It seems a whole bunch of people tried to finish the puzzle last night, and failed. Of course, they were drinking wine and celebrating the new machine. They had a party for the new machine last night. I could have come, though I didn't know about it, and would not have come, but it seems it was quite something with speeches, food, and wine. Soon, each room will be modernized. There is money for cancer in Marin.
So, in this short time, I am comfortable with the radiation world. Everyone is friendly. I actually forget Rilke's Book of Hours and have to return for it. I'm sure Rilke would be appalled at being forgotten like that, for a puzzle and medical friends.
A new person is being trained today, so the breath part is a little more challenging. She isn't as quick on the part where I get to breathe, and she will get there. Anna and I had developed quite the sync.
I have time before the horse experience, so treat myself to a drive to Point Reyes Station, and it is a gorgeous drive as I pass through San Anselmo and Fairfax to the rolling hills and Spirit Rock, and then, up over the hill to the Bolinas Ridge, and a view of the purest beauty. I drop down into Point Reyes Station for a late breakfast at the Station House Cafe. I love that area, and the drive today is exquisite. I parallel a most exuberant stream.
The horse experience is wonderful. There are more mentors than there are us. Jim and Trudy talk and teach. We meet the horses. We, the people take turns being horse and rider and begin to learn how to guide a horse, how to "read" them. They are in the moment. If there is a problem, it is our problem. Jim points out that unlike our government of today, there is no blame game.
How was I most touched? By the number of male mentors who spoke of what their horse means to them, and what they have learned about living and simplicity from their horse and their experiences at this stable. This is only the second cancer group here, but they also work with children.
Also, a minister is part of our group. She is there to pray for us. It is odd because only two of us have no hair. The others are newer to the process, and look fine, and yet, tears came to my eyes when she said she is there to pray for us. I realize now how quickly I was rushed to surgery. I had no time to prepare.
On the other hand, there is the wonderful Beatrice, who went through the first horse group. I am not sure of her age, but she is clearly the oldest, and well-loved. She was treated for breast cancer last year. She will have surgery for lung cancer the day after Easter. I realize that though we may look healthy and fine, there is a lot going on, and that prayer is a good idea. We sit in a circle. Jim believes in an opening and closing circle. He feels there isn't enough closure in this society. People just go off, he says. We won't do that here. I didn't expect all of this. I have sat in many circles, but this one was quite different. We were in a horse arena, fortunately roofed, since it was raining. Jim's wife made chocolate chip cookies for us. Someone else made poppyseed bread. Someone gave me a pair of boots because she noticed we had the same size feet and she had an extra pair. What can I say about this? Do I want to admit that I am a part of a group that needs so much help? And yet, they made it clear. We are the helpers. They learn from us. Anyway, as I sit here, tears come again. I am touched at this experience. One man is there to take pictures and document our progress. I understand this is important. We are not doing this just for ourselves. We do it for the world. Jim says we will be changed by this experience. I believe him. I believe the words of Gandhi. "Be the change you want to see in the world." I know this is another step on that path for me and this group I am fortunate enough to be a part of.
Cindy Cantrell was hired from Montana to come to Marin and set up all this support. I see how hard she works. There is one man in our cancer group. He is surprised to be the only man, but there are so many male mentors that I think he is comfortable, and the horses are a mix of male and female, extrovert and introvert, gentle and rough. We are quite the group.
The stable was built in 1937. It is on Marin Municipal Water District land, and the MMWD can be pills, but it looks like they are renewing the lease for 50 years, and so the horse lovers will start raising money and perk the place up. It is tucked in next to total parkland, so you can get on a horse, and ride up over the mountain and down to Stinson Beach or Tennessee Valley or even Rodeo. I am, of course, a long way from that. This workshop is about communication, intuitive communication, no words. It is gentle guidance. There is no "breaking a horse." If you have read or seen The Horse Whisperer, you know what this is about. Jim trained with the man the book and movie were about. (Of course, there was some fiction going on in the book and movie.) On that note, I notice that Harper Lee and the sons of William Shawn wrote letters to the New Yorker commenting on the portrayal of William Shawn and the "inventions" in the film "Capote."
I am home now, and tucked after quite the day. The nurse today made it clear this weekend is to be about resting. Jim made it clear that we come to our horse experience rested. I understand. I am tired. When I passed the tall trees at Samuel P. Taylor Park, I felt they were wands waving over me telling me to sleep. I felt I was in the poppy fields in the Wizard of Oz. I am feeling my fatigue.
The drive home in the rain was interesting. I remember when I could get from my house to Olema in 30 minutes if I took Sir Francis Drake. Now, with all the traffic lights, and bumper-to-bumper traffic, it took me an hour to get from Fairfax to my home. This is a beautiful place to live, and the rain continues falling down to ensure that this is so. My day was rich. I feel complete.