Katherine Mansfield to Ida Barker, 1922
Katherine Mansfield was born in New Zealand in 1888 and died, too young, in 1923 in England. She is often regarded as one of the best short story writers of the modern age.
I have had this quote, torn out of a Reader's Digest "Quotable Quotes" from an issue from the early 1980s, in a little scrapbook of such things I kept in my college years. I thought of it today when responding to a blog comment, then found the entire quote, and realized how it defines my outlook on life, and place, but also why I want to keep blogging.
My wise friend Sue, who is a practitioner of natural healing whenever possible, emailed me yesterday the following remedy for coughs. I have been so afflicted for several weeks, since around the happy events of the election, and am finally seeing a doctor tomorrow. I thwarted it for months with vitamins but finally just succumbed to the inevitable. I share this as a natural remedy from the pantry.
"In the meantime," she writes, "Here is an old fashioned remedy to use by Hanna Kroeger...German holistic intuitive healer. Boil some cut onions in apple cider vinegar. Add a bit of honey to taste. Take 1 TBS every hour. All the old herbals recommend hot onion tea as the best cough cure, that plus slippery elm cough drops."
But she continued, as Sue is also highly intuitive herself: "On the emotional level, the cough means deep feelings of grief or sadness that have been stuck, like in a dam, are trying to loosen. Like all the little twigs breaking up and floating away, being dislodged by the cough motion. So the healers say to take Willow for respiratory/repression ailments...Willow is a Bach Flower Remedy (note that is not a homeopathic remedy, it's a flower essence/energy)...I have always associated you with using mullein tincture for some reason. Maybe because it's found in English country gardens. It's a mucilage."
She also added: "Yes, it's unusually cold this November... and extra hard for people to make the transition. A lot of changes are happening and it's too fast, it needs to be slowed down."
So I am boiling onions in apple cider vinegar for good measure and catching up on my reading today. Doesn't time seem somehow suspended on a Sunday? Lately, while regrouping and healing a persistent virus, I've been trying to slow it all down even more. My greatgrandmother J.A.T. called this "the ruthlessness to rest" in her own writings and letters. [Here are some other natural cures for coughs. And I highly recommend a slathering of Unkers Medicated Salve (or Vicks will do, also) on your back and chest and soles of feet after a hot bath. Some Mennonite friends taught me about the feet, especially, and I recommend bed socks, too.]
Blogging is a way of slowing down and capturing, for a time, a thought or event. And I realize that, cough aside, I have been stuck for awhile by variations of profound grief and letting go. So in my mind I am renewing and relocating, while trying to rest and catch up. It has been quite a year of changing places and letting go, of losses large and small, of breaking up and floating away. However, after the dam breaks, there is always comfort in water finding its own level again.