Not a whole lot else is important when you find out you don’t have cancer. Then after awhile, everything is even more significant than it was before.
Even in this heat, there is gorgeousness around me, and I try to remember to appreciate it every day. I know I’m teaching this by example: this morning my four-year-old said, “Look at the spider living in our house and doing its work! This is a magical moment!”
It’s hard to remember gratitude in the course of this heat wave, which makes me as still as a lizard. There are oscillating fans all over the house, watching their invisible tennis match. I sit as motionless as possible, one leg thrown over the arm of the chair. We’re running the swamp coolers, which lower the temperature by four- or five degrees, with the price paid in increased humidity. The intense sunshine is meaning great yield for our homegrown vegetables, but I wish our cool California nights would return.
Several months ago, we relinquished our car and many of our inessential luxuries, which marginalized us far more than I thought it would. It took us out of the game, but took us back to the garden. Riding our bikes everywhere as a family makes me feel like we’re a pack of grubby kids, off to buy candy for our tree-fort. I think we all feel more connected to the environment in a house with little climate control, and I know growing our own food has done that, too.
Our community elevates us and supports my family. A loving friend drove me to my recent surgery, and then tended to my children. I know if the prognosis had been worse, I could have counted on any number of people for the needs that would have come.
When I was worried about a malignancy, I felt further marginalized. I shrugged my shoulders and dyed my hair pink.
I painted the rooms of my house vibrant colors from the “miss-tint” shelf at the hardware store.
I started making candy-striped hula hoops.
I thought I wouldn’t be here much longer, which inspired this sort of frenzied creativity. Finding out I was going to be okay made everything stop. Things were going to unfold differently than I expected, and I could put down my paintbrush and just enjoy living in the beauty and color around me, versus racing a premature end to it. There’s nothing that can’t be bedecked with flowers.