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Ground Hold

What’s Robin going to do next?

It’s never good news when a plane is sitting in line for the runway and then the pilot announces he’s taking the plane back to the gate. In this case, bad weather at our destination was slowing down arrivals and any plane flying in that direction that wasn’t yet off the ground had to stay put. There was a collective moan from the passengers and then furious texting began as we eased back to the gate. A few people called loved ones. A few more elected to take their belongings and leave the plane when the flight attendants finally opened the door. Most people stayed in their seats.

I stood, stretched, wished I could lead everyone in a little breathing and moving, and remained standing for the next hour, alternating chatting with the passengers around me and reading my book that I rested open on the back of my seat. That was a Thursday. By Sunday I was sick with a fever, a cough, body aches, and general malaise that would be later diagnosed as Influenza A. The nurse said, “You probably got it on the airplane.” When I mentioned the ground hold, her face suggested I should have closed the doors and flown the plane myself rather than holding still in that tube full of germs.

The good news is that I didn’t get sick for the first two full days of my weekend away. My very dear friend and I searched for a little big city magic, and we found it in surprising nooks and crannies, on the great white way, and by sleeping late. With no schedule to keep, we enjoyed some of our favorite restaurants, chatting nonstop, browsing in stores, sitting in cafés when we needed a break, and taking taxis when we felt lazy.

When I woke up feeling awful the last morning, we made a gallant effort to sally forth just after noon. I didn’t make it very far, and my accommodating hostess was kind enough to guide me back to her apartment where I slept away much of the afternoon and sipped soup in the evening. The next day I was to fly home with the added challenge of feeling horrid. Miraculously there were no delays and I made it home and into bed where I remained, mostly, for the next week.

It’s been two weeks now since the first symptoms set in, and just as the doctor said it would be, my energy is still remarkably low. Rather than fight with how I’ve been feeling, I’ve actually been enjoying doing less than usual. Mid-afternoon taking a break with a book or an episode of House of Cards, heading back to bed with breakfast, or swapping a slow walk in the sunshine for a 5K on my treadmill all feel healing and nourishing. I have met my obligations, but I haven’t really looked up or out in three weeks.

On Saturday morning as I drove to the yoga studio, thick fog swirled around my car. I love fog and never fail to associate it with the first three days I drove myself to high school, the lamination on my brand new driver’s license still cooling. The fog was so thick I slowed to 35 or 40 miles per hour on roads marked 55, watching the headlights pick up the white line on the side of the road. The message of fog is always to look close, at what you can see, because it’s futile to try to see far afield. I feel like my flu offered the same message—sure, it was horrible to feel so low, but the time off from life at 110 mph was time well spent. In this year of transition when I can’t see precisely what I’m making a transition to, not straining to see is refreshing. And not knowing is okay … until inevitably, and out of kindness and genuine interest, someone asks what’s next.

The full pink April moon shining over us this week is truly luminous. May it light your world as you light mine, xoR


Sometimes life is all funny angles … #overneathitall


About Robin Bourjaily

I currently perform my own stunts as a mother, writer, editor, yoga instructor, and certified Yoga As Muse facilitator. Overneath It All is a medium for sharing my stories--my commitment is to post on the full and new moons, plus or minus a day or two, and the occasional personal holiday. My novel, Throwing Like a Girl, is now available in e-formats on Smashwords. Please visit to download. Thanks for checking in. xoR

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