on wildness



Wow. Two weeks since a blog post. In the world of the Interweb that's an eternity. But here, where life really lives, it's been a rich and complex time that seems to have zoomed by, and punctuated most significantly not by my impending move to Los Angeles but by some difficult health news from my uncle, who received a diagnosis of advanced pancreatic cancer (spread to the liver) and is beginning a course of chemo tomorrow. This will, in theory, improve the quality of his life and lengthen it slightly, but I can't imagine it any other way than an endurance test of heroic proportions. I am so very sad for him, and scared, and in some ways even more so for my father, who is watching his only sibling - and last remaining member of his family of origin - face a horrific illness and treatment. I remember a year and three months ago being shepherded by my sister through my own medical trauma and feeling the most pristine and profound sense of trust for her care. At the same time, I was able to see through her eyes what it felt like to have a sibling have to face the crisis of her own body's mutation (even this fixable one) and the fear and anxiety we were both carrying. Mikhal was astonishing during that time - strong and compassionate, focused and flexible, and in absolute tune with me, anticipating when my panic level was up, finding so many ways to sooth me and keep me grounded to the reality of what was happening.


I suspect my dad has a similar, if not greater attunement to my uncle. And that the pain of watching his brother face such a difficult path is equally acute, if not more so. He will be with him in New York next week, and I am heading eastward myself next Saturday to spend as much time with my uncle as he is able.


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I was in Topanga, just north of Santa Monica, all last week, cooking at a Healer's Intensive led by Deena Metzger. Lots of dietary senstivities to work around, but I have to say eating like a gluten-free vegetarian for much of the week seems to have done my body good. I had some nice stretches of time alone in the kitchen, which is always such a wonderful place for me to be. And I did a little hiking and communing with nature, which was so restorative. The air was dry and warm for much of the week, and on the eve of the Summer Solstice I slept outside on a chaise and woke up in time to see the sunrise from one of the hill crests. That light - orange-red-pink on the mountain - was the epitome of dawn. An awakening. A revealing. The land taking shape and finding itself.


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Then home again, in time for the throngs and mild chaos that is Gay Pride Weekend. It was a startling contrast to Topanga, but I was glad for the chatter and revelry and time with friends. Something about the festivities felt like the perfect counterpoint to all the introspection and solitude and focus that marked my week away. I made myself a Starburst necklace and dove right in.


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And then movers - the movers! - came yesterday to haul away the bulk of my things to storage. So today, more packing up and letting go. I thought it would be sadder than it is. But really, with each thing I put away or throw away, I find myself feeling more unburdenened, lighter, freer. There's a giddiness to this move I've never experienced before. Perhaps some of it has to do with the fact that I have no idea where, precisely, I'll be landing when I get to LA. Or when, exactly, since I bought myself a one-way ticket back east so I wouldn't have to stress about figuring out when I'd come back.


It feels like the theme right now is one step at a time. Not thinking too far ahead. Not trying to do too much. Pick a corner and clear it. Empty this cupboard, then move onto this one. One box gets filled and taped shut, another one gets propped open. And I'm remarkably at peace right now, knowing this is all I can really map out at the moment. One day. Then another.


Tomorrow I'm throwing myself a last hurrah party at my apartment. There's a wonderful sparsity in here right now, and I see that where the coffee table was, a dance space has been birthed. Or a place for sleeping bags if any of my guests want to spend the night. The walls are empty and clean. The light is coming through. And just outside my window, birdsong.


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Wildness. Wildness in the body, what we don't know and can't see and aren't in charge of. Wildness of space, of mountain, of sunlight, of underbrush, of bees and ants and wind and water. Wildness of a city, letting its hair down. Wildness of a room empty of its heavy furniture. Wildness of a season, the sudden heat and dryness and the thirst for lemonade. And wildness of spirit, of wandering and seeking and hoping and learning how to carry the great faith of the unknown.