I am experiencing a wonderfully peaceful and exuberant day. I now have eight radiations left to go, two tough ones, and six easy ones. Yay!!
I shaved my legs for the first time in over five months. It was great fun. I wore my wig to radiation and they all loved it, though they also love my bare head. They think I should come wigless and hatless tomorrow. I feel like I am standing on the edge of a pool, building up the courage to dive in. I think Monday might be a better day for it though. I am getting used to not wearing a hat in the house since it is a bit warmer, so I do run in and out of the house without a hat. The plants don't care. I woke up in the night, and went out to caress the new rose. I felt it needed comfort in its new home. It was shivering a bit in the wind and cold, though the sky was amazingly light in the night. Today is cold and foggy, so it is hat weather outside, no matter what.
I am reading a most wonderful book Every War Has Two Losers. It is by William Stafford, who as I have mentioned, was a conscientious objector during WWII. He wrote the following poem when he was living in a camp for conscientious objectors in the mountains of California. He and his companions were fighting forest fires.
Watch our smoke curdle up out of the chimney
into the canyon channel of air.
The wind shakes it free over the trees
and hurries it into nothing.
Today there is more smoke in the world
than ever before.
There are more cities going into the sky,
helplessly, than ever before.
The cities today are going away into the sky,
and what is left is going into the earth.
That is what happens when a city is bombed:
Part of that city goes away into the sky,
And part of that city goes into the earth.
And that is what happens to people when
a city is bombed:
Part of them goes away into the sky,
And part of them goes into the earth.
And what is left, for us, between the sky and the earth
is a scar.
20 January 1944
William Stafford was at one point placed in a conscientious objector camp in McNeil, Arkansas. You can imagine that they were looked upon pretty suspiciously by the locals when they left camp, and, at one point, there was some danger by a mob. They discussed in the camp what to do if the mob came to the camp to attack, since their response must always be one of peace.
They "talked over the mobbing thoroughly; for it signified a problem we had to solve: When are men dangerous? How could we survive in our little society within a society? What could we do?"
"For that occasion, our camp director, a slow-talking preacher of the way of life taught by Jesus Christ, gave us the final word:
I know you men think the scene was funny, in spite of the danger; and I suppose there's no harm in having fun out of it; but don't think that our neighbors here in Arkansas are hicks just because they see you as spies and dangerous men. Just remember that our government is spending millions of dollars and hiring the smartest men in the country to devote themselves full-time just to make everyone act that way."
It is uncomfortably familiar, isn't it?
William Stafford rose to write each day at four.
His son has culled from his morning writing some gems about citizenship. I place a few of them here, or, perhaps, more than a few. There are many.
2 September 1957 -
The leaders of one country found their people attacking another country: that was a disaster of statesmanship, to lose their people like that.
In a second country the leaders found their country attacked. The people, though, had behaved with restraint, a triumph of statesmanship, and a condition very hard to achieve.
(Hmmm! I certainly don't see this interpretation of statesmanship lately. I see leaders creating discontent so we will think we need them. I think of everything Jesus said and did. I imagine even he would have trouble dining easily with what Bush is doing in his name. )
I continue with the wisdom of William:
19 May 1963
One must learn to waver.
22 September 1967
Those who champion democracy, but also make a fetish of never accepting anything they don't agree with - what advantage do they see in democracy?
22 August 1970
Seeing one side at a time, we blunder. Truth has no perspective.
16 September 1970
My tremors are small, perhaps unmeaning, but like Galileo I can go away muttering, "Still, it moves."
11 September 1971
People rebelling against what they feel brought on World War II are re-enacting that time.
13 August 1974
A speech is something you say so as to distract attention from what you do not say.
1 December 1974
Divisions among groups bring forward aggressive leaders, whose function requires of them an emphasizing of positive qualities in their own group, a tolerance of distortion in regard to the "enemy," a temporary using of means ordinarily frowned upon. War leaders are liars.
1 February 1975
Sure there is darkness in the world, but when I want to read I use the light.
1 May 1979
"Some people are idealists: they keep leaning to make the world different. They should face up to the way things are, and accept them."
"Well, my leg is broken - I guess I'll just like that strange angle my leg has as it lies there."
18 May 1979
Stafford's Gettysburg Address: These dead people were brave.
11 November 1979
The Militarist's Farewell: Good-bye, Boomerang, see you later.
William Stafford -
11 July 1981
A place back of this fort, now filled with flowers, hollowed in rock for a bunker, shelters a fawn.
16 September 1981
Winners can lose what winning was for.
4 March 1982
Between roars the lion purrs.
Sometimes I read the magazines while I wait for radiation and the appointments that follow. Yesterday, I read a recipe for instant s'mores. Place two shortbread cookies with chocolate on one side, together, chocolate side in, and place a marshmallow or two inbetween. Microwave.
I remember toasting marshmallows to just the right golden brown for a warm crust and soft smooshiness that melted the chocolate, and oozed everything all together. Somehow this doesn't seem quite the same. Once I toasted marshmallows over a candle flame with Katy. We wanted the s'mores experience and didn't have a handy campfire. It worked because we shared the flame. A microwaved s'more does not seem quite the same. I am hearing more now of women who choose to have a double mastectomy, and then, reconstructive surgery, rather than risk breast cancer. Perhaps, that works. I don't know, but I wonder about it. We don't know what causes cancer. The breast area seems especially vulnerable in this society, but to remove them unnecessarily, to cook without the fire. I don't know. I just wonder how we balance what is lost.
I have no answers. Perhaps breasts are superfluous after a certain age, and yet, they don't feel so to me. I feel them as a warm couch, a place for me to muse and catch crumbs as they fall.
I have always loved treehouses and mobiles. They are two of my favorite things.
Heron Dance comes today with this little tidbit for life by S. Peter Lewis, author of The Treehouse Chronicles.
"When I was a kid, my mom told me I could do anything. I believed her. She said dreaming was important and dreaming big was what set people apart. But Mom said there was a catch: “Dreams need feet, Peter. They’re not worth much stuck between your ears.” Put feet on your dreams."
I like the idea of putting feet on our dreams, and so I check Peter and his book out on Amazon. Five stars.
The book is a journal of his building "a 250 square foot, two-story, timberframe with spiral staircases, branch furniture, and a drawbridge." Wow!! I ordered it, and will let you know how it goes when it comes.
Meanwhile it is a wonderful day to image ourselves up in the trees, with the birds, squirrels, and our ancestors before they climbed down to bound across the savannas and open up caves.
Today, I saw a robin splashing in the water in a pothole. I was reminded of this quote by Carl Perkins.
"If it weren't for the rocks in its bed, the stream would have no song."
Potholes give robins a place to bathe. It seems the same.
I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying.
- Woody Allen
Walt Disney - "It's kind of fun to do the impossible."
A piccolo played, then a drum.
Feet began to come - a part
of the music. Here came a horse,
clippety clop, away.
My mother said, "Don't run -
the army is after someone
other than us. If you stay
you'll learn our enemy."
Then he came, the speaker. He stood
in the square. He told us who
to hate. I watched my mother's face,
its quiet. "That's him," she said.