In Between

I’m not a patient person.  When something doesn’t work, I push buttons rather than thinking things through.  I’m not good at waiting for anything or anybody.  So, now I’m caught in several “in-between” times of waiting.  In the midst of COVID-19 I am waiting for life to return to “normal” again, although it probably never will.  And in the midst of COVID comes another wait for the outcome of the November 2020 election.  I was horrified and disappointed by the inconclusive first night of the returns.  I had been anticipating a Democratic sweep, a repudiation of Trump and his policies.  That was not to be, and I am still weeping.

Then yesterday, the morning after election day following a restless night, I got out of bed to discover a sharp pain in my left foot.  Thinking it would soon go away, I didn’t pay much attention, but after an attempt at an afternoon walk in my hiking boots, which I thought might be good for this mysterious infliction, the foot hurt even worse.  So, this morning I called my podiatrist’s office, waited while someone searched for my records, gave them information that I was sure they must already have, and waited some more, until finally someone was found to see me later this afternoon.  I was also waiting to make a third visit to my audiologist’s office, hoping to get the new tubes to my ear molds right after two previous visits had failed to correct the problem.  We are also waiting for the real estate closing on a small rental house, which turned out to have some serious problems (a woefully in adequate, below code electrical system; and a broken sewer pipe, the repair of which will require cutting into the street). We did get a break from the seller, but we are still waiting for the official closing.

As I drove to the audiologist this morning, I was wheedled out of my impatience by the sight of the golden cottonwoods and surrounding fields along Rio Grande Boulevard, probably the loveliest street in Albuquerque, over which flew flock after flock of wild ducks.  I drove slowly (speed limit is 25) through this little bit of country, a refuge in the midst of urban sprawl, enjoying the variety in styles of housing, ranging from McMansions to simple houses whose original owners once farmed the surrounding fields, to big old estates and horse properties, some which I admired and some which I found tacky, but that was O.K.  Room for all, I say.  The sun was shining, and the mountains were blue in the distance. I spied a couple seated on a bench in their sunny yard, enjoying the fine autumn weather and looking at Christmas lights they must have just set up.

I thought how good life is, and how beautiful our world. I had read a snatch of something by George Will, saying politics should be at the margins of our lives, not the center, and I thought how this morning’s sunshine on the fields, the mountains, the birds, and the everyday lives of my neighbors is what is real and important.  This is the life that goes on, no matter who wins the election.

Then I thought about my foot.  I am a walker.  If I can’t walk, then what?  I thought of Edie Littlefield Sundby, the Mission Walker, who walked the length of California and then the length of Baja, California while battling cancer.  Her philosophy was that as long as she could walk, she wasn’t dead.  I thought about people who have ordinary accidents, illnesses, and pregnancies and who need medical attention during these times when the resources of our health system and its workers are strained to the utmost.  Would I be one of them?  Life, death, and love are more important than politics.

Friends have recently lost their spouses. Yesterday I learned of the death of one of my high school classmates who was also the spouse of a classmate.  On Election Day I learned he had cancer and was home on hospice care. Then the next day the message came, “He is now with the angels.”  We had recently reconnected with this couple, who found each other in their seventies after the deaths of their previous spouses.  Like Kent and me, they were enjoying wonderful and unexpected happiness late in life.  It was a joy to see their delight in each other, and I hoped we would see them regularly in their trips back and forth across the country and our trips to the Midwest.  Now suddenly, within a day of my learning of his illness, he was gone.

As I drove along glorious Rio Grande Boulevard, hoping to get my hearing aid problems straightened out and some answers about the pain in my foot later today, I thought about my friends, and realized that they, my physical well-being, the beauty of the world in its burst of exuberance in face of the death of autumn, are the things that are real, important, and worth treasuring and appreciating.  Despite my sadness and impatience, those are the things that matter. As I heard Bishop Curry say this morning, we must love one another and reach out to those who are different and with whom we disagree, not every day, just today.

