I’ve been home from the hospital one week now, recuperating post-surgery. It’s going well. Each day I’m a little more limber. A little less uncomfortable. A little less tired. One day it’s a big deal to walk around the house. Two days later, I take a short walk outside. Two days after that, I drive the car.
My first day home, I took scissors and paper, and made paper dolls. There was a familiar pleasure in folding the paper, cutting out a dancing lady who would turn into a string of dancing ladies, and opening the paper to see how they came out. The answer is not well.
As soon as I saw my mediocre result, I folded another piece of paper and started over. This time, I cut out abstract squiggles and straight lines with no particular pattern in mind. When I unfolded the sheet, the result was a happy surprise.
I have made one abstract cut-out each day since. When each is done, I can’t help assessing it – too many straight lines, too many squiggles, too much positive space, too much negative. And I can’t help trying for a better outcome the next day.
Mostly, though, I try to let my hands take the lead, and to keep my brain from getting in the way. It’s a soothing ritual. Fold. Cut. Unfold. Acknowledge.
My body is healing, incorporating my surgeon’s cuts into a new normal. I only understand a tiny part of the complex process involved. But I don’t have to know more. My job, mostly, is to keep out of my body’s way, and to acknowledge the progress as each day unfolds.