Archives for: February 2006
Yesterday, I started on my usual Sunday hike… got out the door late… decided to do a quick hike. Got to the parking lot…jammed packed. Went to a new spot… unanticipated…. unplanned.
On a whim… headed up a side trail… wary it might be too slippery and dangerous. But something continued to pull me inward. I decided to trust the pull.
Came upon what is usually a dry arroyo for run-off during flashfloods… at most, a small barely noticeable trickle of a stream. What a surprise when it was a complete sheet of frozen ice arcing down the ravine. A cascading waterfall stilled by the touch of winter. A magnificent sculpture shaped by wind and cold… with the chorus of tinkling water flowing beneath.
Up the slushy path and deep into the heart of The Mother… dank, dark, absolute quiet. I notice the densely packed Doug fir towering above me and up the steep sides of this narrow side canyon… stifling sunlight. I stopped several times to witness the profound silence… not a sound but the rushing of blood through my head and the beating of my own heart. I stop just to relish the lack of sound. Not even a whisper of a wind… gently held in the arms of the ravine.
Nearing the top, the grade of the trail steepens sharply. An effort to get to the top. The sky bursts into view amidst the top of trees. With all the effort of pushing up the hill, as I near the top, I am quite suddenly birthed on top of the ridge…. a sharp inhale of breath as if it were my first. A few more steps along the ridge and the view of the entire canyon opens before me. I feel as if I am viewing my own heart.
From here, the presence of sky dominates. The cry of a hawk echoes through the space between, tree and rock and blue. Sound travels differently up here. I no longer feel my own heart beating but I see it everywhere in the pulsation of life around me.
I sit perched on a rock facing the canyon and then I see it… the most amazing tree shape. Having been knocked over and partially uprooted many years ago, this tree did not die but survived through the strong hold of a few determined roots. But having its natural direction of growth thwarted, this tree grew along the ground with branches reaching skyward like mini trees. And where it’s trunk was bent, twisted, and scarred from the fall were the most incredible patterns of shape and color and texture. It was amazing to behold… as if a bonsai master had deliberately bent, shaped, and scarred the tree for the beauty of it.
I paused for a moment and wondered if my own journey through life, my own inevitable falls and scars held such beauty.
Back down the slippery trail, I was able to slide through the slushy snow on the steeper sections of the trail, and still remain upright! I stopped by the frozen waterfall one last time to listen to the bright song of water flowing beneath. I thought how each journey… no matter how short… is a metaphor for moving through our lives. There are steep sections, slippery spots, obstacles, moments of pause and stillness, gifts of perspective and insight.
And the opportunity to see the beauty in all of it.
I have been suffering from lingering congestion for weeks now. This is very unusual for me. I knew I wasn’t sick… the trees were yet to begin pollinating… what could it be from? I was clueless. I decided to take a stab in the dark and eliminated cow’s milk from my diet. The congestion was gone in 24 hours. Yep… that’s right… gone. Completely. It was the first time in almost 2 months that my voice sounded normal.
Whooooa… hold on there cowboy… it was the… milk?? Nah… how could that be? I am a B secretor! Milk is beneficial for me! It is my trump card when the rest of the family has miso soup (I absolutely LOVE miso soup) and I make some extraordinary rich creamy something or other to quell the yen for the miso. But…there you have it. Try as I may, there was no denying the evidence. So I stayed away from cow’s milk for a few days, and then began testing to see if a more sporadic consumption would produce the same results. It did. The day after, I notice an increase in mucus production. Sometimes only a very slight increase, sometimes more than that, but almost always noticeable. Sigh. Then I remembered that when I was 6 months old and weaned from the breast, I had severe reactions to all formulas. My parents had to special order acidophilus milk from Chicago. Perhaps this cow’s milk sensitivity is something unique to me… even with being a secretor.
Time to stock up on the yogurt and kefir... and I'll work on coming up with something super-duper creamy rich-like with cultured dairy.
Yeah... let them their eat miso...
I must admit… I was a bit floored when my father mentioned recently that he was seeing an acupuncturist for pain treatment. And…. He was taking a slew of supplements that she recommended… some really good ones, too, like CoQ10, bromelain, quercetin… I couldn’t believe it! And my father was actually taking his supplements! Wow. A big step.
Like many families, my family is steeped in the allopathic medical tradition, plus my mother is a nurse. Anything alternative is viewed through a very skeptical lens. But, Dad is also a B and so I like to think a little more versed to trying something new and perhaps against the grain.
He began the acupuncture treatments to help cope with residual pain that he was told was due to a bout of shingles brought about from a round of chemotherapy a while back. After many months with no improvement, my father spoke with a woman who had great success with an acupuncturist for treatment of shingle pain. As he described the treatments to me, I had a sense that he was enjoying them. He had a few sessions and was feeling much improved.
However… that pain did return. My father finally convinced his doctor to “allow” him to have an MRI on his shoulder where he felt the most persistent pain and guess what? It was a torn rotator cuff that was causing him pain all these many months… not shingles as he had been led to believe. But even with the torn rotator cuff, the acupuncture (and supplements) did give him some relief from pain, where nothing else would.
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In reading my son’s middle school newsletter, I found out that one of the 7th grade students and her science project research involving the effects of Myxococcus Xanthus secretion on melanoma cells helped to win a grant for continued research. From a 7th grader!!! Then my son told me about a science project that an 8th grade student at his school did in regards to Echinacea and the effects on cancer progression. This boy’s family dog had cancer, and the dog began going to the family’s garden and eating their Echinacea flowers. Once the dog began this behavior, the progression of the cancer slowed considerably. This 8th grader formulated his science project around the effects of Echinacea slowing the growth of cancer. My son was very excited about this project as he has known that Echinacea has many healing properties.
Old dogs and young pups… they do give me a bright ray of hope….