Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Mt Tam
A little more than 8 months ago I was watching the sunset west of Big Basin from Castle Rock, saying good bye to the old year on the eve of the new. I felt love in the beauty of the moment and the person I shared it with, who shared it with me. In that golden glow I couldn't have known I was at all unhealthy, that something was growing in my chest next to my heart.
I was reading a story in the NY Times- a woman who had had cancer wrote that she had become the entertainer at the hospital, with her doctors, nurses, other patients. She wanted to control how she was remembered- not as a cancer patient, but as someone exceptional. She felt she had lost herself with the healthy person she once was. She was trying to make sure that whatever she was becoming, it was a "full-blooded, memorable human being".
Isn't that what I'm doing? Isn't that why I started this blog, why it looks the way it does? I want to be exceptional. I want to be associated with beauty, eloquence. I want you to think of me as someone worth remembering, someone you want to hike with, talk with, laugh with. I want people who don't know me to want to. I feel my grasp of me being threatened.
It's funny how facing death makes people feel threatened. They become aware of their previously neglected mortality. Isn't it that awareness which makes us distinctly human? Isn't it the contextualness of our experience of the world, our acute awareness of cause and effect, of the abstract, that makes us (well some of us) distinct as animals?
Sometimes a melancholy melody collides with my momentary reflections and brings a sob to my throat. Sometimes I weep- not because I have cancer, not because I might suffer pain, not because I could die sooner than I planned, but because all this might happen and I won't have achieved anything meaningful, I won't be able to support myself and I won't have the embrace of a lover to comfort me, to put his arm around me while we watch the sunset. Or... maybe I cry because I realize the world can be so beautiful, and whether or not I get to experience that beauty might be out of my control. Why do we believe that the world might offer these things to anyone?
Is it fair to expect an exceptional life? Perhaps we are just hiding a mundane existence, the repetition of everyday, in a fantastical idealism.
"I get all the news I need on the weather report... all the news I need on the weather report. Hey, I got nothing to do today but smile.
Here I am..."
So, uh, anyway, tomorrow (Fri) I start Chemotherapy.

1 comment:

Saskia said...

It's funny, but in the short time I have known you, you do strike me as the type of person you talk about here. You have definitely made an impact on me, just by being you. Looking at your Flickr photos today, I am stunned by the detail and beauty that you see in everything. I admire and respect your outlook on life, the world, people... (everyone needs a little snark in their life :>). Love-fest, blah blah blah, I mean every word. You would leave your mark were this thing to vanquish you, which it won't.