We escaped the apocalypse for a minute by heading to the beach. Specifically, to a squat yellow cinderblock cottage that our friends rent every year overlooking the ocean. There are sea oats out the window. Dunes. Dolphins. The last few nights, there’s even been a mooooooon river, wiiiiiider than a mile, thanks to a fat, full, Leo-season Sturgeon moon so bright it casts shadows. I know about this last part because I’ve been up a lot at night. A lot.
The day we left to come down here, my left ear was itchy and beginning to feel full. By the time I made it to the pharmacy a few days later (and then, again, a few days after that for more potent meds), I had two rigorous ear infections that were so painful, I couldn’t sleep. For half a week, I was up every three hours, squirming on the sofa in the dark front room, trying to get comfortable while waiting for my double dose of Tylenol to kick in. Occasionally, I’d try to distract myself by walking outside to the beachside bench swing in the dead of night to look at the moon. I would stand and stretch my arms out, full of poetic visions of myself communing with the ocean and the sea creatures and the moon goddess – until the slightest breeze would blow and touch my angry ear drum, causing me to crumple and cup my swollen ear.
Was I pissed that I was dealing with a stupid, small-but-painful illness on what was supped to be my escape from the massive stress of navigating the much more serious illness invading the world? I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little. But, I decided I would frame it with some level of respect and appreciation. Clearly, the universe was telling me to pay attention to my ears.
To focus on hearing.
On things I take for granted, like medicine and sleep and a generally pain-free existence.
On being thankful for having health care magically through a computer and health insurance to pay for medicine and a car to get my ass to Apalachicola for some amoxicillin and steroids.
You know, the little/big/huge things that you sometimes forget about.
My ears do feel better now, thank you for asking. But I’ve also been making a point to take the note from the universe and listen better over the last few days – to notice, respect, and follow those weird little gut urges that I sometimes get lazy and ignore. Those urges have made me look down, stand up, or wander in unexpected directions. On more than one occasion, they have lead to something chock full of delight: a rainbow, the tracks of baby sea turtles that have just left the nest, an early morning conversation during an ocean swim. They have also lead me to proof that the universe has a sense of humor: Since yesterday, I’ve picked up no less than four sea shells that are uncannily and undeniably in the shape of ears.
I hear you, Universe. Thank you. Thank you for the moonlight and for making me smile and for smacking me in the eardrums with a very important reminder that I would otherwise have missed: Stop for a sec, kid. And listen.
Hi. I'm Amanda Dobbs.