The path to Healing is a slant path, a curved path, a spiral path. The doctors’ scalpels, their lasers, get straight to the problem. But the body heals in curves.
My cat opens her sinewy jaws and releases a still-living chickadee into the rafters of my home. A day like any day, flitting about, white wing tips flick-flick-flicking, “tit tit” calls amongst the flock – until BAM! Fetid carnivorous fangs closed on her neck. Continue reading
Scientific American explains how a caterpillar metamorphoses: ” If you were to cut open a cocoon or chrysalis at just the right time, caterpillar soup would ooze out. But the contents of the pupa are not entirely an amorphous mess. Certain highly organized groups of cells known as imaginal discs survive the digestive process.”
That was me after cancer treatment. Caterpillar soup. Like a caterpillar, I’ve rebirthed, using imagninal cells to organize my new, second life. My new life bears some semblance to my former life, but Nothing Is The Same as Before.
I stood on the edge of the cliff, knowing that to continue my journey, to fulfill my life’s purpose, I had to step onto the tightrope stretched across the chasm to the far side.
And I could not move.
For four years I teetered on the brink, paralyzed, face to the wind, tears running down my cheeks, KNOWING that I could not walk that tightrope. Continue reading
Why should I have been surprised?
Hunters walk the forest
without a sound.
The hunter, strapped to his rifle,
the fox on his feet of silk,
the serpent on his empire of muscles –
all move in a stillness,
hungry, careful, intent.
Just as the cancer
Entered the forest of my body,
without a sound.
The question is,
what will it be like
after the last day?
Will I float
into the sky
or will I fray
within the earth or a river –
How desperate I would be
If I couldn’t remember
the sun rising, if I couldn’t
remember trees, rivers; if I couldn’t
even remember, beloved,
your beloved name.
I know, you never intended to be in this world.
But you are in it all the same.
So why not get started immediately.
I mean, belonging to it.
There is so much to admire, to weep over.
And to write music or poems about.
Bless the feet that take you to and fro.
Bless the eyes and the listening ears.
Bless the tongue, the marvel of taste.
You could live a hundred years, it’s happened.
I am speaking from the fortunate platform
of many years,
none of which, I think, I ever wasted.
Do you need a prod?
Do you need a little darkness to get you going?
Let me be as urgent as a knife, then,
And remind you of Keats,
So single of purpose and thinking, for a while,
He had a lifetime.
Late yesterday afternoon, in the heat,
all the fragile blue flowers in bloom
in the shrubs in the yard next door had
tumbled from the shrubs and lay
wrinkled and fading in the grass. But
this morning the shrubs were full of
the blue flowers again. There wasn’t
a single one on the grass. How, I
wondered, did they roll or crawl back
to the shrubs and then back up to
the branches, that fiercely wanting,
as we all do, just a little more of
My father learned of a dream-based culture that had a technique for managing nightmares. As an amusing experiment he taught his four year old daughter what that tribe taught their children about nightmares. He told me that the next time I had a bad dream, I should make the Bad Guy give me a gift.
That very night:
You can’t write about the cancer without writing about The Hair. Continue reading
She walks with a hesitant gait, still feeble, a peach fuzz hair as soft as cat fur capping her skull. This is a precise moment, Continue reading
There are a million, million things they don’t tell you about having cancer, about being sick and almost dying and being resurrected, and wondering if it were worth it since you feel like a dirty rug for years afterward. A million things.
They don’t tell you that it smells of sex at the root zone in your garden. Continue reading