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Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Gratitude and These Days

Driving by a sign on Highway 9 that shows the entrance to trails at Henry Cowell State Park, I thought, not morbidly, of how that sign will be there long after I am gone.  I thought tonight after my dance class of how much I want to live every day fully and cherish all the time I have left.

I am getting breathless and tire easily now as the chemo damps down things such as red blood cells.  My doctor will tinker with all that, but it reminds me of how toxic this substance is that I take to get well.  Someone told me about people in antiquity who took small amounts of poison every day to build up their resistance., so that if they were ever poisoned for real, they would have immunity to it.  I try to think of it that way, however slantwise.  As wonderful as I feel, I know that the cure is kicking my butt. This is a cure that heals and harms, but is more healing.

The truth is that I have always, even at my lowest points, loved life enough to want to stay here.  I went down to the creek tonight (at the border of this property) and watched it tumble in its fullness after the rain.  i thought of how much I want to see the creek through many seasons to come.

I have not been able to muster what it takes in my heart and mind to work tonight on writing.  Some nights are like that.  I think I might go outside and listen to the owls for a while.  We have saw-whets here, but I miss the great horned owls and their bass notes.
Last year I heard one only once, calling down by the creek in a deep and somehow ragged voice.

When I was younger than I am today, I woke from a deep sleep and heard a great horned owl call over and over; I lived by the river then and the owl's call rang off the river's stone channel like an ancient invocation.  I was in hell then and did not understand how to get away.  Poetry saved me then, and the immense beauty of the owls that called to me in the night, and my precious little son.

Amazing what keeps us tethered to the earth and this life, even when we think we can take no more, when there seems to be no reason to go on.  For me, it was a grey ribbon of sound, calling in the dark, telling me not to be afraid.