Well folks, Umbridge has taken control of Hogwarts. I, like the great majority of you, had hoped for a win on this one, but let us not lose heart. The only way that the new regime has claimed a true victory is if we let this setback dampen our enthusiasm for the next fight. There are other appointments to consider and executive orders waiting in the wings, and we must face the ensuing battles with the same level of perseverance and grit. Remember, we lost this one by one unprecedented tie-breaking vote; we are battling on the knife's edge.
And in local news, the weather here in Asheville has got me unsettled and jittery with claustrophobia. The days begin grey and drizzly with a sky that hangs just a few feet over our heads. If I were much taller I'd be constantly hitting my head against the gauzy, smoke-hued clouds. The temperature bounces between sixty and sixty five but the landscape still grips tightly to its February finest: bony branches and hillsides covered in brittle straw grasses.
Every afternoon around 3 o'clock I pick up my car keys and weigh them in my hands. I could go out to the car, fill up the tank, head East on 1-40 and be back in New England by this time tomorrow. The stinging cold is waiting for me there, the snow glittering over the fields, ice in the trees, and all day long the crack of flames in the fireplace. Midwinter was never my favorite season growing up, but at the very least it's something definitive. I wish I could say that there's too much to do here and I'm too busy to drive North, but that would be (to use the parlance of the day) a 'falsehood'. Some days are bustling, but overall it's a slow time.
Dr. June teases me for being the most type A patient she's ever encountered. I continue to show up for my appointments hauling pages of typed notes, abstracts from new papers on Lyme treatment from Johns Hopkins, each medication and supplement recorded in exact frequency and milligrams. She's graduated me to pre-maintenance antibiotics: amoxicillin and azithromyocin, twice every day. The time between our appointments are growing longer and longer, and thank god- her services keep going up in price and she does not take insurance.
I say this with some degree of shame, but as I recover I am not turning into the patient advocate that I thought I'd be. I don't want to talk about Lyme Disease or anything remotely related to it. The other day I was at lunch in South Carolina with a few women- healthy women- and they got to talking about gluten insensitivity - they were picking at their lunches of chicken breasts over salad just as I've done for the past how many months- and I wanted to stand up and flip over the table and scream SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP!!
I didn't. Why would I? There's nothing wrong with talking about diet and there's nothing wrong with salads or lean proteins- my god, that term- it's just that these things make me lose my mind.
I met a young woman at a OWL bakery a few weeks ago. She was slender and shaky and sick. There we were in the best bakery in Asheville- this place is insane- and she legitimately couldn't eat a thing on the menu. She drank tea from a little white pot while I downed an almond-rose croissant, which I'd purchased without taking a moment to reflect on the cruelty of eating a sweet, flaking pastry in front of this person. I listened as she told me about her past four months spent in bed, the eyesight that comes and goes, the various pains and convulsions. I listened and nodded and asked questions in complete empathy, and I thought I might vomit.
I gave her my phone number, urged her to call if she needed anything, assured her that it does get better than this. Then I sat in my car and shook and shook and shook. That was the last Lyme patient I've met with. All this talk about emerging from the tunnel only to dive back in and help others navigate their way out- scroll back on this blog and you'll find plenty of that tunnel metaphor- and here all I want to do is sprint in the direction of health and normalcy and never look back.
Just give me some time on this one.
For a more complete story on that part of my life, or if you're sick yourself and need some encouragement, read my article recently published on the very visually appealing site MoreThanLyme.
Meanwhile, I'm beginning to figure out light. Despite the strange spring weather, the parkway remains closed, shutting me off from Craggy Gardens, Black Balsam, Mount Mitchell and most of the other places to hike and study the sunset. On the evenings when I can make it all the way to Max Patch or Roan, I am a scientist in the field- carefully dissecting the luminescent quality of each minute that comes before sunset and recording how it would translate into images.
Sometimes I have photo shoots with family and engaged couples and sometimes I do not. Dave gently reminds me when I look bleakly at the calendar that I started a photography business in the dead of winter. I tell him it's hard to be patient and rational when you've finally found something bright after being in the dark for 1.5 years.
And now, an early announcement :
I'm taking my Wild & Bright Photography on the road. I haven't announced this elsewhere because I wanted to tell you all first, but I'm planning on flying to Seattle at the end of April to offer photo sessions during the golden hours (sunset and sunrise) at Discovery Park- or your favorite wild place in Western Washington. Click here to see my Portfolio.
You can email me ( firstname.lastname@example.org) if you're interested to learn more. There will be more details to come, including dates and prices. I am so, so, so excited even thinking about Seattle in the spring, evening light over Puget Sound- but I can only make this trip if I can break even, so I'm just gauging interest right now.
Holy- I miss the Pacific Northwest.
It would be so nice to visit. To sit at the coffee shop above Golden Gardens and- wait, which cafe is that? The one at the top of the hill, across from the staircase that leads to the beach? Is it Allegro? I'm forgetting these details and I don't want to. Which cafe is it, could somebody remind me?
Have a wonderful week. I'll talk with you soon.