(Before I begin my post, congratulations to Merri Matalon, who won a copy of Laura Jensen Walker’s new book, Hope, Faith, and a Corpse!)
Due to the pandemic, I put off seeing my mother for over a year. She just turned 94 and I didn’t want to risk bringing so much as a cold home to her. Then she was rushed to the hospital in excruciating pain on 12/23. She spent a week there, where she was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, among other conditions. My youngest brother, who’s become her de facto caretaker during the pandemic, was exhausted and overwhelmed. Mom needed me. So on Thursday, January 7th, filled with worry for mom, horror at national events, and concern about the spreading virus, I boarded a cross-country flight.
I helped Mom with her PT, worked on getting her to eat healthy, scheduled doctor’s appointments. I also had to make progress on writing the first book in a new series as well as kick promotion for my upcoming release, LONG ISLAND ICED TINA, into gear. All of this required comfort and concentration, which I was sorely lacking. And that made me very anxious.
There’s an app called Calm that’s supposed to help you meditate or something. In what I believe can be defined as irony, I’ve been meaning to download it but I’m always too busy. Instead I use the mantra Shirley MacLaine once gave me during an interview that was meant to counteract my fear of flying but works on so many other levels: “I am having a safe, uneventful journey.” But I found another source of ersatz meditation at Mom’s. Before I released my brother to get some R&R, we took a hike in a nearby trail called the Gorge, which is at the foot of the Croton Dam. The hike provided me with my own “Calm” sights and sounds.
A meandering river…
An old stone wall and a serene reservoir…
And a majestic, stunning dam…
Mom is still struggling with the pain. Challenges lie ahead. I will need a lot of “Calm” in the future. Given the world these days, I think we all do. I hope my photos have given you a few moments of it today. And feel free to borrow Ms. MacLaine’s gifted mantra.
Repeat after me… “I am having a safe, uneventful journey.”
Readers, how do you find your “Calm?” Do any of you use the actual app?