Organized Chaos

A collage of the experience.

While away, I worried about my cat. Would his neurotic personality unravel during our 37 day absence? Five families took turns feeding him. The grandkids brushed his shaggy coat. He made new friends. It took a village, but he thrived.

I fretted, too, about the yard birds. Who would feed them? Not to worry. They managed just fine without me. Sky blue scrub jays brighten the shrubs. It’s too soon for robins, but a varied thrush enjoys the bounty of suet. Timid towhees persist amongst greedy starlings. A red headed woodpecker and spouse wait for a quiet moment. They join a throng of small brown birds. There are sparrows, chickadees, juncos, brown creepers, nuthatches, and a brawny western flicker or two.

We are home. There were bumps in the road. We survived the discomfort. Chemo causes temporary bodily amnesia. Taste buds forget their role. Appetite wanders, lost in its private dementia. My GI tract floods or freezes. I endure weeks of tattered indifference.

Slowly, the veil lifts. Persistent nausea continues to degrade my QOL. Patience. Time should resolve that problem. I’ve been humbled while gifted an opportunity to thrive. I await the 90 day evaluation. My response to treatment should be evident soon. Durability remains the big question mark. Cancer patients live with uncertainty. I accept that.


While in Portland, we walked the streets of the Pearl District. I took pictures. There’s whimsy. There’s appreciation. There’s shape, color, and the clutter of the city. I searched for the arcane beauty of its organized chaos.

I am betterish. I want to garden. I want to write. I want to play music.

Here’s a new song: Underwood Mountain.

23 thoughts on “Organized Chaos

  1. So glad that you had a joyful reunion with your cat and birds. I appreciate your thoughtful song and words. You are a poet and writer. I am happy that you are feeling renewal. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Wish we could help hurry the recovery, dear friend, but sounds like you’re heading in the right direction.
    Kevin and I are rooting for you. Keep on keeping on!


  3. Your cat and ‘yard’ birds are all happy you are home! I always leave way too many notes for our neighbor girl/cat sitter…asking for pictures and details about Emmy cat’s day! I love our little black kitty!
    Also, I loved the song. As a cowgirl from Amarillo, I appreciate the fact your cowgirl drank whiskey from a boot. Proper form for a cowgirl! Sending healing vibes for your continued recovery.


  4. The poetry of your words ring true, John. It is great how one of your first thoughts were of your cat and home life ~ it shows you have built and live in a little oasis 🙂 Wish you well on your continued path of recovery and contemplation. You write something that is so important to ponder every now and then: “I’ve been humbled while gifted an opportunity to thrive.” Amen to that my friend… and to music too, the best medicine for the soul. 🎶


  5. Long ago, in a galaxy far far away, I met a guy who “gardened” a golf course, had good writing skills and played music. Mostly on the stereo at that point in your life. I am glad your skills in those areas have evolved and you continue to share them with us. Strength to you, friend.


  6. As usual so thought provoking and revealing. Waiting patiently to hear the results and glad you made it through the worst of it. Hope to see you and Mare soon!!


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