white flowers of the night

mykolapymonenko-ukrainian-night-1905
“Ukrainian Night” by Mykola Pymonenko

But here there was not a sound, and the air was scented with the white flowers of the night. It was a night so beautiful that your soul seemed hardly able to bear the prison of the body.
~ W. Somerset Maugham
(The Moon & Sixpence)

Night, the beloved. Night, when words fade and things come alive. When the destructive analysis of day is done, and all that is truly important becomes whole and sound again. When man reassembles his fragmentary self and grows with the calm of a tree.
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
(Flight to Arras)

poetry, physics, possibility

“Stéphane Mallarmé’s Poetry (Listening To Flowers)” by Fernand Khnopff

Poetry, physics — same thing!
~ The Doctor
(Doctor Who, Series 10 Episode 1)

~

I dwell in Possibility —
A fairer House than prose —
More numerous of Windows —
Superior — for Doors —

Of Chambers as the Cedars —
Impregnable of eye —
And for an everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky —

Of Visitors — the fairest —
For Occupation — This —
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise —

~ Emily Dickinson
(The Poems of Emily Dickinson, #466)

~

great public grounds

“Portrait of Frederick Law Olmsted” by John Singer Sargent

The enjoyment of the choicest natural scenes in the country and the means of recreation connected with them is thus a monopoly, in a very peculiar manner, of a very few, very rich people. The great mass of society, including those to whom it would be of the greatest benefit, is excluded from it. In the nature of the case private parks can never be used by the mass of the people in any country nor by any considerable number even of the rich, except by the favor of a few, and in dependence on them.

Thus without means are taken by government to withhold them from the grasp of individuals, all places favorable in scenery to the recreation of the mind and body will be closed against the great body of the people. For the same reason that the water of rivers should be guarded against private appropriation and the use of it for the purpose of navigation and otherwise protected against obstruction, portions of natural scenery may therefore properly be guarded and cared for by government. To simply reserve them from monopoly by individuals, however, it will be obvious, is not all that is necessary. It is necessary that they should be laid open to the use of the body of the people.

The establishment by government of great public grounds for the free enjoyment of the people under certain circumstances, is thus justified and enforced as a political duty.

~ Frederick Law Olmsted
(America’s National Park System: The Critical Documents)

chickadee, titmouse, junco

Up and away for life! be fleet!-
The frost-king ties my fumbling feet,
Sings in my ears, my hands are stones,
Curdles the blood to the marble bones,
Tugs at the heart-strings, numbs the sense,
And hems in life with narrowing fence.
Well, in this broad bed lie and sleep,-
The punctual stars will vigil keep,-
Embalmed by purifying cold;
The winds shall sing their dead-march old,
The snow is no ignoble shroud,
The moon thy mourner, and the cloud.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
(The Titmouse)

shingles

It started as a toothache. Several days later canker sores started popping up in his mouth. Then a strange sensation in the skin on his left cheek. And finally a lesion. But even then the doctors weren’t sure. Saturday (November 7) they put him on an antibiotic for cellulitis. But more lesions broke out over the weekend, spreading to the upper lip, all across his cheeks, up to his eye, over to his ear, along part of his nose. The pain was excruciating. On Monday the doctors diagnosed shingles and put him on an antiviral and a narcotic pain reliever.

It kept getting worse. We were worried about his eye so the doctor sent us to an eye doctor on Tuesday. The eye was okay. Pretty sure Wednesday was the worst day, at least to look at him. Then Wednesday afternoon the virus attack seemed to turn a corner – it stopped getting worse. The antiviral and antibiotic seemed to be gaining the upper hand. He suggested I put his picture on my blog. Seriously? Yes. But I cannot bring myself to do it.

11.10.15 ~ Chapel Hill, North Carolina
11.10.15 ~ Katie likes to peek behind the shower curtain every morning. Her pediatrician says it’s all right for her to come visit Grandpa for Thanksgiving, as long as she doesn’t touch the lesions.

How about a picture of Katie instead?

(I had no problem grossing out our kids, though, sending them daily mug shots of their long-suffering father…)

Since Wednesday the swelling has been going down very slowly. Yesterday he stopped taking the narcotic and seems to be managing the lingering pain with ibuprofen and aspirin. But he still has horrible crusted lesions all over one side of his face, and pronounced fatigue. We’re wondering what kind of scarring he might be left with.

I hope this will be it for Tim this year. He’s had more than his share of trouble. Four bouts of diverticulitis, physical therapy for muscle pain in his legs, cataract surgery in both eyes. I don’t know how we ever managed to squeeze in a trip to Europe and a trip to Cape Cod between all that!

teaching our children

dave.farm.aid

This might be a good time to remember that we should not be asking why “real” food costs so much, but rather, why is processed food so cheap? This reminded me of one of my posts from last year – facts and figures about how we spend money on food that truly startled me when I first learned of them. See: food shopping. Yes, we need to teach our children well!

sweet saliva

"Elderly Woman" by Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449-1494) Italian Early Renaissance Painter
“Elderly Woman” by Domenico Ghirlandaio

The physical atoms that make up your body have been completely replaced in the past nine years. Yet you remain. You may feel the effects of age, but your spirit is always renewed in each and every moment. Remember this when you are tired or ill. Let each breath renew your spirit.
~ William Martin
(The Sage’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for the Second Half of Life)

What a long and strange month this has been.

It all started in North Carolina during a conversation with a nurse, a friend of Dima & Larisa’s, about the side effects of statin drugs. Suddenly I had a hunch that all the increasing pain in my muscles in recent years was probably not due to aging but was related to taking one of these drugs since 2011. I stopped taking it and within a week the pain was gone.

So my thoughts turned to another drug – amitriptyline. After years of suffering chronic migraine that only got worse when I reached perimenopause, I was sent to a neurologist, who gave me a prescription for a relatively high dose of amitriptyline as a preventative measure, coupled with a prescription for Zomig, to abort the headaches that broke through that first line of defense. That was in 2006 – nine years ago!

The side effects of amitriptyline are well-known to me. The dry mouth, constipation and weight gain – 50 lbs in 9 years! – were all nuisances worth putting up with to avoid a migraine. But now I started thinking, I’m well into menopause, perhaps I don’t need the amitriptyline so much any more. And so began my unpleasant journey through withdrawal symptoms. I cut my dose in half for a couple of weeks and then quit it completely. Perhaps this was too fast and a little too reckless.

The first thing I noticed was a blessing – saliva production! Oh what a precious gift to be able to moisturize my mouth naturally again! Talk about a feeling of restoration and renewal…

But the nausea, malaise and fatigue have been most unwelcome and difficult to live with. Still, I’m determined to continue and to make it through this miserable ordeal. I’ve been allowing myself extra sleep and long naps, with the idea of healing this body. Less than two weeks remain before our trip to Europe and I do finally seem to be feeling a little better each day. I’m not getting any more headaches than usual and the Zomig continues to take care of them, so that’s a relief. That result alone has made this experiment all worth it.

Last night while reading I came across the quote above. It made me smile at the mention of nine years because that’s how long my physical atoms have had to grow accustomed to amitriptyline. Also, it makes me happy to know that they will steadily be replaced with a new set of molecules over the next nine years. Lots of time for regeneration…