Postscript: The hearing-aid problems appear to be solved. The podiatrist, after consulting x-rays and looking at my foot, said there was no sign of a fracture (Kent had joked it may have been a stress fracture, caused by my stress over the election), and that it was a matter of an over-stretched band.  The cure is rest, ice, and a wrapping contraption to stabilize the foot.  I go back in four weeks to see how I’m doing.  Let’s hope I will soon be walking (not hobbling), carefully, at first, and that the election, too, will be settled before the first week in December.  I’ll try to be patient.

Next morning: The foot still hurts, Biden is gaining in the counts of mail-in ballots, and I am thinking how all of life is really a series of “in-betweens,” some more difficult to weather than others.

Author: Linnea Hendrickson

I am a retired librarian who walked my first camino to Santiago de Compostela in 2010, all alone from Le Puy-en-Velay to Finisterre. I've since returned to Spain, France, Portugal, or Italy at least every other year and continued to walk the many ways to Santiago.

16 thoughts on “In Between”

  1. thank you so much for that. We all have to recognize the beauty around us, our blessings and our wonderful companions we meet along our “Way”. And I feel so much better myself, now that Mr. Biden is moving ahead in PA. I have been very down since Tues. night , but getting better since yesterday. Patience. To everything there is a season….


  2. So sorry to learn of your hurting foot. I experienced a hurting ankle the other day. Could not walk down the stairs but within two days was gone……..hoping this will be your situation as well. Really enjoyed our rim hike. Be well soon, very soon.


  3. In between indeed! I have made some decisions on my in between – I’m getting a new French bulldog puppy in December, a week before Heidi, Chris and family visit the week before Christmas. I am now preparing for interrupted sleep. Winter is returning to Big Sky this weekend, although I have to say we’ve had a glorious fall with only one or two snows since Labor Day. I love your writings, Linnea…. thank you for sharing! MA


  4. Thanks Linnea!

    It is so nice to read you posts. A lot of facets. I hope your foot gets well and that the hearing aid will function again.

    It was especially nice to get your view on your election. In Sweden our news channels are flooding us with news about the outcome. And horrifying stories that Trump calls for that counting ballots is stopped. In a democracy every vote must be counted. We cannot understand this.

    As they report the result in different states I can see that Michigan seems to have got blue, thinking of Betty. Also NM, as far as I can see, thinking of you. And CO seems blue as well, thinking of Linda. I remember when Karen (Swanson) Talley, my 2nd cousin, visited me in the previous election year 2016. She told she just came from a democratic rally. I can see in AZ there is at the moment a lead for Biden. This warms my heart.

    /Olov ———


  5. Linnea,
    Just beautiful writing and lovely picture. So sorry about your foot. Do the rest![tho we know how difficult that will be for you]
    Exciting news about purchasing a new house. Wish it didn’t have the problems.
    We have tried to avoid the news knowing the ballot count won’t be over for a while. We just want it over, with Biden the winner. Fingers are crossed that he will have a cooperative Congress. BTW, even avoiding the late night hosts who I feel gives just about the most responsible reporting.
    Thanks again for such a lovely description of Rio Grande Blvd.


    1. Thanks, Dawn and Craig! Kent is glued to the news — I find it too frustrating — all the nattering about possibilities
      I learn as much from occasional updates on my phone and computer — too much other life to live. Any chance we’lll see you over Christmas????


  6. Thank you, Linnea… indeed, today is the “in-between” that exists between memories, hopes and dreams…
    as you say, all of life is held within the in-between. Hope you are out and walking again soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks to all the nice things everyone has written. I’m feeling impatient again, but I guess this one of those times when I have to let go and accept that there is nothing else to do right now but look for the bright spots (and there are some) and know that these difficulties will pass in their own good time.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Linnea – Jerry’s daughter, Kathleen, here. What a wonderful piece. I really enjoy your writing. And, I can’t wait to read The Mission Walker! To all of those living between the now and the not yet….

    Liked by 1 person

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