Tuesday, January 17, 2012
The Turning of the Seasons
Greetings everyone –
I hope the New Year finds you both well and happy. As usual, I must apologize for the time between posts. We all rode out the bounce pass that is the winter’s solstice. I feel blessed in a way by these past holidays, as at one point this year I was so unsure of what the future held I wasn’t positive I would see another holiday season. But it was a good one. With the passing of the solstice, I felt the page turn on the year, with much relief. Perhaps the hardest year of my life, yet I am sincerely grateful, from the bottom of my heart. But first the news.
December 6th brought another oncology appointment, with blood test and all, and I passed with flying colors! My cancer marker score was a new low! And my other, more routine blood values were all in good ranges. Then the serious Dr. Mason smiled and said he didn’t think I needed another CT scan (hallelujah!) and that he didn’t want to see me for four (4) months! That really felt good. A positive start to the holiday season. We spent the actual solstice with my pagan friends in Leucadia, and at the moment of the solstice (conveniently at 9:32pm), we threw our notes into the fire; notes upon which we had written three things we were starting and three things we were finishing. I was so ready to say goodbye to the year, a year that has had the sadness of my father’s passing and the uncertainty and pain of my battle with cancer. As we drove home shortly after, I really felt a huge release of tension. The year was really over! (I guess I really feel the years pivot on the solstice rather that the calendar new year about 10 days later) There was a new cycle to start, a new series of downs (or seasons, I suppose). I felt almost giddy with the possibilities.
During the holidays we were visited by Scott and Marlene, my wife Amy’s brother and sister-in-law. They live in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, right near where the Wright brothers had their first flight. Scott is a brewmaster/owner at a Micro-brewery there, and shipped some special brews here ahead of them. It was, by all accounts, a “very beery Christmas”! Myles, his friends and some of mine availed upon Scott’s vast and encyclopedic knowledge of all things brewing related, with a blind beer tasting and a critique of some home brew. A good time was had by all.
I was able to surf both on Christmas Day and New Years Eve. How lucky I am to be living in such a place where this is possible, and strong enough to do so. Although my new, leaner physique makes me much more sensitive to the colder winter water, I have dug out the extra neoprene (and shortened my sessions) to deal with it. Always, an immersion in Mother Ocean seems like a baptism, and when I emerge, a rebirth. I have thought that on our planet, the oceans are the dominant feature, 70% of the earth being covered by water. We really don’t have “oceans” and “seas” but rather one ocean that is contiguous with every other ocean, sea, gulf, bay and inlet. When you are in the ocean, you are part of this, and the swells are like the very pulse of the planet. The ocean is a healing place for me, and gives me strength and calmness.
My Master’s Composter class has started to pay off. I have begun a business of consulting with folks on their gardening/composting aspirations, and it is fun! Urban agriculture is the wave of the future, on in which I will try not to be ahead of the curve for once. I have been collecting coffee grounds from a new café in Leucadia which have been integrated into our composing system at home. For the first time in a long time, we have a plethora of wormy compost for the garden! A wonderful problem to have, I must say. My compliments to Pete Ash and the folks at Solana Recyclers for doing the good work of educating the people. It is interesting; when I was so weak after surgery, when I was so unsure about my prognosis, the only thing I wanted to do was to be in the garden, and make sure the compost got turned. It was the only activity that made any sense to me at the time. And last weekend as I was doing the dormant pruning of the apricot, fig, butterfly bush, etc in my garden, it struck me. While we are healing the earth, the earth is healing us. (I do some of my best thinking while pruning) I encourage you all to get your hands in the dirt, to nourish and grow something consumable, something for its taste, scent or sheer beauty. And call me if you have any questions about your compost/vegetable garden/ fruit trees. I’m here to help.
I look over the past year, and I am struck by the joy that can be found in the simplest of activities. One of the hardest parts of facing my own mortality was not so much a sense of personal transience but the loss of the joy of watching the younger generation grow up. My daughter and son and their friends, my nieces and nephews, all of this younger generation that brightens my day and makes me feel part of something larger. Over the holidays it was a chance to connect with them all, and it made me awash with so many emotions: love, pride, curiosity, connection and hope. The passing on of wisdom; the passing of the torch. I wish all of you a healthy, happy and fulfilling 2012.