Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

Letting Go

Day 365..

Writing topic:


Non-anxious Presence

Day 267…

My desire is to be a non-anxious presence, and that leads me to address what worries me. That makes sense.  One can not be an anxious non-anxious presence, can one?  So in order to be honestly non-anxious, I have to continue to face fears, real or imagined.  Chop wood, carry water.

In two hours I will travel to New Orleans (assuming it’s not yet underwater) with my brother and his younger daughter.  We are going to a party on a river boat with a band and sit down dinner…to celebrate the med school graduation of his older daughter’s boyfriend.

OK…check my fears. 

Mississippi River is flooding…I’m not anxious about that.  We can always turn around and come home. 

What will I wear to a dressy, but not formal party in New Orleans?…Not anxious about that either.  Melissa and I shopped on Thursday for the perfect outfit.  I even found some shoes that might really be comfortable.

In the car for 6 hours with my anxious brother and his teen-age daughter…I’m not even anxious about that.  I can just repeat the mantra I’m not in charge  in my head whenever necessary.  For I am learning that when I am not anxious it helps neutralize the anxieties of others.  I practice this throughout the school year with beginning teachers and their students.  

So here I go…to the City of Sin as the river is rising…it’ll be fun.  

For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the universe.  ~Author Unknown

I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.  ~Mark Twain

There are more things, Lucilius, that frighten us than injure us, and we suffer more in imagination than in reality.  ~Seneca

Wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weights you down.  ~Toni Morrison

Writing topic:  Non-anxious

The Changing Journey

Day 128…

I’m on a path…everything and everyone that is present, or not present, everything and everyone that is visible, or not, is connected…Some connections seem obvious, some change after an initial impression, some seem obscure for a while.

All I know to do for now is to continue paying attention.  When I feel anxious, breathe.  When I have images and words watch them, play with them, let them go.  Allow the path to weave, change, evolve.   

As I write these words I know they too will change soon.   Nothing is permanent.  That is not meant to be scary.  It is all connected.

Writing topic:  Change

Five Years Out

Day 30…

Just finished the Race for the Cure in my sixth pink shirt.  The location has changed due to its success, but I missed the trees this morning.  Walking on the parkway road was HOT and not necessarily in a good way. 

I remember my first walk, a month after the diagnosis.  Seeing that crowd of pink was overwhelming.  I panicked and just stayed at the site.  My teacher friends walked for me.  But every year since we have walked together. 

This year my faithful teacher buddies had signed up, they weren’t able to get to the site because of the crowd.  Hmmm.  No sign of panic from me this year.  I walked with three other friends, not teachers.  Two writers and one I did kindergarten choir with back in the seventies.  She and I talked of the present, as her husband mounts a political campaign I’m very interested in.

Life moves on.  And I’m still in the game.

Writing topic:  Beyond survival

A Milestone

Five years…   I have officially completed five years of Tamoxifen, the drug used to block estrogen receptors in my breast tissue.   I remember that first day August 18, 2005…just before a 1000 mile trip to Taos, NM to begin a yearlong writing project…less than two weeks before the devastating Hurricane Katrina 300 miles away…

But  that little white pill was the only thing on my radar.  I would need to take it twice a day for five years.  Now,  just after discovering that my breast cancer may have been triggered by the hormone replacement therapy pills I had loyally taken for five years.

“Do you know how hard it was to put that first pill in my mouth?” I asked my soft spoken oncologist this morning.

He smiled.

“I cried off and on the whole first day. And didn’t really stop until I got to Taos.”

Maybe sharing that magical town with creative people was the diversion I needed.

However before leaving NM I hear of a powerful hurricane heading toward the southern part of my state.  In the time it took me to drive home,  Katrina had hit, the levee had broken and large parts of New Orleans were underwater.

My fear of Tamoxifen subsided, and life continued to unfold.  The routine of taking pills was now just that–routine.

However, this morning there’s something new.  It’s  sparkly and twinkling, like a flicker of the big picture.

Exploring Time

I have much to do today in preparation for the weeks ahead.  I will finish reading Cutting for Stone so I can prepare to facilitate two book club meetings this week.  Perhaps then I’ll begin working on this semester‘s syllabus for the alternative certification seminar for intern teachers.  And of course I’ll need to go to the grocery store.

But there’s something else my heart is longing for today.  A connection from a different time, perhaps.  I bought Eudora Welty’s book of Depression era photographs of Mississippi, One Time, One Place when I toured her Jackson home last week.  I had seen a traveling show of these photographs several years ago and they touched me deeply.

In the picture “Wildflowers,” two girls face the camera.  Only the younger girl, the one holding a bouquet of wildflowers, looks directly into the lens.  It’s as if I know these girls.  They could have been my students from the first year I taught in Canton,  Ms.  That year was 1973, not the mid 1930’s of the picture.  I will sketch this picture to become present to it.

Maybe this is part of this year‘s back to school preparation.  To reconnect with the experiences of my past.

Valencia Garden Cucumber Explores Mississippi

Chilling across Louisiana in my new shades

You know you're in Mississippi when you see kudzu

Stretching out on the bed at Days Inn, Natchez

Driving the steamboat through the Visitors Center

Bummer. This is MY bed.

Sightseeing at some fountain

Firing cannons is more fun

Relaxing after a long day of sightseeing

Trying to wake up for the drive to Oxford

A park along the Natchez Trace towards Jackson

Days Inn, Oxford...this feels familiar

more coffee...more sightseeing

The garden next to Ford Theater, University of Mississippi where one of the Obama-McCain debates took place

William Faulkner sitting in the Oxford Square. He didn't have much to say.

The Oxford Community Garden was fenced and locked.

A neglected, overripe brother trying to escape

Heading home