spirits

I’m a nurse and I’ve been around a lot of illness, disease, death. But the day I learned my step mom had stage 4 pancreatic cancer I was taking a shower and it was raining outside. I was living in Asheville NC nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The sound of the water hitting the shower curtain sounded different. It was crisper, louder, almost palpable.

 

It’s raining in the spring season of Colorado snow and flowers. The smell of the rain reminded me of that day when I connected to the spirit of Ann and I knew she would stay with me and she wasn’t leaving as the pain of her situation screamed.

I knew I’d feel your presence and I always will.

 

Windows

I love them. I’ve had my favorites and I have a new one. These are so cool. They can open from the top by tilting in or wide open from the side or the handle locks firmly down in place. I’m in the basement studio with a sidewalk slant so one window eye level is on the ground, the next 2 feet higher, and my last window I can sit on the sill and watch the night sky full of stars or the snow as it falls or the brilliantly blue Colorado sky.

One 12 foot tall window in town often has a grey haired old man named Rocky sitting at his huge wooden round table cluttered with stacks of import looking art stuff. Reminds me of San Francisco and my step dad Bud only he would be using his sizzer’s as he loves clipping important stuff from papers.

Looking out or looking in ….it’s soothing to me.

I’ve found _____ as a direct result of being a nurse

Lately it’s camper kinds of stuff. Cute stories. Funny comments. Touching moments. By summers end I’ll have said something to at least 500+ campers. I’ll have encouraged some to ‘go play!’ and others to slow down and ‘take a nap’ in the infirmary for a little bit. I’ve heard the cutest comments about my little dog, Chica. She weighs about 8 lbs and thinks the chair behind my desk is actually her dog bed. ‘Is that real?’ ‘Is it yours?’ ‘How does it get food?’Is that a cat?’

Walking around the dining hall full of about 135 kids (plus 70 counselors) I saw a male counselor point to a tearful camper at the beginning of one encampment. I went over and bent down to see if there was anything wrong with the tiny 8 year old boy. He gracefully stood up and grabbed me around my neck as he cried into my shoulder. The dining hall noise faded away as this little boy’s homesick heart connected with the mother in me. He spoke little English but it was clear he missed his mom. After a short cry he went back to his seat and finished his meal. I didn’t need to see him anymore the entire encampment but continued to keep my eye on him from afar. Really sweet and touching to see us human beings grow up each in our own way … and camp is a good place to try life out.

peaceful look

I love statues. I love rocks. I’m really impressed with peaceful looking things that stand still. Stillness seems to invite peaceful feelings for me. I guess it’s cause when I’m still inside and my mind is in a still state of being I’m able to experience a type of connection that’s actually always there. In a way my bones are like a statue waiting to take a final form. Someday they’ll stop moving and will stand still.

I collect rocks. A lot of statues are made of some form of rock. Funny that one of the few regrets I have from time to time is that I didn’t collect more rocks from this place or another. That’s a pretty good regret to hold onto. Minor. Resolvable. I try not to regret much. Things I regret that aren’t associated with rocks I”m simply trying to understand better. Cause most of them are just thoughts and they tend to weigh more than any rock I’ve collected.

Straight ahead.

This is Mustang Island. Who wouldn’t want to go to a place with such a cool name?! I ended up there while I was doing a travel nurse assignment in San Antonio Texas a few years ago. I decided to take the max amount of time off between assignments which was 3 weeks. I’d come from Reno Nevada, down the California shoreline, and taking a left at LA with a final destination being whatever looked like a good spot on my Google Maps and somewhere ‘near’ San Antonio.  I tend to be the personality type that jumps into a fire first and then thinks ‘is this such a good idea?’. Mustang Island was a place where I ‘jumped’ as I needed to hang out for a week and was running out of money to do so. The camping on the beach was only $10 a night. Perfect!

So there I was … me, my 15 yr old dog Flow, my 6 month old kitten (a bad boy who misbehaved) Hammer, and my 8 year old cat Tenchi (means ‘Angel’ in Japanese and she is one of many angels who accompany me on a regular basis). The beach was beautiful. The next ‘camper’ maybe a mile down the beach. Pretty dunes way behind me. The place was nice as I could keep an eye on Hammer, Mr.’tuxedo’ kitty w black coat and white chest patch. Although he rarely came when I called him I discovered he wouldn’t go far from the truck as the gulls dive bombed him and the newness of the shore kept him close. Tenchi was another story. She was not pleased with this ongoing camping idea and would bury herself in the sleeping bag in the back of the truck but I was concerned as it was rather hot pretty quickly. I decided to splurge and invest in a ‘screened porch’ from the local Walmart for the cats to hang out in. The image on the cover matched what I wanted for my cats. A great idea! The porch was fabulous, initially. Fully equipped with their kitty litter box. Shade. Food and water bowls. Play toys for the wild kitten. Tenchi could feel safe and Hammer was content. Flow was just a good dog as she hung out nearby just watching yet another event unfold.  If I could hear her thoughts they must have been loving and possibly some ‘here we go again’ comments to boot. All was well until I woke in the night with the wind gusting and rain dropping at a horizontal rate. But it was the muffled ‘meow’s’ that got me fully awake. The screened porch had collapsed and my good idea flattened for this late nite gale. I gathered the cats and sopping wet mop of a dog (she was like a small golden mix) and we all ended up together in my sleeping bag made for 2 (humans) in the back of my truck w camper top. Wet and smelling like an animal shelter …. but safe and sound regardless.

I’ll go back someday. Don’t think I’ll take cats with me. I think I’ll have some money in the bank ‘just in case.’ Won’t do the ‘pop up screened in porch.’ However ….. I’ll keep the memory close and return with more wisdom under my belt.

Summer Camp Hidden Valley at Fresh Air

Fresh Air Funds summer camp for NYC kids. Many have never been away at camp while others return year after year….