Lately, the company I work for has had the lucky misfortune of having too much business. For the Tech Support staff, this has meant confining ourselves to our computers almost from dawn till dusk. Our computers are all at our homes, but the long days, coupled with winter weather and roads have helped spin a thick cocoon around our earth-sheltered house. I am not naturally extroverted, so retreating behind a protective shell of snow and work has been quite comfortable. It was only when I responded to an invitation from another confined friend that I realized that my insular shell was missing something.
I am ashamed to say, that in the months since knee surgery has confined my friend, I have only been to visit at the beginning to bring flowers picked by our youngest son. When the phone rang last week, I answered with a mix of happiness and guilt. By the time I hung up, guilt was mostly gone and I was looking forward to a date on Friday afternoon after work.
Friday morning was another grey winter work day, and I was really excited to go have talk and tea at the end of it. A light snow had just begun to form a blanket over the roads and mountains when I headed down the road to my friend’s house. For a brief moment, I had to quell my natural instinct to return to my cocoon. A flare of guilt kept my car moving forward, however, and I would be glad it did.
My friend and I were once in a writing group together, and grew quite close at the time. We may not see each other for months except passing on the road or at the country store, but there is rarely any uncomfortable silence when we get back together. Friday was no exception.
I let myself in through the mudroom door and, after hugs, we remarked on the changes in each other’s hair and physiques before retreating back to my friend’s cozy bedroom behind the kitchen for a huddle. I took a quick look at my clock – 4ish it was – knowing I had to leave by 5 to get to the grocery store before dark and settled into a comfy chair.
The kettle on the wood stove hummed every now, serenading us as we talked of doctors and cats and neighbors’s recent departures and returns. Through the window, I could see the now-heavier snow that only seemed to insulate us more as we talked of writing and iPads and husbands.
I had not written a word all day – a late Thursday night and early start at work had put the kibosh on creative expression for 48 hours. I knew the weekend schedule would not allow for much writing or drawing, but by the time I stood up from my chair and made a plan to visit again next week, I felt my soul had been fed. And the feeding of it guaranteed that when the time permitted, the work I want to do will happen and happily.
It was mostly dark and well after 6pm when I stepped out into the wet snow. There was a snowy trip to the grocery store ahead before I returned to my cave. Dark, snowy drives usually fill me with trepidation. This one, however, was a few minutes more of quiet, and I used it to relish the enlightenment I had found in the fellowship my friend and I had reformed.
Now, back in my cocoon, it’s warm and safe, as always. But I will not wait months again before I return to the chrysalis where ideas and friendship grow.