Because John recently had bilateral hip surgery, we’ve been sleeping downstairs since returning from Vancouver on Saturday. This means the couches in the living room area, open to the kitchen one step lower. John needs a bed at a certain height because he can’t bend, We had a foam mattress made to fit on one of our couches, a broad cedar bench, and this works pretty well, although it’s narrow. Our other couch is leather and very comfortable– to sit on; it turns out to be a little too soft for a good night’s rest. Last night we tried one of the big beds in the back of the house but it didn’t provide the right support for the tender new hips so we returned to our couches around midnight. I stoked the fire and if there was a nice thing about the whole night, it was looking from my own narrow bed to see the firelight flickering in the kitchen just beyond us. I thought I’d write about firelight today, its beauty and its comfort. But then when we got up, John said that he thought we should go down to the hospital because he’d actually been having an accelerated pulse rate ever since we got home on Saturday and he thought he’d better not leave it any longer. So we headed to the hospital, a 45 minute drive down the winding Coast highway, and he was whisked into Emergency for a few hours of tests. I’ve only just arrived home (it’s nearly 5), alone, because our doctor felt that John would be better off in the hospital for a day or two while they worked out an effective way to deal with his heart.

The fire was cold and almost the first thing I did was to bring in wood. And now it’s blazing again, bright and hopeful, and I’ll sit by it with a glass of wine and think about how these days might unfold. Our doctor thinks it’s just a matter of tweaking medications and I think she’s probably right. While John was at the UBC Hospital, a few important levels were out of whack as a result of the surgery. Our couches look a little forlorn, though the cat has found John’s place and has curled up right where his feet would be. Firelight is firelight is firelight. The whole room is warm and one chair is empty. For now. I’m reading poetry, the best charm I know against the dark.

You cannot put a Fire out—
A Thing that can ignite
Can go, itself, without a Fan—
Upon the slowest Night—

You cannot fold a Flood—
And put it in a Drawer—
Because the Winds would find it out—
And tell your Cedar Floor—

             –Emily Dickinson

8 thoughts on “firelight”

  1. Theresa, that’s frightening to deal with for you both, though I’m sure it’ll be fine. My mother had heart issues throughout her very long life, often went off to Emerg in the middle of the night and came home soon after. But I can see you alone with your glass of wine by the fire, I bet in a place in which you have not often been alone. May he be home soon.

    1. I think he’s the right place, Beth. When our children were small, he worked part of each week in North Vancouver (college instructor), and my evenings were long and quiet after the children were in bed. But for the past few decades, we’ve participated in a long and spirited conversation, and these pauses (because of health issues) are a bit fraught.

  2. This is such an unsettling time for you two. I’m sure they will work out a balance so John may safely return home soon. I remember the disconcerting sleeping arrangements when my husband has his shoulder reconstructed. But John’s got much more to deal with. My well wishes continue.

    I slide all the way back to my childhood with memories of firelight. I too always found it comforting somehow. I sense you are embracing more than uneasy in front of the fire with you glass of wine.
    I must tell you, at this very moment, as I look outside my window there is the most spectacular pink hue to the partially cloudy sky — quite surreal. A little something unique from my home to the comfort of yours. – Diane

    1. Diane, the sunset was spectacular here too. And there are a few stars in the spaces between the clouds. I think we’ll get through this but the uncertainty is, yes, unsettling. Your good wishes are so much appreciated.

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