Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tip Top Refill / Hummingbird

I'm reeling and a bit starspun from events of the past few weeks. It's been a fair piece of road since the rather discouraging meeting with the doc on July 18.  The combination of special visits with friends and a week in our beloved Adirondacks showered us with love and certainly refilled many of my reservoirs of spirit and creativity. 

First, I took advantage of the suddenly-no-chemo week of July 21 by making a few tours of the Johns Hopkins stadium steps, to get my legs in shape. On the way home from one of these sessions, my walking settled into a meditative cadence and I thought:  
I go as a pilgrim --open to the path before me.
I go as a student --open to the teachings around me.
I go as a healer -- practicing tender mercy,
aware of the healing available within, 
full of the miracle of life itself.
What was slated as one week in the Adirondacks convalescing from a new round of chemo turned out to be 10 days of a willing suspension of disbelief. Louisa and I took a mini-roadtrip north, visiting Natalie and Peter in  Philadelphia, Susan and Mark in Easthampton, Liz Gardner in Greenfield, and Matt, Jenny, Becky and Sam in Williamstown, MA, where we reunited with our own kids. We then made the pilgrimmage to the Adirondack High Peaks, a place I've come "home" to since I was 3. Not only did I walk in the woods and make a very doable hike (Indian Head), I made it 8 miles up & down the 2nd highest mountain in New York (Algonquin) with 10 family members & friends! 
I rowed up two lakes to commune with the "peace of wild things" and "the presence of still water." I took healing plunges into a mountain lake and a rain-swollen river. Had a lovely woods walk with Emily whom I hadn't seen in 30 years. Had dinner with Nina and Esty, the best two 85-year olds on the planet! Took the ferry to Vermont to catch the art opening of our friend Alisa and have dinner with her and her husband Danny. Even played a little tennis and golf. And of course, spent time with my mom, brother-in-law Patrick, brother John and Anne & their girls & cousins, and my own intrepid "team ELLF" as my dad has affectionately nicknamed us. 

Back home, there was a laundry day and then more goodness. I received cards and gifts and felt touched, humbled and a bit overwhelmed. I met with my "Quaker Guides" and was much encouraged. My former coworker Maureen brought a delicious lunch and connected me with Jan Morrison who came to my house from an hour away to play the "healing harp." I lay down on our porch couch and soaked in Celtic harp for an hour! Then a wonderful 3-day visit with our dear friend from California Annamaria and her kids Rianna and Sovin. We went sightseeing in DC, boating in Annapolis with Chris & Milty, and then collaborated on a dinner party with Shirley, Joyce and Vicki. It was fun to entertain again.

So the prescription to "go enjoy your vacation, enjoy life, and come back in tip top condition" was right on. When we met again with the doc she had picked out a clinical trial and I am taking steps now to enroll in it. If all goes according to plan I'll be starting a new treatment toward the end of August. Yet again a new world is before me and I don't know exactly how it will be until I'm in it. But I'm ready as I can be.  

The finishing touch on all this presented iteself in our front yard yesterday morning. Annamaria and I were sitting on our little screen porch, savoring our last few minutes together before she continued her East Coast visiting and returned to California. A hummingbird came right up to the screen, hovered for a few moments above the azalea bushes, then sped off. This was rare. I've seen a hummingbird maybe once or twice near our house in the 14 years we've lived here. We remarked that is was a much more likely sighting in Annamaria's yard. The image and sensation stayed with me all day. Curious, I did a little research and found some not too surprising descriptions, several of which were similar to this one on spiritanimal.info

The hummingbird generally symbolizes joy and playfulness, as well as adaptability. Additional symbolic meanings are:

  • Lightness of being, enjoyment of life
  • Being more present
  • Independence
  • Lifting up negativity
  • Bringing playfulness and joy in your life
  • Swiftness, ability to respond quickly
  • Resiliency, being able to travel great distances tirelessly
And further: 
When the hummingbird shows up in your life, it may be an invitation to flex your path, perhaps even bending backward or forward, in order to accommodate life’s circumstances. You may be required to adapt to a situation that is a bit more demanding than usual. The wisdom carried by this spirit animal emphasizes flexibility and lightness in your approach to the unexpected.
Hello, hummingbird. Okay! Thank you for giving me a "blinding glimpse of the obvious" and showing me how this boat has slowly but surely been turning itself around. This means hope. Hope is key to survival. Hope is the 'why.' Love is the 'how.'

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