Isabella is having an experience that mirrors the current day as she waits to continue her adventure.
“Five days here, and I am no nearer Estes Park. How the days pass I know not; I am weary of the limitations of this existence. This is ‘a life in which nothing happens.’”
SAME, Isabella. Same.*
Here is where I made a fascinating discovery: she is a knitter.
“When the buggy disappeared, I felt as if I had cut the bridge behind me. I sat down and knitted for some time — my usual resource under discouraging circumstances. I really did not know how I would get on. There was no table, no bed, no basin, no towel, no glass, no window, no fastening on the door. The roof was in holes, the logs were unchanged, and one end of the cabin.was partially removed. Life was reduced to its simplest elements.”
But, let me stress again: she has her knitting, which helps, if I can badly misquote Elizabeth Zimmermann: soothes the unsettled mind and is pretty good for the settled mind, too.**
After five days, Isabella has rolled up her sleeves and made herself useful because the family needs the help with basic chores and, frankly, there’s nothing else to do. She’s also taken to sleeping like the family does: outside on a bag of straw. There are no bugs, apparently, and even though the weather is cold, it is tolerable.
In the morning, she draws water from the well, washes herself and her clothes — a calf recently sucked on of her garments into “a hopeless rag” — and spends the rest of the day “mending, knitting, writing tp [her sister], and the various odds and ends which arise when on has to do all for oneself.”
Oh - and “a distressed emigrant woman has just given birth to a child in a temporary shanty by the river, and I go to help her each day.”
* only it feels like everything is happening while nothing happens.
** I have zero doubt someone will correct me***
*** I am also now obsessed with finding out if there is any other evidence of her knitting. Are there Isabella Bird scholars out there?