Current Affairs

In the final Saturday panel at the Geography of Hope conference last weekend in Point Reyes Station, California, one speaker said something to the effect that "hope" was worthless in the face of the catastrophe of global climate change. That we couldn't sit around and simply hope things would get better, we needed to act in bold ways, to make radical changes, and we needed to act now. I agree that we need to act in bold ways and now.

Calliope hummingbird perched in my own "hometown habitat." Calliope hummingbird perched in my own "hometown habitat."

Last week, when 24-year-old Rachel Fredrickson walked on stage as the winner of season 15 of "The Biggest Loser," many viewers gasped. Fredrickson started the show at 260 pounds; she ended up 105, losing 155 pounds, more than half her body weight. She looked anorexic.

O, the rose 'er blooming.... A rose for remembrance....
Family photos and special objects in an everyday altar-grouping in my bedroom.

Richard and I just rolled in from our latest trip over the mountains from Denver, and as the designated driver until Richard recovers, I have to say I don't even want to see the car for a few days, much less spend any more time in the driver's seat. The six-hour-round-trip commute, plus dealing with city traffic, wring me out. It's good to be home where I can walk everywhere, saving my own energy and the planet's fossil fuel.

I'm exhausted tonight, so instead of the post I imagined writing on the nuclear power plant crises in Japan, here's an update on what's happening on our journey with Richard's brain cancer.

As my husband Richard and I have walked this wild journey with his brain cancer over the past year and some, I've learned a lot about brains and how they work, beginning when the lead neurology resident showed us his first brain MRI and patiently explained what the multiple views indicated. Then came the diagrams drawn by the neurosurgeons before his most recent and extensive brain surgery, showing what's where, what each part does, and exactly what they planned to cut out and what they hoped to avoid.

Last night I went to sleep thinking of yesterday's tragedy in Tucson, and this morning woke with a haiku in my head. As some of you know, I have a daily haiku practice: I post a haiku and photo every morning on Facebook and just the haiku on Twitter (search: susanjtweit).

It's Blog Action Day today, and the topic is clean water. In honor of the thousands of bloggers uniting to remind the world that water, especially the clean stuff we need for our survival, is a limited and precious quantity, here's "Throwing Out the Dishwater," an essay I wrote on restoring an intimate connection to the water cycle.

Earth Day is forty today, and the news is full of tips on green living and environmental reporting. I had actually forgotten it was Earth Day--brain cancer treatment and
writing had my attention--until I glanced at the wireless monitor for
our solar power system. (I check the output every day to see how much
electricity we're generating. It's as absorbing as any television show
to this green gear-head.)

The other day we drove home over the mountains from Denver, knowing from the weather forecast and road report that we were headed into high-wind conditions going across South Park, the shallow bowl of mountain grassland that lies at around 9,500 feet elevation (give or take a few hundred feet) between our valley and the Great Plains. (Yes, the very South Park that inspired the television show.)

We're home, which is a good thing when you're trying to absorb more life lessons than anyone can really assimilate over what seems like eternity but has really only been a bit over six weeks. Last Friday, Richard was in the operating room and then the ICU, today he's in our living room. (That's my beloved Frankenstein below--Doesn't he look like a thoughtful and elegant version of Mary Shelley's monster?) The journey home over three mountain passes, all over 10,000 feet in elevation was hard on his head and his energy.