Unexpected Reminders

“Do not look to the ground for your next step; greatness lies with those who look to the horizon.”

Norwegian Proverb

7:12 a.m……March 3, 2022…..Before Daylight Savings Time took the early light away…..

Coming out of the underground garage at my apartment complex, preoccupied with what lay ahead at my visit to the clinic this time, I pushed lightly on the accelerator to take the uphill rise to the street. My eyes saw what they needed to but had not yet grasped what else already lay before them.

Out of the snowy, barren little hill across the street and its trees and brush that hide nothing now, came movement down its banks. And there they were. Three deer, moving slowly and carefully toward the street. And me. A doe and her twin fawns! My mind awoke to this sudden surprise, my spirit was already dancing, and I kept whispering, “Oh! Oh! Oh!”

Then there were not just three. Another doe and her fawn joined the little group, and both mothers – I swear – looked both ways to cross safely. Still not done, the little group added two more, including the largest of the bunch who looked big enough to be a buck, though bucks typically do not stay with family after the rut in the fall. So perhaps an older doe. The matriarch, bringing up the rear.

I put the van in park, grabbed my phone and made a video as they reached our side of the street, checking me out, and beginning to graze on the available brown grass amid the lingering snow around our building. To say that the horizon of that day – literally – changed me is to affirm the wisdom of that Norwegian ancestor’s words. It has stayed with me, and I have needed it deeply.

I have not written for a month because I just haven’t had the physical, mental or creative energy to dig deeply enough. My lymphoma treatments – monoclonal antibodies and a chemo pill – have been light years away from the treatment I survived in late 2020. I had been greatly relieved.

Then came body aches (think especially, back), low-grade temperatures that kept me cold and chilled, a diminishing appetite and two trips to the e.r. with my temperature above 100.4. My body became the site of nearly constant pains of one kind or another, of discomfort and some growing weakness. They were still in a different universe from what I had endured before, but constancy can wear down even the brave over time. My world was growing smaller by the day.

I became just a bit crabby.

So when our neighborhood deer showed up on that particular morning to bring me the joy of nature’s sweetest things, I was blessed. I was pulled back into the whole of my life, most of which is still rich and beautiful and full of possibility.

I am in the hospital as I write this, with high temperatures coming under control and feeling alert and involved with my life here. The nurses and I are getting to be great friends, and I always, always make it a priority to let them know how grateful I am for their answering their call to be healers. Too often, they are surprised. It should not be so.

They are my horizon while I am here. (Shout-out to Jasmine, who was my nurse and the presence of grace for two shifts, who loved sharing stories, who listened intently, and who had the most fabulous, dense tattoos on her upper right arm..!!)

Treatment continues through May, and I am home now and doing pretty well so far. The road ahead surely still has surprises, but I am finding myself more aware again of where and why to look for my horizons as they show up. I can’t wait to find out from what corner of my little universe they appear.

They keep me level.

And I’m very okay with that.