Waiting to be seen by a doctor.
When the great plates of the earth's crust shift, it seems to happen in a second. Cups rattle, floors buckle, walls crack, waters move out and then in, alarms go off, the landscape is changed. But those plates are always in slow, perpetual motion, grinding against, under, over each other, catching, building tension, and then jolting loose.
It all began when my father drove to Ithaca to see an old friend. On the way back, in Troy, New York, on the hottest day of the year, his car stalled at an intersection. Friendly people helped him. A woman guided him to the shade of a tree, called AAA, directed traffic around his stalled Volvo, and stayed with him for two hours. A man brought them iced coffee. When the tow truck came, he got up from the ground where he'd been sitting, and his legs buckled under him. He fell against the tree trunk, gashed his head, bruised his ribs and scraped his arms. A week later he started having sharp pains in the upper right side of his abdomen. Two days after that he was in the hospital. A gallstone, possibly knocked out of place by the fall, had blocked a bile duct, and his gallbladder had gone septic. Hallucinating, confused, in pain, he was unable to follow what the doctors were telling him. Normally they would have taken his gallbladder out, but he has a heart condition, and they didn't dare risk general anesthesia while he was so sick. Alternatives were being discussed, and we weren't fully in the loop. I got on a plane.
On the last weekend of August I attended the Grief and Growing weekend put on annually by the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center. It was amazing, profound, and yes, healing. Here's the poem I wrote in my head on the drive home from Santa Rosa.
On the island of sad people
a wave breaks forever on the soft stone of our hearts
there is a grove of arms for each of us
that sways gently in the wind of our sighs.
We cry out
and the crows continue their work of being crows.
We cry out
and the deep rooted forest stays rooted deep.
In the crowns of the trees,
ten thousand green-tipped twigs
still reach quietly for the sun.
We cry out and our cries become a flock of small wings circling the place
where we stand weeping.
Aurora Levins Morales is a disabled and chronically ill, community supported writer, historian, artist and activist. It takes a village to keep her blogs coming. To become part of the village it takes, donate here.
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