Weaving Change

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Morning. Again. I woke up this morning around 4am to record a dream.  In it I had returned to my apartment in a huge, old building only to discover that, “I don’t…..”.

“–live here anymore,” my dream companion finished for me.

Not scary, not dramatic.  But I realized in the dream he had been kindly accompanying me all night, already knowing that I was returning to a place I didn’t live anymore.

What I remember is his warmth, his lack of surprise or judgment and his willingness to let me show him what was so important to me — where I thought I lived.

No, I don’t know what it means.  And coming before the prospect of a major surgery, I refuse to let it spook me.  But it has reinforced for me that things are always changing.  The best laid plans of mice and men….

Where do I live?  — Where things are always changing. Right now that is most clearly illustrated in my health.  In fact, it feels at times that my health journey is driving the entire show.

Regarding the metastasis of her breast cancer, a friend said,  “One day I’m at work and the next day I’m in the hospital and they are pumping fluid off my lungs.”

My cancer has not returned or awakened, yet.  But the consequences of the initial disease and chemo are coming home.  One day I’m weaving away on my first 3-day weekend, and the same night I’m in the ER and the next day the word “surgery” is on everyone’s lips.  Major surgery.  Weeks of recovery.

If I have not learned the Buddhist lesson of change, life is passing, that even our emotions are just clouds before the moon, I am being given another opportunity to absorb it.

The instinct to anticipate as a way to prepare is so deep.  And yet, anticipation takes me out of the moments in which I am not post-surgery, not in pain, still able to cook and clean and weave and even work.  What to do?  I wish I knew.

Today, I will pick more things up off the floor, so that when I am hobbling around here clutching my poor, beleaguered abdomen, I will be safer. I will check the finances and pray for just enough to get by. I will stock up on cat supplies, vacuum the rugs and file the mountain of papers on the dining room table so I don’t feel so overwhelmed when I return from the hospital. So clearly, I am practicing anticipation.

But at the same time, I am planning my next weaving project — in a smaller format (2″ by 2″) on my little, hand-held looms.  It’s not the format I had envisioned, but it still involves making choices about colors, shapes, size, types of fiber and design.   I am still finding joy in the process of learning how to translate feelings and ideas into tapestry.

In the ER last week, I could look out my room door and across the bank of computers in the center to the wall and rooms opposite me.  On the wall hung what I guess was a painting.  (I don’t wear glasses when I feel bad;  I prefer a slightly out-of-focus world.)  I could not see any detail, but it was an abstract painting, darker on the top third and lighter below.  As the Fentanyl and nausea meds kicked in I began to weave it in my mind to make it more interesting.  I put in some sequences of complementary colors of similar value in the large light section and tried some shapes in the darker section.

A good friend who was with me in the room was dozing slightly while holding my hand. I leaned over the bedrail and explained, “I’m weaving.”

She looked at me quizzically and patted my hand.  “Whatever,” the pat said.

Life goes on, said Kurt Vonnegut.  Life as Weaving goes on, I say.