email sent June 7, 2016

Subject: Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes…

… or, A Total Repaving Would Be Even Better

A mini-update… Not being able to sit or even stand comfortably for almost 3 weeks wasn’t very pleasant. I finally gave the wound a break and stayed on my stomach for a couple of days. How did my healing body reward me? I woke up one morning with, as Vicki described it, a grapefruit-sized swelling underneath my suture line. My Memorial Day weekend plans were immediately trumped. And so began the now familiar four sequential stages of confronting a new issue: identification of the problem, diagnosis, treatment, and addressing outcomes and consequences. Each presents its own special drama. It turned out to be a relatively benign seroma, which is an accumulation of the straw-colored serous component of the blood. Test results indicated that no special treatment was required. My body has already begun reabsorbing the fluid.

I’ve learned to take these matters in stride. Stressing out doesn’t help at all. I enter mental robot mode, working to sublimate the consideration of worst possible outcomes. After the event passes I wonder why I’m so tired, but then I remember that denial can sure be exhausting. I characterized the mini-crisis to Vicki as just another bump in the road, to which she replied, “I’d like to get off the washboard road. Either that or I need a new suspension.” Ain’t she sumthin’?

The highlight of the following days was the suture removal. It was so nice to sit again without tilting in my seat just enough to alleviate the pain, but not so much that anyone would notice.

Well, I did it again, I signed up for an adventure when I wasn’t feeling so hot. My breathing has been compromised more than usual. The list of suspects includes the drug isn’t working, the drug is working, lots of smoke in the air and a lot of pollen, too. Or, a combination of as many as three of the four. I got tired of second-guessing and took the plunge. I signed up for a photography workshop next month in Santa Fe with Keith Carter, a world-renowned photographer and educator. This course was highly recommended to me quite a while ago by another topnotch photographer/teacher. Perhaps, just perhaps, it was because, as the course description states, “wiseasses, burnouts, and hotdogs are welcome.” I bought trip insurance just in case, and also as a way to ensure that I won’t need it.

Keith Carter suggested reading the poetry of Mary Oliver, so I did…

“Instructions for living a life.

Pay attention.

Be astonished.

Tell about it.”

Here’s a quotation that I’ve referred to quite a few times over the years. A great friend recently mentioned how useful it had been to her. “The best way to change someone is to look at them differently.” I don’t often check my archives, but I looked back on my list of quotes related to change and I guess I misquoted it…

“One way to change people is to see them differently.” Barry Stevens (I prefer my version. No surprise there, right?)

Some others on that topic, …

“People don’t resist change. They resist being changed.” Anon.

“If you want to truly understand something, try to change it.” Kurt Lewin

“Nothing endures but change.” Heraclitus

This is marginally related at best, but it’s one of my all-time favorites…

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” John Wooden

Before finishing, I must pay homage to “The Greatest.”

“Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” Muhammad Ali

With love, gratitude, and astonished by seeing an asteroid with my eyes closed*,


* It’s true, I was in my healing room with my eyes closed last week around 4 AM when I saw this amazing flash of light. I got up to look at the southern sky and it was gone. It was so bright that it “blinded all-sky meteor cameras as far away as western New Mexico.”

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