I open the windows so the plants can see in. I love how they peer in at me. They seem especially curious this morning. I gave them an extra dose of water, as I can tell they like me to water them personally rather than using the automatic sprinkler system. I understand. Imagine if the machine could set me up for radiation, instead of having two people checking and re-checking to make sure all is right. Twice, they put a rubber bib on me, and tuck it under my chin. It is very sweet.
Today, felt a bit odd, as I now have only one more of the "big guys." I found myself lying there, remembering this journey that began last September. Now, I soon return to "normal." What does that mean? Was all of this normal? Can I stay present now to my moods and needs? Will I know, and say when I feel tired without the excuse of chemo and radiation?
When I was in chemo, Steve and I stopped going to movies and public venues where I would be exposed to germs. We didn't really change that when chemo ended. There was nothing to tell us now it is okay to be out with the sneezers and coughers. Now, I sit with that. In 11 days from this moment, I am "free." I can get on an airplane and fly. How odd. I feel excitement, and, also, a feeling that such an experience is totally new. I feel I have never flown before, and, it is true. I have never flown as I am now. I notice I am sitting straighter today. Possibility is beginning to brew in me.
Emily Dickinson wrote, "The possible's slow fuse is lit, by the imagination. "
My imagination, like my hair, is coming back to life.
All, in radiation world, think I no longer need a hat, so I am considering unveiling at the stable today, though it is so cold right now, I may need a hat for warmth, and, if not that, for sun. It is amazing what hair does. It is so useful, just like eyelashes and eyebrows. I am so happy to have mine back.
Pause now, and tap your head and hair with Love Pats!! Tap! Tap! Say thank you each day.
Today, when Kirk fed the fish at radiation, he pointed out that the shark has lost one of his dorsal fins. He can only swim to the left now. Maybe that is an omen for the next election. We don't know what happened. He is a shark and the other fish in the tank are prey. He should be the strong one. What happens in the night? The lights are on an automatic timer and they go out at night. Hmmmm!
I remember when we spent the night in the Monterey Bay aquarium. It was fascinating to see the fish at play when the people are not there staring in. The octopus came to life. He no longer felt the need to be what we expect an octopus to be, a rather silent player in the aquarium world. But, at night, well, just imagine what you would do with all those arms in the privacy of the night sea.
I read today about the amazing John Cage's musical creation in Halberstadt, Germany. I excerpt from an article by Oliver Hartung in the NY Times.
HALBERSTADT, Germany, May 4 — If you miss Friday's musical happening at St. Burchardi Church in this eastern German town, no worries. There is always 2008. And the next year. And the one after that.
"It doesn't sound like Beethoven," said Rainer Neugebauer, a member of the foundation behind the performance, scheduled to last 639 years.
In fact, you have about six more centuries to hear developments in the work being performed, a version of a composition by John Cage called "As Slow as Possible." A group of musicians and town boosters has given the title a ridiculously extreme interpretation, by stretching the performance to 639 years.
Like the imperceptible movement of a glacier, a chord change was planned for Friday. Two pipes were to be removed from the rudimentary organ (which is being built as the piece goes on, with pipes added and subtracted as needed), eliminating a pair of E's. Cage devotees, musicians and the curious have trickled in to Halberstadt, a town about two and a half hours southwest of Berlin by train known as the birthplace of canned hot dogs and home to a collection of 18,000 stuffed birds.
"In these times, acceleration spoils everything," said Heinz-Klaus Metzger, a prominent musicologist whose chance comments at an organ conference nine years ago sparked the project. "To begin a performance with the perspective of more than a half-millennium — it's just a kind of negation of the lifestyle of today."
The only limitations on the length of the performance are the durability of the organ and the will of future generations.
For anyone keeping records, the performance is probably already the world's longest, even though it has barely begun. The organ's bellows began their whoosh on Sept. 5, 2001, on what would have been Cage's 89th birthday. But nothing was heard because the musical arrangement begins with a rest — of 20 months. It was only on Feb. 5, 2003, that the first chord, two G sharps and a B in between, was struck. Notes are sounding or ceasing once or twice a year — sometimes at even longer intervals — always on the fifth day of the month, to honor Cage, who died in 1992.
There are eight movements, and Cage specified that at least one be repeated. Each movement lasts roughly 71 years, just four years shy of the life expectancy of the average German male. There is no need to wait for the end of a movement for late seating: St. Burchardi is open six days a week, and the notes have been sounding continuously.
A whine can be faintly hard outside the front door of the church, a 1,000-year-old building that was once part of a Cistercian monastery and served as a pigsty when Halberstadt was a neglected industrial town in East Germany.
A cool blast of air comes through the open door, and the sound grows louder. After one spends some time within the bare stone walls, the urge to hum in unison proves irresistible. An electric bellows — about the size of three double beds in a row — sits in the left transept. Underground piping brings air to the organ in the right transept, which at this point is a wooden frame with six pipes. Small weights hold down wooden tabs: the keys. A plexiglass case muffles the sound. Neighbors complained that they could not sleep after the first notes sounded.
The place attracts people seeking a peaceful moment or communion with Cage's spirit. One student from the Juilliard School asked to spend a night in the church, said Georg Bandarau, the town's marketing director and manager of the Cage project. A Canadian writer who is going blind and making journeys to experience his other senses arrived Thursday.
The project's spirit is firmly in keeping with the proclivities of Cage, whose works pushed the boundaries of music and sought to meld life and art. One of his cardinal principles was to give the performer wide leeway. His most famous work may be "4' 33" " — in which the performer or performers sit silently for 4 minutes 33 seconds. Some consider him as much a philosopher as a musician.
Indeed, the Cage organ project is part serious musical endeavor, part intellectual exercise and part tourist attraction, the sort of thing that happens when the local worthies of a European town join with ambitious artists. And it has come to mean different things to different people.
The article continues with different opinions and responses to the project.
William Stafford wrote on December 28, 1986, "Which country will the U.S. invade this year?"
I read that Americans are sicker than we should be. I think it is challenging health-wise to live in a country that proclaims itself saintly, and then, does so many "bad" things. I think the conflict is hard on us. We, my family, continue to look at places we might move, but this is home, and I don't believe in running away, and yet, I do feel sorrow and pain, on what is done with my tax dollars, on what is done in my name.
I know I need to live in a way of acceptance, appeasement, and movement toward soft change, while also accepting that all is fine as it is. In Rosen, each person we come to, each person who comes to us, is "perfect." There is nothing wrong with them, and maybe there might be room for more breath, aliveness, consciousness, touch. It is like that, I suppose. I come to this country I love with ever more love, even as I hope to open up windows so I can see more, and more can see in, like my beloved plant friends. May I peer out and allow peering in, and may we breathe together in rhythms and harmonies of peace. May this be so! We have time. John Cage tells us so. Breathe! Appease!