Thursday, February 08, 2007
Musings, Mary Oliver, and Chemo Brain
Patty tells me that a lot of folks have logged on today for 20 seconds or so, to see if I've made a new post, so it must be time for one. Thanks to all of you who responded to my last post; I knew that some of you were reading, and some of you are "new, online friends," and it's good to hear your voice (as it were, on the web).
I'm done traveling to Boston for this week, and I'm so relieved about that. We're having a prolonged cold spell - don't think the temperature has risen to freezing all week - and getting dressed and walking outside takes a lot of time, effort and focus! And I only have so much focus to give!
I haven't had energy to grade papers all week, so I'm way behind (and I apologized to all of my classes about it this week). Grading is number one on my list of things to do this weekend. I got home about an hour ago, and Patty made me poached eggs (my stomach was rocky today), and a little later, I was looking for the tote bag with papers to grade, and convinced myself I'd left them on the commuter train. I was so mad at myself! A few minutes later I wandered in by my favorite chair, to find the bag sitting there, waiting for me. In half an hour, I had completely forgotten I'd brought the bag in and set it down. Chemo brain!
One more day of Xeloda in this cycle, and then I have a week off. Aside from fatigue and a sometimes rocky stomach, I haven't had any real side effects. And I'm grateful for that . . . I've read lots of horror stories about tough times folks have had with the same chemo regimen I'm on.
I've been too tired to grade papers on the train, as I typically do, so I've listened to a lot of the songs, poems, and readings on my iPod (Christmas present!) The other day I heard a poem by my favorite contemporary poet, Mary Oliver. Much of her poetry is grounded in her observations of the natural world in a poignant, unique way. This poem is bittersweet and beautiful and evocative, so I'll share the last few stanzas here. Entitled "Peonies," the poem begins by describing, in detail, the sight of peonies opening in the spring from tight green buds to fragrant, colorful flowers. She concludes:
"...Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?
Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,
with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
from her book New and Selected Poems, Vol. One
Do you love this world? I do, and that line has stayed with me all week.