For this, for everything, we are out of tune
Everything is so loud
After years of partial deafness, I finally got my ear surgery (stapedectomy) this past Thursday. I’m still in recovery, and all sounds come to me as if I were in a tunnel, knee-deep in dark water, but I’m feeling optimistic that my hearing in the right ear will be restored. I certainly feel less socially anxious already, but I’m also realizing that Guion is humming constantly, my children are actually quite loud, and just walking on the Downtown Mall feels like an auditory assault. I have a new titanium stapes bone in my middle ear, and apparently, my brain needs to catch up to it and relearn how to process sound after so many years of conductive hearing loss.
This was also my first surgery ever. Hospitals still make me very nervous and submissive, but I was really impressed by the absolute squad of doctors and nurses at UVA who were attending to me. (Seriously, I think I counted about 20 different men and women who were in and out of my room and in the operating room. This is also because it’s a teaching hospital, but still. So many smart people!) I am humbled by and grateful for their attentions.
Modern medicine is a marvel. As if to remind me of that fact, my surgeon sent me home with the busted stapes bone he retrieved from my ear. It is smaller than a sesame seed, and he put it in a tiny blue case. A nurse said, “Oh, weird, I’ve never seen him do that,” but I got the gesture. I think he wanted me to be impressed with his skill, and believe me, I was.
For some reason, I came to after anesthesia with the line the world is too much with us on my mind. I don’t know why; it’s been ages since I thought about that poem, but it feels appropriate. I have nothing profound to say about the absolute horrors that are happening all around us, here at home and across the continents, and so I’ll leave you with this Wordsworth.
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.
— “The World Is Too Much With Us,” William Wordsworth
Framing has begun, which has been thrilling. Because I have a tiny woman’s brain, it is so hard to envision and feel a space on paper. But getting to finally stand in the dimensions of the new family room, for instance, changes everything.
The apartment continues to be fine, but I’ve started to feel a rush of eagerness to get back into our home.
Meanwhile, to bide my time, I will be feverishly searching vintage Persian/Turkish/Afghan rugs on Etsy. I did buy a runner from Turkey this past week, because it was 60% off, and just the colors I had been hunting for:
I have always been skeptical of Etsy, but I’ve become quite the convert. (I have only been scammed once!) The ability to buy handmade or vintage things from all over the world is immensely appealing. It feels so much more thrilling and rewarding than buying household things from Amazon or West Elm.
I would also like to get a lot better at local thrifting, especially for furniture and home goods. I am impatient and generally do not have the time, in my current lifestyle, to do any leisurely household shopping, which is why Etsy is so gratifying to me right now. But I do want to get familiar with the local antiques circuit. I suspect I have some friends who are very good at it. Reveal yourselves, will you? And take me (and probably Felix) antiquing with you next time you go?
This Is Your Mind on Plants, Michael Pollan
Nature Play at Home, Nancy Striniste
Gentle Discipline, Sarah Ockwell-Smith