Open Windows At Night

Life Design Action: Open your windows at night – even if it is just a crack. Your lungs and dreams will love you.

Requires: A window and maybe some earplugs (if you live on a busy road or have neighbouring cockerels)


If The Mountain Won’t Come To Muhammad …

For the last few weeks of 2012 I was dreadfully ill. Bedroom was knee deep in snotty tissues, wrapping paper, ribbons and ibuprofen. Fever at night unbearable. Ongoing cough/nausea made ten times by visualising anything to do with pan fried salmon. Urgh. Lost all opportunities to wear glamorous Christmas dresses and instead stumped around house in unflattering dressing gown with non-matching belt. Sweating Perspiring and coughing.

Then just as I began to recover, Roo got ill.

And in the perfect overlap with Roo, Pix got ill.

Thankfully Christmas = unusually well stocked fridge. And unusually well-stocked television itinerary. And most reassuringly, well stocked bad weather which meant that no one else was going out and skipping in the starlit snow to make us feel bad.

Not so thankfully = we missed Jolls’ End Of The World Party. (Part of me was disappointed, but part of me relieved. After all, if it was to be the End of the World I wanted to be with kids and not falling over drunk. Another friend had also copped out saying, if it was the end of the world she wanted to be on beach with large bonfire. Naughty N said she’d rather be at home having sex with her husband, but obviously she didn’t really, because she went dressed in a wig and gold backless dress. So.)

Problem with my recovery was that, as kids were getting poorlier and I was getting better, serious cabin fever set in.

I suffer badly with cabin fever.

It comes from being brought up in the country with no bus stops, no neighbours and a parental taxi that used to limit services at the drop of a hat. Back then my remedy was stomping over fields and hitchhiking along nearest road.

However hitchhiking out of being a parent/nurse isn’t an option and in develping cb fever, I suddenly knew EXACTLY how tiger in Life of Pi felt.

Except he had it better.

He didn’t have the whole teeth-gritting, self-battle of “I Can’t Go Out, Therefore I shall Eat. And Eat. And Eat.” Did he? I bet with all that fish, Pi’s Tiger ended up with an amazing pelt and shining eyes and feeling like he could take on the whole of Asia and the Indian Ocean.

Unlike Pi Tiger, I had space to pace.

And food.

Too much food.

 Paced to the fridge, then back to the sofa. Then back to the fridge. By night found it increasingly hard to sleep. House felt all stuffy and hot and claustrophobic. By day found it increasingly hard to do up trousers, so reverted back to dressing gown.

Then one night, in all of my stuffed up, claustrophobic irritation, decided to leave the window open. Yes it was raining and yes the wind was threatening to have the whole forest behind the house crashing through the wall, but I just needed to let OUTSIDE IN before my head exploded.

That night the air was clear; oxygen rich; crystal pure.

Had an amazing dream about summer, heat, loganberries and holly hocks.

Next morning woke up and the window sill was wet and the room was freezing, but the air was like liquid mountain oxygen in my lungs. That day felt a million times better. It was asthough by letting the outside inside, I’d suddenly opened up a portal to outside again.

Got myself out on a run and discovered that the land nearby our house had slipped and a crack was snaking its way over the tarmac. Ran further, relishing cool rainy mist on my face, then back towards the town, down to the little cove where the waves were smashing salt foam on the shingle, then back up the steeper hill to my house.

This blissful oasis was enough of an oasis to break the cabin fever. It got me through the next few days of rain although, must admit that on 29th Dec found myself standing in garden barefooted at midnight, letting rain and wind batter me to bits. Was still wearing dressing gown, although had by now upgraded to Ads’ new Christmas one as it had slightly more flattering cut.

Then yesterday, 2013, the beautiful serene little angel that she is, tiptoed up to the front door and rang the bell.

“Hello,” I smiled.

“Hello,” she said.

“Thank God you’re here!” I sighed.

In she came, got changed into her running gear and we ran out of the house, down the road, past the crack (now being inspected by a head scratching highway inspector), into the next village and up the long, slow road to Blackgang lookout point. Then together we ran back.

“New Year?” I panted as we did the final sprint to the garden gate. “You know we’re going to do this again tomorrow. Even if it is raining?”

“Of course,” 2013 panted back. “This year we are going to run, we are going to laugh, we are going to plant a loganberry bush in the garden of This House and a herb garden and a vegetable garden. We are going to learn to surf and go spear fishing, see a medicine man in Edinburgh, sleep on the beach under the stars, climb Snowdon, run a half marathon, dream well, reach high, push through boundaries, surprise ourselves and …”

I looked at 2013 speechless and hopeful. And what? Could there be any more?

“… and we are also going to go on an adventure to Gambia. And hang out with lions.”

New Year grinned at me. I gawped at her. Then we opened the door, and together with the air and sunshine, staggered into the house, sweating.

(Key Point: we are Nature. There’s only so long we can remain tucked up in rooms, play stations, watch soaps and reality TV shows before our souls start to itch, pace and cry out. The more we can let Nature into our lives, the more aligned, clear and ferociously expansive we will become.

This year, resolutions aside, I am symbolically opening the windows and letting the air in to this Life/House. The food I eat, the place we grow it, the time me and the kids spend is going to become increasingly enmeshed with the natural world.)

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