I’ve logged more experience than most with simplicity and the complexity you discover inside simplicity, minimalism and asocial behavior, endurance and landscape.
Here is the truth: I think some deep wisdom inside me (a) sensed the stress, (b) was terrified for me, and (c) gave me something new and hard to focus on in order to prevent me from lapsing into a despair coma — and also to keep me from having a jelly jar of wine in my hand.
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Patricia Foster, a professor in the MFA program at the University of Iowa, is the editor of four essay collections and the author of the nonfiction books All the Lost Girls and Just beneath My Skin. She recently drove a thousand miles with her husband to the ocean in order to write about life in Iowa. She is working on a book about illness and marriage.
Outside my bedroom window the trees are wrapped in fog. Silvery threads of rain coat the glass. It’s not yet dawn, and I don’t know why I’m awake. I rub my eyes, pulling the sheet closer around my shoulders as I sink back into bed. And then I remember: the 5 AM check. I push aside the covers, grab my glasses, and glance at the clock: 4:55. I’ve awakened before the alarm. Trained.
My husband stands at the front of the bus, one hand clutching a rail, the other gripping a strap, his hospital gown floating below a puffy blue winter jacket.