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It’s Saturday morning, the end of February, almost March.  I live in northern Illinois, the bottom edge of the northern United States.  Winter is indeed winter here, not as harsh as one might think, but this time of year means a mostly indoor existence unless one is willing to take the steps needed to keep warm outdoors.  Daylight hours are short but getting longer, sunrise showing up earlier and sunset extending towards 6 PM.  Cabin couch fever is beginning to get some relief.

This morning started with some worry.  Nick, our Shetland sheepdog, has had a relapse of seizures in the past few days.  Miriam slept downstairs on the couch last night, worried that Nick would venture upstairs if she slept upstairs.  His seizures have made it difficult for him to negotiate the stairs.  A frantic Miriam woke me out of a sound sleep at 5:30 this morning, announcing that Nick was in the back yard — dead.  She needed my help to get him inside.  I pulled on some clothes, went down the stairs and grabbed a blanket on the way outside.  Nick was on his side in the middle of the yard, still breathing, his eyes hollow in the middle of a seizure.  Thankfully, he was alive.  This is the first time that Nick has had a seizure while awake.  It was scary.  We carried him inside to wait for him to come out of the seizure.  He took a little longer than usual to recover, struggled to breathe, lying still on his large pillow bed in the kitchen while we sat next to him and stroked his fur, talked to him.

He came out of it.  It took him a bit more to be able to sit up.  When he begins to struggle to get up, I know he is starting to come back to consciousness from the seizure.  That is a good sign.  He needed help to get up this morning, seemed grateful when I helped him get to his feet.  Nick was ravenous, ate a drank more than usual, but he was fine.  I made a pot of coffee, told Miriam to go get her Saturday sleep upstairs, have been with Nick downstairs for the past few hours.  He has alternated between keeping me company at the kitchen table and posting guard at the bottom of the stairs.  Our dog won’t be happy until he is sure his family is awake and well.

Today is going to be another nice weather day.  This afternoon promises temperatures in the 50 degree range.  Temperatures have been 30 degrees or colder this morning, but in an hour it will be above 40 degrees.  My bike and bike clothes are ready for me.  I will get a few hours out riding the road today.

It’s funny how life has transitioned from busy Saturdays, filled with youth basketball games or practices that I either coached or watched.  Some Saturday mornings I would get up to ride bicycle compu trainers with a friend or two, something my budget would not allow this year.  This winter has given me Saturdays with little responsibility beyond myself, my daughter away at college, my son almost 17 and out of his youth sports stage.  My life is in transition as well, a mystery at this moment as to where life is taking me.  I seem to be at a point where my focus can go towards myself a little more.. and that feels strange.  It’s not that my focus is all that different or that I never had time for my own things.  I definitely had time for my own “stuff”, my bicycles and sports and activities never ceased getting my energy.  I just don’t have to devote as much energy outside of myself at the moment.  My kids don’t need my direct focus as much as they did (at least it seems so).

My son claims he is getting up to play golf this morning.  Say what?  It’s February.  We’ll see.  He was awake past three A.M. playing Xbox games with his friends online.

I am sure that a month from now my Saturdays will be a little different, a little more focused on getting on my bicycle, doing things outside.  For now, though, I spend Saturday morning waiting for the weather to be right to ride, sipping coffee, sharing some time with Nick the Sheltie.