January 17th, 2006

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Good Morning!!

I wake this morning feeling well. The timing is perfect, then, for another chemo treatment. : ) It is planned just right.

I read of the race between China and India to be the major power in 2100, and I find it sad that education and vision are neglected in this country as our legislators argue about irrelevant issues. I am trying to stay out of the political arena until I heal, but, to me, it becomes more and more obvious that education is the issue, and that issue is not being addressed in this country right now. Sweden has 100% literacy. I go on-line to check out literacy in the US. The figures are dismal and going down. If Americans cannot understand a complex, or even a simple sentence, how can they dismantle the sound-bites to vote? Well, we are seeing that they cannot. I find it sad, and I am glad to feel well today. I am expansive enough today to hold both, and maybe much, much more. : )
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Morning flow -

Jane and I start our engines, begin -


I wake, feeling well.
Birds are singing.
The sky is graced with clouds.
I feel within -
This is a cinch!
I can do this!
My posture is straight,
re-inforcing that I feel great  -
I can’t even imagine the other here -
the throat that blanches
at the sight and smell of water -
my throat this morning is open and clear -
and I’m not hungry in this place -
not stuffing food down
to assure I'm awake -
I am awake,
and dancing on the tips
of stars I shake,
chocolate, strawberry, vanilla -
I do not break. 




mandu led
to his new heated bed
by the scent of catnip -
meow, and more, he says -
this cat, catered to, by many -
and what he gives back
could never be gathered -
he opens the sun
and spreads it like butter
on Mars -



hmmm -

I feel open as candy bars,
split to share -
I look out across the valley -
huge homes now,
and I see that for the first time,
I may be visible,
here in this room,
that was always so private,
with only trees, birds, and  sky,
peering in - but this morning
I see that someone with a telescope
might look, perhaps,
and do I care,
as I open up my brain
and sweep out cobwebs
and wipe away strain -

Someone may be looking at us,
from the end of time,
as we look at the beginning -
looking, seeking, searching,
aren’t we always
involved in a game
to see a little more,
probe and soar,
knowing if we pause,
and stagnate,
that we’ll be no more. 



what is this balance
of being and doing
I teeter-totter the sun
and the moon,
up and down they go
being and doing
the moon in reflection
the toes aglow




my body so adaptable
it keeps coming back
to its place
further down the stream
where the eddies pause
and the stones
are cream


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Poem from Jane today!!

A herdsman stands at your door.

No further harm passes your threshhold.

You waken everyday to bright laughter.

Angels keep your shoulders.

There is nothing that needs to be fixed.

                                            Jane Ann Flint
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Five down - Three to go!!

There is new artwork in the entry of the chemo building. It is arresting, cheery, and soothing.

The nurse practitioner spoke to me a long time today before she signed off on letting me have the chemo. I am anemic, and my numbers are low. We talked about fatigue. I gave her the medical form to sign to release me from jury duty for a time, and I said I felt excluded, and sad and it seemed a sign that I was not able to participate fully in the society in which I live. I spoke of how much I am changing with this, how I am learning to rest and take breaks. She is amazed at how I use this to learn. I can't imagine doing it any other way. It seems others rail against it. I figure I am in it, or not, or at least that is my feeling of the moment. We spoke of everything, and she finally signed me off, because she said, I "look good" even if I don't feel it, and I actually am feeling quite fine right now.

So, benadryl is in the drip, and also, steroids, so I have some perkiness now, and I nodded in and out most of the four or so hours of the IV drip, so the time passed reasonably quickly. The mountain was there, the hill, and the tree, and they all appeared the same size today. There were egrets and gulls. One woman watched a movie on her computer. I enjoyed looking out and reading a few lines from books I brought with me.

The nurse practitioner said that massage is as important as the chemo for my healing, so I have scheduled one of my five free massages at the healing center. I got Al, who is the best the woman said for nurturing women going through cancer and chemo. I'll do that Monday. It seems a bit indulgent to me, but I "got" today that I am to do this for my health. She "ordered" me to get massages. : )

Taxol will have different side effects. So far, I have made it through the drip which is a good sign, so I am hopeful that I am not one of the women who will have major problems with it. There will be achiness in the muscles and bones, and numbness and tingling in the feet and hands, but, possibly no nausea. I would greatly appreciate that. We also spoke about radiation. That is not negotiable, she said. It is that or a mastectomy. Okay, I'm fine with radiation. She said it is a very nurturing environment, and very different from the chemo world. Yes, I understand.

I resonate to these words by the architect Louis Kahn today. "The sun never knew how wonderful it was, until it fell on the wall of a building." I think that is what this is about. Using the chemo, the cancer, the limitation, to feel the wonder I am, and you are.

Vicki was thinking of me today, and, then, she heard wild geese honking high overhead. Of course. How else could it be?
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quote -

"People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within. "

-Elizabeth Kübler-Ross

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Words of John Ruskin -

These words are from Modern Painters, vol. V, part VII, Ch. 1.

John Ruskin:

We have seen that when the earth had to be prepared for the habitation of man, a veil, as it were, of intermediate being was spread between him and its darkness, in which were joined, in a subdued measure, the stability and insensibility of the earth, and the passion and perishing of mankind.

