Monday, March 28, 2011

Patches of Blue

I marvel at the trees so heavily endowed with cone there's no way for them to stand under all that potential. Hemlock, spruce and scattered patches of pine, droop. From a distance, the entire forest is rusted over. Pepper-birds, chirpy siskins, filling the airwaves with music, harvesting cone across gray, white and charcoal hills. Rust never sleeps. The woods ring with thrush and robin.

Mornings, I'm filling seed containers with home grown starter mix and though I wake to a skiff of ice, rain, or snow each morning, the late afternoons peak around 60°. Planting never fails to offer that sorely needed jolt, "Pick it up, Girl! There's a lot of living to do."

I grieve the end of winter. I adore snowshoe scrambling across the hillsides, making camp with a book and journal; watching, listening, conjuring. This winter pushed hard with deep, continuous cold and terrific wind, breaking deadwood from the trees, sculpting the mountains and snow across the river flats. Hooked into and surrounded by such a force helps keep perspective.

This year many peers from our community took quick and permanent departure. My friend, Garrison Keillor said about writing eulogies, something like, "if I start now, where would I quit?" I walk with mental recitations of good times spent in and around valley residents who've died and all of us left holding.

It helps considerably that I'm married to the idea of new starts being hatched from rich, old material, including break-up come spring. My winter bridge across the Klehini gave way around midnight. The rush of water soaked snow and ice, suddenly running free, filled the night air with green sweetness.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

We traveled up to Anchorage last week to pay a visit to old friends and take advantage of the state's positron emission tomography scan for Merrick; a PET Scan.
Happened also to be Fur Rondy, the kick-off celebration of sled dog race season.

It was terribly cold and windy.

The scan showed what we expected and hoped for. The large tumor has been dissolved. Chemo treatment around the world, operating like lounge centers for those fortunate enough to have medical funding, are finding ways to chemically halt the rogue cell production of some cancers.

The way in which people turned out to raise funds for Merrick's treatments still stuns me in the middle of the night. Our community has had many cases of cancer; many who survive and many who don't. We should all be able to have affordable health care and enjoy the love and support of friends and neighbors.

And, the loving support to die well.

I'm watching for signs of spring. Much longer days are making their presence known. Somewhere, beneath the snow, the rhubarb is turning blood red.

I've been away and guess who's watching the 'stead?