Thursday, July 21, 2016

Alpha-1 Rerouting in the Timeless

So how does one “reroute” one’s life after a new diagnosis of Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency?  No dogs inside.  No goats or horses or mowing the lawn or even getting too close to chemicals to clean my home. Yes, yes, writing. But it feels like so much was taken away again. Lemon for a body. 

Bitterness, though, is a clipped wing.

I throw myself into this acreage.  Have Ian bring me an old ladder up from the barn to make some vertical interest on the porch. Consider what chickens to raise, how to make their hen house so I don’t have to go in very often and only then wearing a mask. Sketch out keyhole gardens—and how to order a trailer load of straw bales to make them. Yes, they will age and fall apart. But not before tomatoes and strawberries and green beans and peas and dozens of different kinds of flowers grace the place.  Gazebo out of an old huge satellite dish from my father’s back yard and some of the cedar we cut down as we liberated cramped old apple trees. Labryrinth in the corner of the back yard, outlined with native stone. Such are the things on my mind these days.

We started cutting a path back to the north edge of the property, using a huge machine that munches down the little cedars and spit out mulch.  Transformation.  Some trees fall in the path a short time later, because the rock has little give for such things as deep, supportive root structures.  In the woods, cedar grows on deadfall, everything with fairy hills and little ponds and moss. We find deer tracks the next day—they are already using their new superhighway.  I dream of cross country skiing in the winter.  Snow sounds good as I struggle with yet another high 80’s 100 percent humidity day. 

Apples into the dehydrator. Laundry, sorted out, some to keep, some to Goodwill. Jerusalem salad for dinner. Adult coloring book for a few moments, purples and blues, some wild idea of a hummingbird.

How do I define worth anymore? Breath by breath, but more than that. Dream into life.  Create.  This is the only way to wander into the timeless.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Fallow Ground and the Present Moment

Image result for image of a cedar swamp

It has been interesting to look back at the last few years of my life.  Some of you following the threads of my blog may have intuited how many health issues I have bounced off of since 2013, and how many life changes hit during this time as well.

In just three short years I underwent:

·         Two gastric volvulus episodes, complete with NG tubes and a lot of fear.
·         Four kidney stones requiring lithotripsy and stents
·         A kidney infection
·         Sepsis
·         Hysterectomy
·         Para-esophageal hernia operation (half my stomach was in my chest cavity)
·         Two ventral hernia repairs, one of which opened me up from my sternum to my belly button.
·         Knee surgery for a torn meniscus and tendon damage
·         And most recently, a diagnosis of Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency which can lead to emphysema and liver damage

I also went through a divorce, a cross-country move, remarriage, renovated a small house (which my new husband and I now rent out), a cabin renovation (another seasonal rental) and yet another shift to what I hope will be our forever home on nearly 50 acres of cedar and tamarack forest. And for the first time in over 26 years, I am not teaching yoga or qigong anymore. Phew! I know that I am not writing and thinking as well as I once did. I hope I can attribute this to stress and the effect of all the anesthesia over this period of time and that I will heal from this slow mind of mine. Yet, there have been definite blessings in all of this—I think I am more firmly “me” than I have ever been in my life.  I am growing in patience and soaking up silence, whistling back to the birds and laughing as my son or step-daughter hooks a big fish on Long Lake. And I am finally walking this late path of life with a person I can honestly call a soul mate.

This morning, Mike and I were out flagging a “path” through the back forty. It took us over an hour to go 1/3 of the way into that tangle of small cedars, hillocks (the bodies of dead-fall) and the few small shrubs that can eek out a modest life in the low light.  Tomorrow a special kind of machine will follow the flags, munch down the small trees and create a 6-foot wide path so we can actually access the length of the property and begin to clear our small fields to help our deer population grow. I feel a similar construction is underway in my mind.  I write this short paragraph and the words begin to flow more easily onto the computer screen. I trust that.  My blog is my flagging exercise. 

I think for all writers, there is a time of fallow ground, when the impulse to go from experience to word weakens, and we simply take in the world as it is.  I know when I am writing heavily, there is a small film of letters over what I observe—I cannot help but find juicy nuances of language to filter my experience and commit life-moments to a kind of internal written memory.  But at this moment, there is only the wind-green-smell-funny chicken chasing grasshopper-flower basket waving-cool ice tea kinds of awareness.  In other words, impressions make a wave-ripple through me, erasing whatever came just before. I am smooth sand, massaged over and over again by the trailing fingers of my watery senses.

Perfect for summer.  Perfect for healing. Perfect for the rest that will allow me to focus and create again.