The birds are back

A week ago I noticed the robins. In the days since: a bard owl, vultures, pheobes, juncos, flickers, wild turkey, and red wing blackbirds. With the return of the migratory birds, spring can’t be far behind.

The glacier that was once our backyard is slowly receding as well. It has been raining and the season’s first thunderstorm was followed by a bit of hail. As I traipse through the woods  the earth is boggy beneath my feet.

What I really long for is sunshine. Not only has the weather been gloomy as of late, so have I. It is not a state of mind that I find acceptable for very long.

This past weekend I spoke briefly at a conference for cancer survivors. There was a question and answer period and someone wondered how I deal with depression. I explained that the first thing I see when I wake is the framed word Gift; a reminder that each day is precious.

Of course, that awareness isn’t always enough. When my kids were younger and in a state of distress, I found distraction and diversion to be the best tactics. That is, unless I too was at wits end, in which case my response might be far less constructive.

A simple change of scenery can nudge me out of a funk sometimes as well.  Perhaps a few minutes laying on the floor with Buddy (dog pile), going out into the woods with my camera, trolling at a thrift store or immersing myself in a good book.

I just read The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. It is an autobiography by Jean-Dominique Bauby, who was the editor of French Elle. At the age of 44 he suffered a major stroke, during which he was deprived of almost all bodily function, a state referred to as locked in syndrome. It is a slim volume, which Bauby dictated by blinking his eye to indicate each letter; an unbelievably painstaking process.

Situational diversion was no longer an option for him, and he recreated his own world within his head. His recounting is simply amazing.

For me as well,  distraction is occasionally cerebral. Recently my oldest son, August, was in the midst of a personal crisis. Although we spoke often on the phone, I really wanted to actually be there for him. As I lay in bed at night, I replayed memories from the moment of his birth, as if by doing so I could hold him close.

When feeling sad, sometimes it is forgetfulness that I seek. That is, of course, only a temporary solution. Ultimately I must return to mindfulness, and embrace the here and now. Even when it hurts.

13 responses to “The birds are back

  1. I love aimless wandering in a thrift or tawdry antique store. I let my mind go and so many objects are like totems drawing out memories from deep within and long ago. It sounds sad, but isn’t. It’s very comforting. Good to hear you are out and about again. Debbie

    • Debbie, gotta admit, just looking at things is sometimes the right ticket to get me outta my head. Glad it works for you as well.


  2. Linnea your anniversary cake remind me of blind singer Jose Feliciano and Light my fire
    Come on baby, light my fire
    Come on baby, light my fire
    Try to set the night on fire, yeah
    Do it again with 12 candles for my six year anniversary in the Fall, yeah

    In the nice Fiesta Latina in the White house the song No llores no mandes flores
    is a good song for friends of cancer patients, more or less translation:
    don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry,
    the day that I die I would like that you don’t cry for me,
    the day that I die I don’t want you to send me flowers,
    what you give me, give to me in life,
    life is to enjoy it, life is too short, don’t cry for me.
    I am realistic optimist. Is the glass half empy or half full? It depends on whether you are pouring or drinking.
    Enjoy the moment, drink it now, a Margarita for Linnea.
    The end result is the same but the journey is more pleasant for the optimist.,0 Feel happy and optimist, like the tree that reminds me of Linnea surviving against odds
    when a bolt of lightning slams into the ground, just missing a tree.
    After cancelling the treatment with Alimta my oncologist offers me Ifatanib chemo pills treatment,
    since she almost killed me with Tarceva I search in my friendly internet and just a couple of comments from Grace Dr West are not encouraging for me without a mutation:
    “during the period of actual treatment, is that there was no improvement in overall survival, which was the primary endpoint of the study. Sadly, there’s more: survival was numerically (though not statistically significantly) worse in recipients of the active drug (10.8 vs. 12.0 months; HR = 1.09).’
    Article shows better results for placebo, No treatment is better!!!
    so I am going on holidays to Puerto Vallarta,Mexico on Friday April 15 to 22nd, back for Eastern wk end for chocolat rabits and birds and green grass.
    I feel better, only some pain discomfort, more normal and happy with out chemo.At my return we are going to do 5 days of radiation, burning tumors is the last resort.
    Have a happy Eastern, we are going to see the mexicans camping on beaches preparing for real Pascua, no chocolat rabits.
    Abrazos Guillermo

    • Guillermo, hopefully you are soaking up the sun and enjoying the sound of the waves. When you return, perhaps a little bonfire in your lungs will annihilate the tumors. Here’s hoping.


  3. Beautiful, yet sad as well.
    Be well my friend, you have helped so many of us, and I thank you.

    • Susan, I guess my sadness (though I attempted to mute it) came through. Can’t be helped at times. Never a permanent state of mind though…(some more sunshine would really help).


  4. Oh my friend. Was hoping for a light and laughter post today. This round has been rough and I am finding being mindful or accepting much more difficult when housebound. And I am not really that, but gray skies and low energy are a terrible brew.

    Sending joy, love, and light your way.

    • Stephanie, sorry. I didn’t mean to be so (transparently) down. It is the weather more than anything. However, in the past week I’ve seen signs of merging spring (even in the midst of almost wintry temperatures). Be happy and I hope your treatment isn’t beating you up too much.


      • No apologies required. Yes, something warmer than 50 and skies a little less gray would be nice.

  5. You amaze me Linnea. Very humble mention of the conference. You were a huge part of it and your comments and photos moved everybody. I made an appt for myself with Dr. Davis in May. Haven’t heard from the machine lady who joined us at lunch LOL. Love, Linda

    • Linda, let me know how the appt. in May goes. Glad your evasive action was effective (sometimes necessary) and it was oh so fun hanging with you (even if it was a t a party for a bunch of people with cancer). Let’s do it again sometime soon.


  6. Joan Zimmermann

    Linnea- I hope the spring buoys you up. Am in warm AZ with hubby, getting much-needed sun rays, evading little clots of javelinas snorting in the turn lanes, watching the roadrunners, the silly quail.
    Can so relate to your memories- when my (very grown!) kids are troubled, I think about them sleeping next to me when they were infants, their little bodies curled under my arm. Must be our way of praying.
    Be well, my friend.

    • Joan, aren’t the javelinas special? They run through the streets of Marfa on occasion…Enjoy that sunshine. It is (really) snowing rather heavily here (April 23). Oy vey.

      You be well too.


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