Friday, March 27, 2009

lost Whidbey Island residency post

The sky rarely “opens up,” here, but this morning the cloud layer lifts a bit so I can see the Olympic Range from my bedroom window. Iron gray, white. Again it will not photograph well against the gray and white cloud. I don’t feel photogenic either.

It’s Tuesday of my fourth residency, the Spring Residency on Whidbey Island, and already we are halfway through. Not quite a week ago I made my way through airport security and fought the urge to buy magazines, then I dissolved into a fevery illness on the plane, shivering and sneezing on my poor, poor neighbors.

Since arriving in The Northwest, it’s been a struggle to sleep off the fever, first, then the after effects of a head cold and profound weariness. Somehow my health does not seem to comprehend that I’m surrounded by the most fascinating people on earth, and I need to spend time with them, converse with them. With my tissues and sneezes and froggy throat, I’m most often sitting in the back, sitting more quietly than I’ve ever been at a residency. I even eat meals quickly if I might find half an hour to lie down, back in my room.

Yesterday was our “free day” to travel the area, and it was the first day I didn’t even attempt to walk to the beach I can see from my window. I chose a couch in the big Victorian living room of my house, and my classmates Alissa and Allison chose their couches, and there we stayed all day, catching up on reading and email and napping by the small fireplace. In a final burst of cabin fever we drove to town for dinner, then met others for the evening’s readings.

For more on last night’s reading by Deb Gwartney, go here:

So I arrive at this morning, feeling better-ish, but wheezy and weary. I look through the schedule to see what I can skip: breakfast in a crowd, that I don’t need. I have half a sandwich in the frig, and coffee. Morning worship, sigh. It’s lovely and informal, but it’s another half hour I could be quiet. Skipping that might leave me with only two hours when I need to concentrate and be in a room with forty people…

Last year I was the first to pull out the Frisbee and force people to play, every free moment. This year I am hunkering in my room, hoping to get back to that beach before the week is out, hoping to go for a long walk—at least one—while I’m here in this beautiful place.

But if not, I have a bedroom with a stunning view of the mountains, some fabulous housemates, and a line-up of great classes yet to come, if I can just pull together enough energy to get out the door.

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