Good Books

I have multiple myeloma, a cancer that affects the plasma cells in my blood. The initial diagnosis occurred in December of 2007. So, it’s been four years and seven months. My first doctor gave me five years to live; the second opinion I received generously offered six years. In retrospect, both those prognoses seem pessimistic. … More Good Books

Stormy Weather

Last fall, snow came early to the valley, and then stopped. The foreshadowing of a long, gloomy winter evaporated with a succession of sunny December days. The New Year heralded more of the same. In front of the Post Office, snapdragons I’d planted last March stood tall. Customers marveled at blooms so late in the … More Stormy Weather

First Connection

Recently, at twilight, a deer appeared in my driveway. Silent as the emerging darkness, she stepped carefully onto the gravel. Behind her, a creamy froth of clouds smeared the horizon; crickets chirruped in celebration of the declining day. I watched as the doe slipped into the tall field grasses. After several minutes, I walked out … More First Connection

Choices

In January, I met with Dr. M. Once again, my cancer showed signs of awakening. I feel good. I am not overtly symptomatic. Nevertheless, the myeloma stretched and yawned. After a nearly 2 1/2-year nap, my drug-free remission was about to end. Since last October, we’ve discussed a course of action. I digested statistics from clinical trial … More Choices

The Cat Came Back

Recently, the cat who keeps me company at the Post Office, Curly, disappeared. She adopted our office as her home seven years ago. She spends her day sleeping in a chair atop a red, white, and blue blanket knitted for her by one of our customers. At night and when the office is closed, we … More The Cat Came Back

Trees

Trees “Keep a green tree in your heart and a singing bird will come.” Chinese Proverb In November, the deciduous trees on our property cover the lawn with a radiant multi-colored blanket of leaves. Each fall, I spend several hours raking them into piles. Then, I haul them to my flowerbeds where they act as … More Trees

Everyday

Everyday, I think about having cancer and everyday I forget that I have cancer. Reminders of my illness abound. It does not take much to make me hesitate and ponder the calculus of my future. For example, because we live in a remote area, I often shop on the web. Just last week, I procrastinated … More Everyday

Climbing Mountains

My wife and I spent last week hiking in Washington State. First, we visited Mt. Saint Helens National Monument. We hiked at Independence Pass and climbed Windy Ridge. Our trail followed an exposed slope several miles north of the crater. The devastation caused by the volcano’s eruption 30 years ago dominates the environment. Pumice lay like … More Climbing Mountains

It’s Complicated

My iris blooms arrived in May and departed in June. Most of the lavender flowers shriveled unattractively on their stalks and I cut them off. Yesterday, I dug a colony of these bulbs from my perennial beds. I shook off the dirt, storing them in a paper bag. I’ve four more clumps to remove, energy willing. … More It’s Complicated

Owls

A family of Great Horned Owls nest near our property. In years past, their deep whoing call resonated through the forest after dark. This season, for the first time, the owls make regular appearances in the trees around my gardens. The winter was mild. Spring came early and lingers. Persistent rain drenched Oregon in May. … More Owls