Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Do I dare disturb the universe?

"Do I dare
Disturb the universe?

In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse."

T.S. Eliot The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Every time I am on the water, I think this same thought: with every touch of the tip of my paddle, I am disturbing an entire universe. From fishes to turtles to plant life to the tiniest micro-organism, just the simple, slightest movement of my paddle stirs it all.

At first, I never want this evening to end.

Finally back in my kayak. I threw caution to the wind this evening and headed out to the water. How I've missed my time on the water, paddle in hand, the steady rocking hip-to-hip row, row, row in perfect rhythm, nothing out there but me and several hundred species of animal.

I am rowing like this, poised and peaceful, simultaneously calling to a Bard owl somewhere in a forested distance and chasing a Blue Heron when I receive the phone call.

I had my second CAT scan Monday, the follow-up appointment with the doctor today.

In the office, the radiologist hadn't yet given the reading to my doctor. She promised a call, reassuring that, more than likely, the abscess in my pelvis had receded.

"It is very unlikely that it's grown," she said.

Schools of tiny water insects skim across the lake in zig-zag formation as I answer the call.

"Remember how I said it was very unlikely that the abscess has grown?" she says from the other end of the line.

"Well, true to form, you're the one case to go against the odds."

A painted turtle paddles under the surface, his thick, clawed feet moving like slow rudders. My heart sinks.

"The report says the abscessed area has grown since the last scan, now over four centimeters," she continues.

I sit with the setting sun for a long time tonight. It was an amazing sunset - like orange sherbet scooped from God's own hand. I cried on the water. I felt and feel all these emotions: regret, fear, anger, sadness, helplessness.

There's nothing I can do.

Then, I hear the owl again, calling to me from the same forested distance - only now it's closer. I'm reminded, from nature, of just who I am, and more importantly, that it's not up to me. Again, I need this message.

The owl calls, "who cooks for you, who cooks for you.." in the infamous monkey-like call of the Bard owl. He asks me a good question.

I am floating in this water. And though I can paddle, steer, stay afloat, I am not in control. It's not up to me. The boat holds me, its buoyancy sturdy and strong. I let my weight rest in it, and let go.


  1. Damn, Shannon, that's deep. Your writing is inspiring with your insight. Hang in there!

  2. This is stunning. The letting go thing? So hard. So good.

  3. wow. tight post. you craft such a tale...i like the tie...and what can you do other than give them up daily? congrats on the POTD mention.

  4. Brian - not sure what you're referring to. Did my blog make something of itself?

  5. Wow, that's deep and makes one thing things through again. Thanks for posting.


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