Alternate title: Jet Lag is an Asshole.
Re-entry (or coming home) can be a bumpy ride. I’ve been to Europe a few times, but until recently returning to Canada from Australia, I had never fully appreciated the effect of jet lag. I’ve learned a few things about this physiological condition called desynchronosis since being smacked right between the eyes with it. This was a painful lesson.
Last year, after months of cloud and rain in England and Wales, we came home to a wet, cloudy spring. I lost my sense of humour and my ability to continue mumbling my months-long mantra of “It’s all part of the experience.” I was officially done with wet weather and seriously needed some sun.
No matter how glad I was to be home, I was plummeted into a depression that no comfy bed, familiar faces, or regular routine would shake off. I was under a thick, dark cloud conjured by a deadly mix of hormones and my need for regular intervals of sun.
Flash forward a year. We did have some nasty weather this winter, but most of our time in New Zealand and Australia had us reaching for sunscreen rather than umbrellas. In addition, we came home to no snow and relatively warm, sunny days. These factors certainly helped re-entry this time around.
The trip from Sydney to Vancouver, to Winnipeg, then home took over 24 hours. After friends delivered us home, I was sure I’d have a long, restorative sleep. By the time I crawled into bed, I had been more or less awake for over 36 hours. My head hit the pillow, MY PILLOW, and I drifted away. For an hour. That’s it.
Night after night, I dozed for no more than one or two hours. It was almost two full weeks before I returned to my normal sleep cycle. For several years, ‘normal’ has meant waking for a few hours of reading in the middle of the night and repeatedly waking to toss the covers off, then scrambling for them after a hot flash has passed, (menopause is a bit of an asshole, too). Even so, I would have welcomed that fitful sleep during those first couple of weeks at home.
Did you know that those assholes, jet lag and menopause, are pals? It’s true! Jet lag can intensify hot flashes and other side effects of menopause. Without belabouring the point, I’ll just say that the internal furnace I’ve become accustomed to living with was, for a while, accompanied by hot, sweaty showers (anywhere, anytime). Oh, the fun!
My friend, Sue, reminded me to give it time, to expect one full day of recovery for every one of the 16 time zones travelled. I stopped trying to fight it. It passed. It wasn’t pretty, but I lived to tell about it.
Rather than share pictures of me as a sleep-deprived, menopausal wild woman, how about if I take you on a tour of the garden? Since you put up with my sad tale of recovery, I feel you deserve a little reward. Here’s what’s popping up and putting a smile on my face right now.
The brightly coloured trumpets of daffodils gently nodding in the breeze are like an extra dose of sunshine. Even more were added to the yard last year. They bring happy memories of our time in Wales last winter.
I’d seen snowdrops in bulb catalogues, but until seeing masses of the delicate, bobbing white heads with the tiny green markings in England, I really didn’t appreciate their beauty. Not many have appeared, but as every gardener will tell you, there’s always hope for next year.
Another new addition is this checkered lily. The petals are marked with this checker board pattern. They are tiny and delicate, and add a bit of an exotic touch, don’t you think?
These little sunny yellow species tulips are only a few inches tall, but the colour pops and they should continue to multiply over the years.
No spring garden is complete without at least a few tulips. These little guys are keeping company with tiny blue grape hyacinths and, as both of these bulbs die back, the space will be filled in with monkshood that was added to the yard last fall.
If tulips are the glory of a spring flower bed, asparagus reigns over the veggie bed at this time of year. Many asparagus feasts to come!
It’s been a month since that long trip home. I’m fully recovered from jet lag, and am quite willing to do it all again. For all of the sleepless nights, the foggy-brain days, and the sweat-soaked moments, I’m ready to set a course for locations unknown in another six months. Until then, I’ll enjoy being right where I am, returning to my sewing room, doing some much-needed touch-ups around the house, and getting dirt under my nails.