Constance Ore is a retired Teacher, Choir Director, and Organist. And a formidable cook.

September 30, 2008

Filed under: — Constance at 3:42 pm on Tuesday, September 30, 2008

“You are living in a state of grace” declares a good friend and so it is. These beautiful days continue as we watch the season of life and growth close down and prepare for the winter’s rest. In the last weeks, Monarch butterflies were flitting about gathering minute bits of sustenance before embarking on their long flights southward, and two mornings ago, we awakened to the sound of the wind increasing and coming from the north. When Alphie and I walked just before the sun came up, the clouds above were being pushed southward at a tremendous rate and I wished the Monarchs godspeed because I knew that they had already mounted the wind to commence their journey. We haven’t seen one anywhere in Sanctuary since.

Across the weekend, we gathered with friends and family to enjoy good food and conversation in a picnic setting near the house where Charles had placed pots of flowers and tables and chairs. As I looked at the animated faces around me, and listened to the laughter and stories that ebbed and flowed, I was keenly aware of a unique earth time which will never occur again in just such a way. This heightened perception of life has been a good outcome of having the dread illness called cancer; at first one can hardly walk forward at all, but as the days pass, times come that have joy and energy in them, and it is hard to describe how fine that is. (I also know that there are many others who suffer from the disease who have not had this respite but who remain brave and hopeful nevertheless.) Before entering the cancer community, there were many wonderful events in my life, and much happiness and delight, but I did not note them in the same way. In this aspect of my journey, I have become more, not less, and yes, I am surely living in a state of grace.

September 23, 2008

Filed under: — Constance at 2:35 pm on Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Knowing that the molecules of air that float about in our universe are finite, today it causes one to think about what is carried into the lungs with each breath. This very air was above Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas just hours ago, and now here it is, carrying the remnants of other thoughts and considerations that were on the minds of inhabitants of those places. I dreamed of jungles and dark green leafy places that are not a part of my life experiences here at Sanctuary where all is turning brown and gold, so I would suppose that the strong winds from the south could be the source.

The phlebotomists at our local clinic spend their days drawing little vials of blood for purposes of tracking and reading a good number of health conditions. I have been through the door of the little room where this is done countless times, and each time the same question is asked of me. . . date of birth? Even though we all know each other very well by now, I have wondered what would happen if I altered the digits I recite automatically, or if I had a senior moment and simply forgot those numbers. I asked about it, and all I got in response was a smile. To date, the process remains too serious to try out anything other than what is asked of me. For some time now the results of the blood readings have meant that someone will call me to make sure that I am aware of the implications of the findings. At the beginning of the disease, when we looked at these very low white blood cell numbers, we were undone, but in this season of life we just proceed in the new “normal”. I wear leather gloves now, and I move quickly away from clusters of people, particularly if I hear coughing. In spite of the turmoil of economics, energy, wars, political posturing, and all other things one could choose to fret about, September has been beautiful and fine, and each day continues to be a lovely gift. Thanks be to God.

September 16, 2008

Filed under: — Constance at 9:31 pm on Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Nebraska delivered a perfect autumn day for us, so we lived within it with gusto. I am naming some of the landmark trees in Sanctuary – the weeping willows by the bridge are the “Two Wandas”, the old creek willow with its shape reminiscent of those in Victorian paintings has been named “Victoria” (what else?) and so forth. This personalization of the flora is perhaps another step away from the life of logic and reality; when I begin to report conversations with these trees, and I hear them speaking back to me, then I am sure someone will come forward with an intervention.

This present phase of my life with cancer is a bit odd. I look good, and I feel quite well with nice energy, but the blood still reports “no immunities”. Life without interaction with other people would be a lesser one, so contrary to the doctor’s recommendations, I continue going forth into public places, visiting with others and hugging granddaughters as often as possible. There is a heightened awareness of the possibilities of illnesses that seem to multiply with school beginnings and summer’s end, and both Charles and I do a lot of hand washing while avoiding places of tightly packed humanity. So far, so good.

September 9, 2008

Filed under: — Constance at 4:02 pm on Tuesday, September 9, 2008

“Same song, second verse. Should get better, but it’s gonna get worse.” As I read the CBC results yesterday afternoon, these words in a raucous singing voice came into my head after remaining dormant since high school bussing days. I have had a splendid week of happy living and feeling well, so I hoped that the state of the blood would be better than it was 2 1/2 weeks ago. It wasn’t. Instead, the reading revealed a little loss in the red blood cell count while the white cells and platelets stayed nearly the same.

The trees, grasses, and wild flowers of Sanctuary are very beautiful now. The flowers are predominantly white, yellow, rich gold, or dark pink and lavender, and the grasses have lovely cream colored heads. The trees add more yellow leaves each day as the sunlight recedes, and some of the wild plums are filled with fruit in colors ranging from a soft pink to a dark purple. When Alphie and I walked at dawn today, the plumes of grass in the pasture held myriad droplets of moisture which shimmered in the early morning sunlight. I try to memorize these sights because they are always singular and worth remembering. Only the blue jays were calling to each other at that time – the nighttime temperature has dropped to 39 degrees which is quite low for early September, so it is possible that many more bird species have determined to get to their winter homes sooner rather than later.

We have a chandelier in our living room that has a large glass bowl in the middle which can be filled with cut or seasonal flowers. Charles filled it with pink sedum and a wild flower called “snow-on-the-mountain” which is white and green with tiny white flowers that form very small green, furry seed pods at their bases. What we have found out since is that at a certain moment of ripeness, the little seed pods literally explode, popping out the ripened seed and causing it to fly a goodly distance from the plant. Last night we heard the little pops, and had the sensation of getting struck by tiny spit balls as seeds began to randomly fly about the room. At first, we had no clue about what was going on, but after a bit, Charles identified the source. This activity is still going on as I write, and I have been struck a number of times. When one looks closely at the floor, there are quite a few seeds generously sprinkled about, and Charles has announced that the flowers will have to go outside. I say the whole method is ingenious and explains why this wild flower shows up in different spots all over the yard and pasture each year but I have to agree that having a well-seeded living room is not the level of sophisticated living for which one would like to be recognized.

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