Where The Wild Things Are

“All the soarings of my mind begin in my blood.”

Rainier Maria Rilke

Sometimes, wild things can be found in grocery bags.
Sometimes, Wild Things can be found in grocery bags.

The seasons fold into one another like origami. Several days of hard frost caused my tomatoes to droop with dismay. As if on cue, east winds set the maples ablaze with fall color. Then a front of marine air, spring-like, collided with the desert breezes and snow dusted the valley.

and the other wildlife go about our autumn rituals. Squirrels scamper along the fringe of the forest. Their cheeks bulge with food for winter. I pull cartloads of dead plants from my gardens while grosbeaks mob the elderberry. Other small birds twitter as they feast on the gone to seed flowers. I drain and roll my irrigation hoses; then I board up the crawl space beneath the house.

Wild thing, I think I love you.
Wild Thing, I think I love you.

Toiling in one of my garden plots, I unearth remnants of my boys’ imaginative childhood. Toy soldiers and metal cars routinely appear when I work this piece of ground. Years ago, I’d dug a hole and filled the area with pavers’ sand, atop which I built a small shelter. A ladder led to an eight-foot high platform. It was topped with a sheet metal roof that clattered in the Oregon rain. A thick-knotted rope hung from the roof beam and descended through a hole in the floor to the sandbox below. Here, my sons played until adventures on their bikes led them far from their home and innocence.

Wild Things in a truck
Wild Things in a truck

Against this backdrop of domestic familiarity and memories, I ponder on the finiteness of life. Everyone with cancer peers into the unknown of mortality, much like a child looks frighteningly into the world of adults. The territory of my contemplation is as magical as any child’s daydream. It’s scary… and thrilling. There are monsters with horns and big teeth. They howl and bark. A terminal illness steals from us the comfortable blanket of adulthood. We can no longer stroke its silky border of oblivion for security. Suddenly, we are awkward and self conscious as adolescents; our hair falls out, our GI tract turns somersaults, or worse, freezes solid. Our body is not to be trusted. We sulk and just want to be alone.

A Wild Thing lives next door.
A Wild Thing lives next door.

Perhaps now is the time to consider the mischief we’ve made along the way. Probably, it’s not as bad as we thought or others made us feel. Magic awaits; the world remains ours to behold. Cancer cannot foreclose on my astonishment at the mystery of life. For me, the wonder of being also glows in the terrible murky haunts of our perishability. At times, I am afraid; yet I am nourished, encouraged even, by my fear. And, in the face of it, I’ll continue to plan for the future.

My brain percolates with ideas for next spring’s gardens. I envision more of one color here or there, maybe even a pond for the birds. It’s nothing dramatic, just a few improvements to satisfy my imagination’s appetite. The sandbox now belongs to me. I want to play there and, as for the monsters, well, they can join me. Together, we’ll raise a rumpus.

10 thoughts on “Where The Wild Things Are

  1. John

    You MUST write a book – if you haven’t done so already. Your words are so poetic, so vivid, so full of imagery. It is quite a peaceful, enjoyable experience reading your blog.

    I hope your health is good right now. After a brief 7 month CR, I’m going back on treatment. Back to where the wild things are?

    Be well.



  2. Beautiful stuff here John. Your posts always make me wanna sell my house and move to the country.(‘cept, I’m afraid I just might run into some of those wild things on my daily constitutionals) :o) I feel my blood pressure get lower just reading your words.


  3. I miss having a Wild Thing in my life, but do so appreciate getting to see yours… and enjoy your posts for the vibrant word pictures you paint along with the great photos!


  4. I discovered your blog by you discovering mine. Thank you for visiting. I love the discovery of a blog that trails off the beaten path of the territories I normally follow (food blogs).

    The first item that hit me was your location, one of my dearest nieces resides in the Portland area. I noticed a cat in a paper bag too, and that was light bulb number two (our family enjoys the company of three rescues, we also have a Lab). Cancer was the third light that lit my way into your world. Truly a heartwrenching item to be faced with, yet I must say the manner in which you talk about it is most amazing. It really does awaken us to the moment; captures our attention and rearranges all of our priorities. You poetically write about it’s challenges in an amazingly gracious manner.

    Thank you again for your visit. I feel blessed to have ‘found’ your blog.
    I have been blessed. Peace, to you and yours.


  5. Absolutely stunning. No wonder this was chosen to be included in the anthology. May your words give others the courage to raise a rumpus with the monsters.


  6. What a set of words, “The seasons fold into one another like origami.” and then it simply got better… It is amazing to see the written word describing the “confusion/bafflement of the body betraying the soul” I guess is how I feel it, and yet have it strengthen us as well.

    A perfect inclusion into the anthology. Wish you well and enjoy this amazing spring…and what is going to be a great year 🙂


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