses.
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