brain cancer

Richard and me--in shadows--at Carpenter Ranch on The Big Trip, our last trip together

Back in May, I started on one last revision of my new memoir, Bless the Birds, after receiving comments from editors at good publishing houses that they loved the story, but... But it was just too personal, but it was just too intense, but it just wasn't quite right for them. 

It's Memorial Day, which reminds me especially to appreciate the two veterans in my life, one being the smiling 18-year-old in the photo above, Richard Cabe, fresh out of Coast Guard boot camp in 1968 during the war in Viet Nam. Like so many young men then, he didn't have much of a choice about his service. 

Welcome to my every-so-often mid-week posts highlighting books on my reading stack. Some are books I've sought out, some come to me for review, and others are gifts.

The first one straddles the zone between science writing, nature journal, and memoir. That reach makes for a fascinating read.

Richard Cabe, 1950-2011, with one of his beloved "ambassadors of the earth." Richard Cabe, 1950-2011, with one of his beloved "ambassadors of the earth."
Richard and me (and our Great Dane, Isis) by the Arkansas River in earlier years. Richard and me (and our Great Dane, Isis) by the Arkansas River in 2003.

Last spring, I finished the initial draft of Bless the Birds, the memoir I've been working on about Richard's and my journey with his brain cancer. A journey I hope will show us all how to live with love even in--especially in--the most difficult times.

Richard 'n Susan Richard 'n Susan

For almost 29 years, I was half of two, the Susan in "Richard-'n-Susan." We fell in love at first sight at the birthday dinner of a mutual friend, after which my housemates invited him over to grill him (they didn't trust my instincts).

Richard on the Big Sur Coast, California Richard on the Big Sur Coast, California

You're working too much.

I was headed home after spending the morning in a contentious three-hour planning meeting for a local land management agency.

Eye-popping dawn colors this morning. Eye-popping dawn colors this morning.

It's my birthday!

Richard and Susan in the Tularosa Basin of Southern New Mexico, around 1992. Richard and Susan (I'm standing on a boulder in a rare moment of tallness) in the Tularosa Basin of Southern New Mexico, around 1992.

“What’s with all the birds?”

Richard and Susan in the Tularosa Basin of Southern New Mexico, around 1992. Richard and Susan in the Tularosa Basin of Southern New Mexico, around 1992.
My house, shot by Terraphilia Resident Robin MacDonald-Foley. Thanks, Robin! The house and attached guest cottage--photo by Terraphilia Resident Robin MacDonald-Foley.
Pouring the slab, the floor of my tiny-house-to-be this morning. Pouring the slab, the floor of my tiny-house-to-be. (The blue walls in front are the foundation.)

To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and then the time comes to let it go
to let it go.
--Mary Oliver, from "In Blackwater Woods"

The view out the kitchen window, looking over the roofs of downtown to the Sangre de Cristo Range in the distance.
Luminarias line the walks, colored lights shine from the front porch, and Salida's "Christmas Mountain," a 700-foot-tall outline of a tree with ornaments on a hill across the river, glows in the left background.
Molly Cabe and Carol Ley, harpist for Angel of Shavano Hospice, play a duet in our living room, November, 2011
Richard on the Big Sur Coast, California