I woke early yesterday, my sleeping mind obviously cognizant of having much to get done before leaving. I was, yet again, in transition; playing the role of cross-border, wandering, healing pilgrim.
I had done as much as I could to prepare her for radiation (which started today), and I was switching gears only slightly, heading back to where there was still more work to do, more support to offer, more hands to hold and love to give.
But first: I was on my way to a therapeutic massage, when due perhaps due to traffic problems ahead, I veered off the most direct route and ended up taking a break in an oasis of silence. I went to visit my grandparents, who now live in the same ‘hood, so to speak. Seeking perhaps strength and sustenance from my (our) ancestral spirits, that was just where I felt I had to go. It was peaceful, hot, sunny and the wild daisy patches in front of all their graves were thigh-high, standing out starkly against the more modest gardens of plots nearby. I stood with each of them for awhile, because that is where I am best able to connect with memories of them; their lives and struggles.
Then, off to see Pascale. Previously, a professional ballerina, her longed-for stage career was stymied by a series of grave injuries. She was sidelined for awhile, and then, for good. Pascale turned to specializing in deep-tissue massage: Blessed are those who, like me, have been given the gift of her healing touch.
Then I remembered that I was long overdue for a haircut. The name Marcel caught my eye as I drove down an unfamiliar street. A French name, I thought, surely they must have some professionally-trained haircutters. Though daunted at the prospect of sitting for so long, I knew the deed had to be done. Moreover, the price was right. Big mistake. First tip-off should have been the rainbow-dyed asymmetrical coif nesting atop my cutter’s head. Not more than 6 scissor snips here and there were followed by an arbitrarily determined number of razor swipes at my locks. But really, the worst of it was this: As she grazed my by-now uneven strands of hair, she exclaimed, you’re really losing a lot of hair, did you know that? What exactly do you say to that when the first thing that jumps to mind is but I am not in chemo.
Before boarding my flight, I was lassoed into participating in an agricultural survey, and realized that I could have been booted off the flight had I honestly admitted to spending a few minutes picking blueberries last month. An uneventful flight (with a female pilot at the controls!) in the tiniest of aircraft, the flight attendant allowing me to stand as long as the seat-belt sign didn’t light up. We ended up talking at length, and by the end of the flight I knew that: she loved tearing up the country roads on her motorbike, had been addicted to cocaine and preferred dealing with passengers such as businessmen, who ‘know the drill.’
Arrival and exit to a late, high-humidexed evening. Nearly nodding off on the way home, but awaking,mid-drive, to the exclamation: did you see THAT? It was an owl sitting in the middle of the road! Followed by a somnambulistic entry through the front door, a longed-for hug and quickly sinking into a deep sleep surrounded by a trio of pillows.
It must have been 5 am on the dot when I awoke in tears, which, with sad thoughts fogging up my mind, evolved smoothly into a real weep. Moments later, seriously, just moments (5:04 to be exact), the earth shook. The tremor lasted only a few seconds, long enough for me to gasp myself into silence, to jump out of bed and to listen for sounds percolating through the house. It was an earthquake alright, 3.6 on the scale. When all subsided, and it seemed that the worst had passed, I lay on the bed and, looking up into the darkness, feeling just a little Job-esque, asked in a whisper: haven’t we had enough?