A Yankee's Musing

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Fellow Travelers

The coyotes are vigorously carrying on tonight. Hope they are just as vigilant in their endeavors inside of me, ferreting out any cancer cells hidden away in the far reaches of my body. I had another visit from the bear today, and I now am almost positive that I have two young bears, not one. At first I dismissed the weight differences since the facial markings never changed. But Ben Kilham, the black bear expert, explained last Saturday night how cubs from the same litter may have the exact same markings. I have been watching and recollecting in more detail. And yes, I think I have two bears. One is bigger than the other, not just weight wise, but its head is larger and so are the paws. It also has extra white on the lower belly area. This may be a male. The other has a smaller head but bigger ears and smaller paws, any only white on the chest area. What is helpful to observe their markings is when the rascals climb up the birches in my yard, spread eagle like as the chimmy up between two adjacent birches. These antics are all to reach the bird feeders, which most often are empty, but are religously checked anyway by both bears. They also stretch up the trees higher now to make claw marks. Ben Kilham says this is not only to mark their territory, but to release smells from the bark that attracts other bears. Oh, boy.

So the coyotes and bears are well. and I am entranced with their wildness and thier distinct behavior. The coyotes talk to each other, and sometimes seem to yip directions and wail for others. I need to pay more attention to them to understand them better. I have been primarily focused on the bears. They bears have included me into their realm unconditionally, it seems. I can sit on the back step and the bear watches me until I speak, then relaxes, sighs, and continues doing whatever it was doing near me. Yesterday I was staining the porch. I heard a sighing right beside me, turned, and there was the bear eating a grub not three feet from me. We both looked astonished at each other, I spoke, and then we both went about our business: me staining the trim of the porch windows rose pink, and the bear extracting a grub from a leaf. A special feeling these encounters with the bear/s have been for me. Wish people were as easy to get along with as bears.

And so, another day passes into evening and I feel healthy; but deep inside, I know the battle rages on. I am grateful for this time with the forest life and the company of good friends. I am grateful to be able to get up in the morning and not know what may present itself, but know it will be something new and probably quite fascinating. and outside of this healing place, the world goes on. The astronauts couldn't come down this morning, perhaps tomorrow, god willing. Peter Jennings passed on and I am sorry. He was an acquaintance whom I respected, and when he came down with cancer, a fellow traveler fighting to live one more moment. I will miss his courage and understanding.

Friday, August 05, 2005

What is a strong woman?

Someone called me a strong woman the other day. I didn't know how to respond or even exactly what that meant? Then I fell upon a couple of definitions that made me think. Here they are:
"A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she's in hot water." Elenor Roosevelt
"If you can't be brave, be determined. and you'll end up in the same place." Mrs. Nyquist, a characterin a book by Lisa Scottoline

Both of these definitions make me smile and nod. Yeah, even a confirmed coffe addict
like me can appreciate the tea bag simile. And the other, "be determined," has been my credo for as long as I can remember. My life has often been challenging, but worth it. It has cost me, though, in trust. I let people in, but not too close. I protect my inner core furiously. But there are those who I have let in and I love them unconditionally. Sometimes that has been hurtful; but for the most part, I am grateful for their love and respect.

I have a saying posted over my cabin door: "The best things in life are not things,' and that is true. There are a few truisms in this world and I think that's one of them. Here at my cabin I am fortunate because I can "curl up" with the love and support from some of those inner sanctum friends. They help me continue being determined as I try to accept what others give me without losing the balance between giving and receiving. Everything is a juggling where boundaries form and reform, stretch and contract, become porous and constrict. It is a proactive process and it is scarey to someone as independent as I am. But what it all does come down to, what gets me up every morning no matter how I feel, is determination which substitutes nicely for bravery. That's me, a Taurus.

And so the chemotherapy continues. Doxil this time. No big problems so far, just niggling ones. I am appreciative of that and try to think positive; but honestly, the squirrels in my head say "The acorn will drop soon enough." I am using every moment to its fullest. It is exhausting sometimes, to be completely focused all the time on everything around oneself and how I am responding inside. I can only explain it as like high definition TV, brighter and sharpter and every dimensional to almost a disturbing point at times. Everything comes at me and it's hard not to blink.

For example, the other day several people dropped by. At one point, there was one woman who was visiting me when a man she dislikes a great deal arrived. Neither one have much love for the other. The dance between them at my kitchen table was wild. I watched their uneasiness and how thaey handled it: their body movements completely excluded the other even though we were all in a small space; they never looked at each other, only at me with occassional side looks to ascertain the position of the other; the conversation through me (two entirely different conversations no less); and their breathing, which would catch at times to betray theat in fact, each one was indeed listening secretly to the other. Quite a sophisticated choreography going one. Finally one decided to leave, so the other did too. Now was the intricate dance as one tried to leave by the same door as the other without acknowledging each other. Exhausting to watch. then, once outside, they got into the vechiles which, conincidentally, were facing each other. Now, who would pull out first. Pregant pause, longer wait, finally one inched backward and the other forward. They did it. Whew!

I wonder if such contortions to avoid someone are really worth it. Think about the energy it takes to ignore someone. It sure is comical to watch, and underscores how silly human beings can be. It must be more difficult to ignore someone than simply acknowledge them, and more energy to keep up a hate rather than to forgive. I may have less energy now, but I sure am learning from others what I want to expend my energy on.