Posted by: Shanna Germain | 06/06/2009

PG. 67: Dance


Yet another gratuitous sunset photo. It’s becoming my favorite time of day.


It’s a funny thing, being sick. You slow down. Or, at least, I do. My body slows down. My mind, on the other hand, races. All those unanswered questions about the meaning of life. After all, 42 sure sounds nice, but it doesn’t have quite the depth I’m looking for. Stories and poems I want to write. People I haven’t seen in far too long. My sense of humor bottoms out too — and I have a pretty gutter sense of humor. So you can imagine the things I find funny when I’m sick.

Not to mention that being sick somewhere, anywhere else is a mixed bag. Think of the times you’ve been sick at home. Then think of the last time you were sick at someone else’s house, or on the road, in a different city, in a different country. We’re not ‘supposed’ to be sick, so there is confusion, distress, shame at being sick outside the comfort of our own homes. No one teaches you how to say, “I am puking my guts out and I might, just maybe, need a doctor,” in any language but your own. Being in a new place also adds a whole new element to taking care — how to find the clinic, the hospital? How to get your prescription filled? Where can you buy the food that will help you on the way to wellness?

I have friends who travel much farther and much more often than I do. They’ve been sick or near death in places like Ethiopia, South Africa, Thailand, and in obscure countries that no one’s ever heard of. Deathly sick. Malaria. Food poisoning. Accidents. Other things that make me feel ill just to think about. They share stories and swap photos, laughing. “This is where I was dying of dengue fever and there was no hospital within sixteen hours.” I adore these people, so glad they’re in my life, but they’re far stronger than I. Either fearless or courageous despite the fear.

I’m glad I’m here, in a country that feels in many ways like home. I know the language.  I’ve been here long enough that I know where things are now. I have a bed that bears all the weight of my still body and spinning brain. I have people I can reach out to in need, or distress, or laughter.

Today, I’m ninety eighty percent feeling better. Which, considering how poorly I felt before, feels pretty darn good. The sun is wearing its red and gold nightdress, spinning lazily over the water. The phone is ringing and a friend is laughing on the other end of the world. The bats have begun their nightly dance outside the window, an acrobat’s pirouette of dinner and delight. Soon, I will rise and join them, in my pale-moon dress of health and joy.

Far and fast — almost, s.


“For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.” ~Catherine Drinker Bowen (American Writer, 1897-1973)



  1. I really like the way a sunset makes you feel warm and comfortable, at home, no matter where in the world you are. Glad you’re feeling better.

  2. “The sun is wearing its red and gold nightdress, spinning lazily over the water.”

    Beautiful, Shanna! I want to dance with your sun (if it won’t keep her up too far past her bedtime).

    So glad you’re on the mend!

  3. Gorgeous picture! Glad you’re feeling better.

  4. Wow, another gorgeous picture, S! So glad you’re getting better. I shall be out taking revenge on the ticks for ya.


  5. Checking on you! Glad you’re feeling better, I can tell there’s still a bit to go to be yourself. Want to see the new grey hairs? Augh! Taylor found a tick on his arm Saturday morning after hiking with friends on Friday night. Tick attacks! Ticks vs Germains! ( we’ll get ’em!) Rest up.
    XXOOOXX from all

  6. Ah they say the sunsets here in (AZ and Ca ) are gorgeous but this one is just as good as any. I love your photos! They make my day.

  7. […] Spent a day or two feeling better. […]

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