For thirteen years I’ve been sick. I have chronic Lyme disease. (Actually, now the Lyme tests are negative and I’m getting stronger and stronger. I’m learning to say I had Lyme disease.) This is how it started.
How and when I got infected is a bit of a mystery, but I think it was the blackberry-picking that did me in. Every summer, my dear friend Suzanna and I would drive two hours south, into the Northern Neck of Virginia, between the Rappahannock and Potomac rivers, close to the Chesapeake Bay and beyond that the fresh ocean. George Washington grew up here; Madison’s birthplace is not far away. I imagine our presidents here hundreds of years ago in the sticky Virginia summer, in the oppressive heat and weight of the wet air, them with all their proper waistcoats and breeches, Suzanna and I in our shorts, with the beautiful Virginia countryside around us—the same countryside that nurtured these men who built our country. Continue reading »