Wednesday, February 20, 2008

home remedy



A long time ago, when I was very sick and very sad, Sarah brought me echinacea tea and a little glass jar of honey. "You'll feel better," she told me as she cut slices from a lemon, "But, first, you're going to feel worse." She waited for the water to boil and for the tea to steep, and, though I told her not to bother, wrapped the teapot in a dishtowel so it would stay warm.

She sat with me while I drank and tried, unsuccessfully, to get me to eat something. "I can't sleep either," I said. "I don't know what I'm going to do." Sarah told me that I had plenty of time, that I shouldn't make any final decisions, that I shouldn't blame myself, that I had done everything I possibly could.

"Maybe it's all for the best," I said.
"Maybe," said Sarah. "But, in any case, it's certainly another f*cking learning experience."
"You always say that," I said.
"And haven't I always been right?"
"Of course you have." I said. And I tipped my cup back and forced myself to swallow the last few drops, so sweetened with honey that they didn't even taste like tea.



edited to add: What's obvious only in retrospect is that, no matter how much honey you add, echinacea has a bitter aftertaste. No matter how thoroughly you think you've mastered the lesson life is teaching you, you'll be forced to learn it again, word by painful word.

22 comments:

Lori said...

A good friend can help make the bitter a little sweet.

S. said...

I'm glad it was echinacea. I think you'd feel a *lot* worse drinking tea made from lilies.

Tash said...

spoonful of sugar, eh? Need to try that in my life. (Frankly, I think we've learned enough, no?)

Which Box said...

Ah, Sarah. I so want to know more about this time. I have several guesses, which are probably all wrong. Maybe not entirely wrong, but I'm enjoying watching the mosaic be revealed.

I am, however, tired of the learning experiences. I don't need another f-ing learning experience to know life isn't fair.

Feel better.

Maggie said...

Gorgeous lily shots. And a wonderful story too...

Why is it when you are little they always tell you that learning is 'fun'! Because I think we have all grown up to realize that learning can sometimes be anything but fun...

Aurelia said...

Yeah, like which box, I'm tired of acquiring learning experiences. I'd like to graduate, maybe get a job.

I just don't feel like being taught anything more, y'know?

LAS said...

Ah yes, an AFGO as we call them, another f*cking growth opportunity. Haven't I had enough of those, haven't I suffered enough? "You'll feel better, but, first, you're going to feel worse" - that seems to be the story of my existence. Life has gotten better, it's true, but not without a whole lot of pain.

calliope said...

learning experiences should be things like experimenting with booze combinations or figuring out how to drive in Europe...not this cesspool of funk.

hoping you get to feeling less crummy soon.
xo

Rachel said...

This post was uplifting and terribly sad at the same time. Your blog is full of snapshots that I try to connect together.

Have you read the Griffin and Sabine books?

CLC said...

Beautiful pictures. They are like a little sunshine today.

LawMommy said...

I'm guessing that recalling lessons spoon fed to you by that particular person is particularly bitter...but, I'm just guessing.

I hate echinacea and honey...but, that's appropos of nothing, I suspose.

Gretchen

niobe said...

Gretchen: You are so right. And I'm not particularly fond of echinacea or honey myself.

Rachel: I've never read the Griffin and Sabine books, though, of course, I've heard of them and wished I'd thought of the concept first.

LAS said...

I love the Griffin and Sabine books - I have them - you should definitely read them!

Tash said...

Wait a minute, you're analyzing your own blogposts now? Is this like Niobe Cliff notes? Can we hand in our interpretations before you post yours?

Beruriah said...

Tash is too funny.

For once Niobe I agree with your interpretation.

My Reality said...

I hate that you have to feel worse before you feel better, especially when dealing with emotions.

sweetsalty kate said...

Crikey. I don't want to be any smarter. No more learning experiences, thanks. I want my obliviousness back! grrr.

Of course Sarah was right.

Gorgeous post as always Niobe. You're such a word economist.. but each one such gold. I love that.

Such pretty colour, too.

Amelie said...

I was going to say what Lawmommy wrote.. I hope you feel better soon.

wheelsonthebus said...

You have a gift for metaphor.

leanne said...

Your posts often leave me speechless. Beautifully written, poignant.

And ditto what Aurelia said.

Ahuva Batya said...

I think you've been given such an incredible gift with words and vision, in order to help you with what life had and has in store. Beautiful post.

Julia said...

Hm... I'd like to honey her house. You know, like egg, only with honey. Because damn! That little tea with honey bit takes a certain lever of oblivious self-righteousness to execute.