Friday, July 3, 2015

Hedgebrook, Day Nine

I only saw the moon last night because I turned my back and then turned back around. A pumpkin-colored disc floating just between the trees, close enough to touch except that I couldn't. I'd never have seen it if I hadn't turned.

Today I began the work of writing about Sophie's vaccination history. I push into the depths of the internet --pseudotumor cerebri and corticosteroids, pseudotumor cerebri and DT and polio vaccinations -- twenty years in, and it all comes back. How I didn't know a goddamn thing and neither did They. It's a chapter on control and there doesn't seem to be any way to, ironically, control the many arms of it. An octopus, eggplant purple, perverse, seductive, terrifying. The constant chirp of insect and throaty call of frog, the sunshine speckled pine tree outside my window, the raucous crow overhead, the solitude -- are they real? Is it opportunity to be so weakened by events outside of nature that you must find your strength in going back into it, or suicide  to do so?

My friend A suggested that I take James Baldwin's advice about fear:

Turn and walk into it.


  1. And remember to breathe a lot my friend. I'm thinking of you and wishing you courage as you walk back.

  2. I admire your courage in going back to remember the details, take it apart, look deeply at it and write about it. I find I can't do this very much anymore, but our situation is different.
    As you know, it helped me to be able to tell it aloud and record the telling, then edit the transcript. If you find it is too traumatic to do it alone, you might consider telling it to a friend and recording it, just for the comfort of a loving presence with you. In any case, please give yourself many breaks and go gently. "First, do no harm." Sending love to you!

  3. I know A. She is wise and spot on.

  4. This is both wonderful and excruciating, being in this charmed place, delving into events that are anything but charmed. What duality. Holding two opposite realities in one thought. Go gently darling Elizabeth. We're all here with you, holding you.

  5. I happened across some old writing of mine yesterday and been thinking about my marriage a lot these past few weeks. Distance makes it easier to remember but also makes me wonder how I survived. You too I'm guessing? Take care.

  6. James is always bang on the money. I feel your pain. 20 years! Big hug from me.

    Greetings from London.



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