Friday, January 18, 2019


I've been lost in a post surgical haze and malaise. My surgery was more extensive than expected, so I spent the night in the hospital, and I'm glad I did. I needed my pain managed. I was sent home with some narcotics which I used to the full extent of the medical parameters allowed. Consequently, I was pretty incoherent when awake, so I spent much of my week asleep. Just as well. Getting back up and about has been a struggle: I just don't want to do it. I'm too tired, too much in pain (I got a second RX), and frankly too easily discourage by so many things.

I am slowly clawing my way out.  Baby steps.

I am feeling extremely nostalgic, melancholic, and wondering just what the hell I'm supposed to be doing in this life.  I've been looking at the past, picking out those happy memories, like the Women's March in D.C. two years ago at this time.

In addition to the marching (exhausting), I got around to see a bit of Washington and the various marvelous museums there (currently shut down).

I adored seeing Julie Childs' kitchen at the Smithsonian.  Do you think she could have imagined, cooking away, that someday her kitchen would be in a national museum of renown?

Or that a movie would be made about her life?

We never know how, in the end, our lives will be remembered.  If they'll be remembered.  Which brings me to the sad passing of poet Mary Oliver this week.  Yes, her poem When Death Comes contains themes I have been stirring around in the sludge of brain matter in my head.  It's all too enormous to fully contemplate.

We also lost a neighbor this week, just a few doors down.  A prince of a fellow, the founder of a local food chain known for it's organic products and "health food store" aesthetic.   He lived here for five years, and was widely admired for being so humble and friendly.  His son put a large framed photo of him on his hallway shelf: years ago, at the helm of a sailing ship, smiling broadly.  A small note thanked us, his community, for being such good friends to their dad.  I plucked a white chrysanthemum from my bouquet and placed it below the photo.

So, here is my sad offering of a post, my "TGIF" for you to read. 


When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it's over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don't want to end up simply having visited this world

When Death Comes by Mary Oliver.


  1. You've been in my thoughts. Thank you for the update, for writing down your thoughts and posting them despite the pain and discouragement. Your voice matters.

    "... and each body a lion of courage, and something
    precious to the earth ..."

    I've noticed that my mind goes to dark places at the same time my body is doing its difficult healing work. Body wisdom is nonverbal and holds the courage my mind can't find.

    Sending love.

  2. I have been wondering how you are doing. You've been so quiet here. Really sorry to know how much pain you have been in. Oy. Sure hope that all stops soon and the good healing helps in every way. It was such sad news yesterday to learn of Mary Oliver's death. Her words are so much a part of my inner life. I wrote my twin brother today and told him I want to be her when I grow up. I'm getting there at least in age. Please take care, get well, and know we send you so much love.

    1. yes, after Whitman and Thoreau, she swooped into my consciousness in my late twenties and quickly supplanted my earlier nature/poet/gurus. With her woman's sensibilities and her deceptively simple subjects, she was so relatable. Today is probably one of my better days, but the brain is still pretty foggy after taking narcotics during the night. I'm saving them just for nighttime, as the pain keeps me awake. I have a post-op on the 23rd. Surgery always sucks.

      I love that you want to be Mary when you grow up. You'd better hurry!! Receiving your love with gratitude.

  3. Glad to hear from you, although so sorry about all the pain. Count me among those who will mourn Mary Oliver's passing from this life. I have loved her poetry for years. Hope you feel better soon.

  4. You've been in my thoughts as well. I hope you continue to mend. Sending love.


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