But the heavens, also, had to be prepared for this habitation.

Between their burning light, - their deep vacuity, and man, as between the earth's gloom of iron substance, and man, a veil had to be spread of intermediate being; - which should appease the unendurable glory to the level of human feebleness, and sign the changeless motion of the heavens with a semblance of human vicissitude.

Between the earth and the man arose the leaf. Between the heaven and man came the cloud. His life being partly as the falling leaf, and partly as the flying vapour.
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poem by Mary Oliver -

This poem by Mary Oliver resonated with me today.

White Owl Flies Into and Out of the Field
Coming down out of the freezing sky
with its depths of light,
like an angel, or a Buddha with wings,
it was beautiful, and accurate,
striking the snow and whatever was there
with a force that left the imprint
of the tips of its wings — five feet apart —
and the grabbing thrust of its feet,
and the indentation of what had been running
through the white valleys of the snow —
and then it rose, gracefully,
and flew back to the frozen marshes
to lurk there, like a little lighthouse,
in the blue shadows —
so I thought:
maybe death isn't darkness, after all,
but so much light wrapping itself around us —
as soft as feathers —
that we are instantly weary of looking, and looking,
and shut our eyes, not without amazement,
and let ourselves be carried,
as through the translucence of mica,
to the river that is without the least dapple or shadow,
that is nothing but light — scalding, aortal light —
in which we are washed and washed
out of our bones.
~ Mary Oliver ~
(House of Light)

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Poem of David Whyte -

The Faces at Braga
In monastery darkness
by the light of one flashlight
the old shrine room waits in silence
While above the door
we see the terrible figure,
fierce eyes demanding, "Will you step through?"
And the old monk leads us,
bent back nudging blackness
prayer beads in the hand that beckons.
We light the butter lamps
and bow, eyes blinking in the
pungent smoke, look up without a word,
see faces in meditation,
a hundred faces carved above,
eye lines wrinkled in the hand held light.
Such love in solid wood!
Taken from the hillsides and carved in silence
they have the vibrant stillness of those who made them.
Engulfed by the past
they have been neglected, but through
smoke and darkness they are like the flowers
we have seen growing
through the dust of eroded slopes,
then slowly opening faces turned toward the mountain.
Carved in devotion
their eyes have softened through age
and their mouths curve through delight of the carvers hand.
If only our own faces
would allow the invisible carver's hand
to bring the deep grain of love to the surface.
If only we knew
as the carver knew, how the flaws
in the wood led his searching chisel to the very core,
we would smile, too
and not need faces immobilized
by fear and the weight of things undone.
When we fight with our failing
we ignore the entrance to the shrine itself
and wrestle with the guardian, fierce figure on the side of good.
And as we fight
our eyes are hooded with grief
and our mouths are dry with pain.
If only we could give ourselves
to the blows of the carvers hands,
the lines in our faces would be the trace lines of rivers
feeding the sea
where voices meet, praising the features
of the mountain and the cloud and the sky.
Our faces would fall away
until we, growing younger toward death
every day, would gather all our flaws in celebration
to merge with them perfectly,
impossibly, wedded to our essence,
full of silence from the carver's hands.
 ~ David Whyte ~

(Where Many Rivers Meet)
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on the poetry road -

It is raining, a good night to reach source through poems.   Ah, Rilke.  He responds, and is responded to.  This translation is by Stephen Mitchell.

The sky puts on the darkening blue coat
held for it by a row of ancient trees;
you watch: and the lands grow distant in your sight,
one journeying to heaven, one that falls;
and leave you, not at home in either one,
not quite so still and dark as the darkened houses,
not calling to eternity with the passion
of what becomes a star each night, and rises;
and leave you (inexpressibly to unravel)
your life, with its immensity and fear,
so that, now bounded, now immeasurable,
it is alternatively stone in you and star.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~

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Geography -

Today, when the nurse was trying to get the needle in, she closed a valve. An inch high lump of blood formed quickly in my hand. My hand and lower arm are sore tonight from the experience. For chemo, they need about a four inch straight shoot for the needle in the vein. That is not so easy to do. I found myself today thinking about how little I know of the inside geography of my body.

I come tonight to the February 2006 National Geographic which is excellent. The President of the society points out that when National Geographic surveyed the geographic knowledge of students from nine nations, the students of the U.S. finished next to last. National Geographic intends to advance the cause of geographic literacy in this country. They need members. It is worthwhile to subscribe. Some of the articles this month are on LOVE, plasma, the fourth state of matter, along with solid, liquid, and gas, the Serengeti, California's attempt to save endemic plants and animals, and the melt-down in the Alps. Ski resorts are placing blankets on the ice to save the snow. National Geographic publishes articles showing clearly that global warming is here, despite Bush's refusal to see or acknowledge what is obvious to the scientific community and those who make a living from noticing the weather. The San Francisco Chronicle today has an article on how global warming is affecting the Baja peninsula and the migration of the whales.

Go to www.nationalgeographic.com. You can subscribe for one year for $15.00. Now that is a bargain. Support knowledge that floats among countries and peoples you know, even your own.