Breathe

This is already the longest sick leave I've taken in ten years of blogging so it pains me to say I'm not quite 100 percent yet. My docs don't want me back in the thick of things until I regain my full energy levels, and although I really, really hoped to be fine by now, I can't force my body to rebound so quickly from something that turned pretty serious. And when you've had HIV for 17 years, you learn not to push your immune system too hard. Aaron has also put his foot down, which settles it.

Still, the worst is clearly over and I can't express how exhilarating it is to breathe freely and deeply again. This morning, after a session on the nebulizer, I opened the bathroom window and drew the cold damp air deep into my lungs. No drug beats oxygen.

My favorite poem about breathing, by the way, is very, very Catholic and some of you may find it a bit much, but Gerard Manley Hopkins' classic here is a linguistic treasure. Money quote:

Wild air, world-mothering air,
Nestling me everywhere,
That each eyelash or hair
Girdles; goes home betwixt
The fleeciest, frailest-flixed
Snowflake; that’s fairly mixed
With, riddles, and is rife
In every least thing’s life;
This needful, never spent,
And nursing element;
My more than meat and drink,
My meal at every wink ...

For Hopkins, this was like the ubiquitous presence of the Blessed Virgin. For me right now, it's just a reminder of how blessed we are ... to breathe.

--- Andrew

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