This morning did not begin as one of my best. I am worried the cough and cold will keep me from chemo, and delay this process I am decidedly sick of. My eyes are red, so I am wearing my glasses, which keep fogging up as I rush around, and right, as I’m ready to call Jane, Mandu throws up under and behind my desk, past the vent, in a place that will be challenging to reach. Grrrrr, I rumble to Jane. I am not going to write “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” I am going to write, “How lousy can one person feel? Let me count the ways.”
Well, as soon as I began, I think of what would be really lousy, concentration camps, and prisoner of war camps, and how those people who did get through it, did, and I am certainly not comparing this to that, but I realized we always have the breath. The breath is always there for us, as anchor, and mooring. That reminded me of a poem I wrote five and a half years ago, when I sat by my mother’s bedside in intensive care. I felt she was dying. I place the poem here.
Reading that poem, took me to a time when I was thirteen, or fourteen, and my family, my mother, father, brother and I were boating and camping at the Salton Sea. A storm came up, and we were blessed to survive, and I believe we knew it. I felt no fear. My dad and I loved the wind. My mother and brother huddled underneath in the cabin of the boat. I exulted in that day-night, as we rode the wind and the waves. Perhaps, I see it differently now, and perhaps, not. The anchor is always the breath, the wind, the spirit, breathing in and out. The answer, the support is there. I will “ride this out,” and I am well. Now, if only, it weren’t so difficult to breathe. I am definitely shoveling a load of snow, rocks, and dirt with each breath.
(Emma, I have full contribution for your project now. Let me know when you want a delivery.)
A Miniature Masterpiece
Today to eat a spinach leaf would be like eating an acreage –
A lettuce leaf – a seven course meal –
Because I feel myself counting my mother’s breaths –
Counting her last as she did my first,
The preciousness of each one, flowing in and out –
The miracle I never really saw –
I exult now in each and every one of her breaths,
as she did my first,
And I do it over and over again, caught
in the exquisite beauty of each One –
Crystalline flakes of snow
paint our lungs –
melt there –
in a pool
of steps – forward and back – in and out –
We are caught on the breath of parents, and children -
forward and back - in and out -
Anchor in the Breath
So, just that, enough,
feeling the breath
in the tears.
Find the mooring ,
Years ago, we were in a storm in the
Even my father was worried.
We lifted the anchor and rode it out.
I think now of those words - cliché, really,
“rode it out,”
like a stallion, dancing in the wind,
until it was time to come in.
The waves paused,
on the shore