What I learned when I almost died

Exactly one year ago today, to the hour, an axe hit me in the head. A brain aneurysm ruptured and flooded my head with blood. The extreme pain, dizziness and nausea cut a dividing line through my life – one second I was fine, the next I was on the verge of death. I can … read more What I learned when I almost died

The most lush spring ever

Self-centered creature that I am, I’ve been feeling as though this spring was designed and built JUST FOR ME. With a long winter of struggling through recovery from brain surgery, I felt shrunken and afraid. Then the flowers bloomed. And bloomed. And kept blooming. It has been a spring of tremendous abundance. I hoped to see one … read more The most lush spring ever

Being an idiot

Stupid. Idiot. Dumb-a**. Fool. Nitwit. Dope. Dipsh*t. Brainless.   You use those words much? I have. They’re insults we throw around all the time: while driving or shopping, in heated Facebook discussions, yelling at the TV. Maybe we even mutter those words at ourselves when we make a big mistake. In nearly seven months since my … read more Being an idiot

The patient iris

For all my love of nature, I’m a complete klutz when it comes to growing plants. They used to run away screaming at the very sight of me. The only house plant that survived my brown thumb was an indestructible ficus tree I had for years in Seattle. Flowers? Forget it. One day five years ago, … read more The patient iris

Pandas of the American forest

I just wanted to see one. My emotional state this afternoon needed a strong dose of nature, so I took a hike. And I was thinking about the showy orchid. I’d only seen one before, in all nine of my Appalachian springs. The orchid was an omen I longed for. Just one, to make me happy. I … read more Pandas of the American forest

A cold red cure

Imagine a treatment for pain that is easy, fast, simple, inexpensive, and has zero risks and zero side effects. Sound like science fiction? It already exists, and was approved 15 years ago by the FDA: low-level laser therapy. I’ve had two treatments, and those few minutes of laser did more to relieve my frozen shoulder pain than … read more A cold red cure

Inside and out

They ask how I am. I say that I’m OK. They compliment my haircut. I don’t show them the five-inch scar it hides. We talk for awhile, and they say it’s amazing how well I’ve recovered. Fooled ’em again. It’s been more than four months since the brain surgery, and most people can see no evidence … read more Inside and out

Advice from my 90-year-old self

I had a talk today with myself – in the year 2049. Or at least, the 90-year-old me was in 2049. I did this because I was feeling stuck and unsure of so many things, as though I’m in my 20s again (horrors!). But then I remembered how I recently gave my 23-year-old self some … read more Advice from my 90-year-old self

The new normal

Today is the first time I’ve been moving at a normal speed for the whole day. Although I didn’t exactly jump out of bed, I woke up around 7:30 a.m. and had a normal morning routine: a shower, coffee and breakfast, my art improv exercise, reading a magazine. A month ago, I couldn’t imagine normalcy … read more The new normal

At the speed of a cranefly

My day was saved by this leaf. Perfect day for a hike: sunshine and near 70 degrees. But I couldn’t bear the thought of hiking. Even after sleeping nearly 12 hours, I got worn out from just heating and eating lunch, taking a shower and distributing leftover cornbread to the birds. No energy left for … read more At the speed of a cranefly