on death & weather

10.13.2021

 


What a spring and summer it was.  Being in a new (old) house had us working on so many projects, and I think we still will be for quite some time.  In May I found out I had colon cancer.  To make a long story short, it was caught early by colonoscopy (my first), in August I had surgery, and things are looking good now.  I'll be monitored every few months for five years and hopefully all will remain clear during that time.  If it's time for your colonoscopy, just do it.  I put it off for four years.  I had no symptoms, no medical issues, and I really was not worried.  If I had procrastinated another year, things probably wouldn't have turned out as well.  

I was texting with some friends over the weekend and we were talking about fear of death.  I didn't quite know how to say how I feel to them, but when the spectre of possible death suddenly felt all too real to me, my feelings were complex.  Do I want to die?  Definitely not.  But I can't help but feel that death is an experience, a bridge, to whatever next adventure lies ahead, so I'm not sure I would say I really fear death, at least not my own.  The fear of losing members of my family is very real and always has been.  But I'm fascinated by death and what may happen to us, our souls, our spirits, and where we really go from here.  Any fear around death is more about its consequences, about what I leave behind - my son without his mother, my twin without her twin - and the sadness of my whole family who have already lost so many.  I do also feel some guilt; I got cancer but came through it as I did, when others I know have suffered greatly (some for years) and/or lost their lives - people beloved far beyond just their families who have given to the world so much more than I ever have.  I feel unworthy.  Perhaps if we approached death as Buddhists do, we would all do better with it.  Death is inevitable, and contemplating and facing our impermanence can help us deal with aging and death in a realistic way and encourages us to live a meaningful, compassionate life.  See, complex feelings.

All of the above had me thinking a lot about a couple of dreams I had a couple of weeks before my diagnosis.  I typed out these dreams in a draft post the day after because they were so unusual, and reading over the draft again yesterday I realized I had forgotten some of the details of the dreams and it brought everything back so vividly.  Maybe I'll share those next time. 

Phew, I'll lighten up a bit now.  Thank you for staying with me. 

Autumn is here! Aside from the stunning changes happening outside, one of my favorite things about fall is the house always smelling of woodsmoke.  We've been having early morning fires almost every day, more often than at night because nighttime is for walking.  After dinner we like to bundle up with Pip and walk through the tree-lined streets past porches twinkling with lights to the park.  Walking all the way around the outer edge of the park and back home is about three miles, and it feels like such a good way to end the day.  I go for long walks in the mornings, too, but night walks are magical, senses attuned to the unseen.  

A few weekends ago I went to Portland to spend a couple of days with two online friends.  We stayed in a condo in Northwest, and we ate and talked and walked in the rain and shuffled through the cards and the thoughts they brought up.  I'm so glad I didn't let my social anxieties keep me from going.  I feel so lucky to call them friends.  

In the last two weeks we have celebrated T's 17th birthday and our 19th anniversary.  This season feels chock full of celebrations, of nature and of life (and death?).  We've moved into the freshly made-over dining hall out back, and have brought our rickety table that's been on the deck out front to the covered patio in the back.  I've been having breakfast there, no matter the weather, but dinners are usually in the dining hall now, unless it's around the fire pit.  Mushrooms are pushing through the earth, leaves are swirling in the wind, and, on the best days, rain is falling and it feels like everything is waking up and alive again.  Last night at dusk we went to the park by the river and took a muddy trail in the pouring rain.  As it got darker and the rain heavier, it felt as if I were floating above the trail with joy, out in the trees after dark in the glorious wild weather.  How are you enjoying fall?

slow notes:

⩥     This, from Center for Humans & Nature by Christi Belcourt.

⩥  Currently reading:  The Spell of the Sensuous by David Abram.  I'm only a third a third of the way through this and am already a huge fan.  More here

(I want to take pictures for this space again and am dusting off my camera, but honestly, I hate lugging it around.  Does anyone out there know of any really good small cameras that are easy to use?

Until next time ~


7 comments :

  1. I'm so glad we got to share some time together. I always learn something when I am with you; your quiet wisdom inspires me. I listen carefully when you speak about your spiritual thoughts (like your feelings about death.) There's so much to learn from each other.

    We're entering into our deepest, most nurturing season of the year now and I look forward to sharing more!

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    1. Just when I was feeling like I might delete (vulnerability hangover). I love how these spaces help us learn from each other and give us community. Thank you, friend. xx Into the deep season we go!

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  2. There is so much to love about this post. Really though, can I move in with you? Everything about your days sounds so you and so perfect. Your nightly walk, I get it. Sometimes I just like to see what other’s are doing, I am a people watcher :) Yes, to the dreams! I want to know. And, thank you for reminding me that I need to schedule that appointment!

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    1. Of course, come on down! :) This is my season, for sure. Dreams coming up, maybe today. Get that appointment made! It's really not that bad. xx Thank you for being here.

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  3. I am so glad that you have received a good prognosis. Colon cancer seems like a tough one to beat (if caught late). I don't often leave comments on the blogs I read - and I really should! - but I wanted to take this opportunity to say how much I enjoy your beautiful pictures and the thoughts you share here. Sending love and healing prayers your way.

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    1. Yes, I was very lucky. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this comment! Your words came when I really needed to hear them. It's so very nice to know you are out there. xx♥︎

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    2. I just looked at your websites - love! I can't wait to do a deeper dive later today. x

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by mlekoshi