A Different Direction

Sometimes I wonder how much personal information to post on a blog. My original idea was to allow my work to give direction to the writing, and document the round of seasons in this particular part of the world. It’s from my point of view, of course, but not so much about me.

That said, I can rarely resist exploring a tangent. So this topic is not really about fieldwork and homework, but about the work that goes on inside one’s self. I am at home recovering from “takotsubo cardiomyopathy”, a temporary heart ailment that put me in the hospital for five days. With all the high-tech stuff that doctors have, they aren’t completely sure why it happens and how it works. They are pretty sure that I will have a full recovery, but it’s going to take some time. I am really tired a lot of the time. I’m taking a mishmash of drugs, and am on a strict cardiac diet. I am not to go to work, and need to avoid stress. I am not to exercise, except for flat walking, and need to stop as soon as my body tells me to.

In The Practice of the Wild, Gary Snyder says that our bodies are wild. We don’t need conscious thought to make it breathe, or keep the heart beating. Since I have discovered that my heart insists on its own unique rhythm, I can imagine the wildness inside my own body. I feel it. I live it. There are rivers and mountains and islands inside the body, a whole landscape that my ego has no influence over.

Yet there are subtle relationships between the wildness of the body and the wildness of the mind. The heart is the metaphorical home of our emotions. The emotional heart insists on itself too, makes itself heard over the rationality of the mind. When we don’t listen, our physical heart may do something to get our attention. The cardiologists say they don’t entirely understand how the heart works. I believe in the reality of that mystery.

So when I sit down to draw how this strange new situation feels, my totemic bird carries a heart in a strong direction. The destination is off the paper and I have no idea where my heart and I will end up.

4 thoughts on “A Different Direction

  1. Ann & I have you in “our hearts” and prayers. Mentioned your web “FIELDWORK” to Jon Herrman and how we enjoy it.
    We were visiting at the Georgesons’ and Jon popped out of his house for afew minutes as we were leaving heading for a short hike up the Sasse Mt. road. Did not make it to the trailhead – much snow & ice at 1 1/2 mi.

    Follow the doctor’s orders, Darrell

  2. Wow, I love that image. The background and the stretch of the long dimension holds the mysterious feeling for me, and it is so very orderly and dynamic at the same time. Seems to show an alignment with what is, as it moves out of known sight.

    I’m meeting a mysterious health condition lately also, and this picture and writing give me solace.

    My heart is with yours, also.

  3. I hope you are totally recovered, trust that you ARE, and have just picked my jaw up off my camp floor…. for here is yet ANOTHER (and this one is really… peculiar) parallel to our our live’s journeys, Deb. I had a temporary heart ailment (of a different type) exactly at this same time!

    March 2010: diagnosis of ruined thyroid gland; half abcess, half with a 33% chance of Follicular cancer.. it was producing, but straining to do so.. I had it out on March 30th. Surgeon set my replacement hormone at too high a dose; which leads to arrythmias and effusions, both of which I developed, along with attendant fear & pain. Could have had a heart attack. The med people, because of my age, assumed the very worst; heart failure; thus put my strong and healthy little heart through every test in the world, while stii force feeding me overdoses of Synthroid.. but I outlived them AND the testings, found a sensible, helpful PA, and recovered… it took 8 months and my restrictions were the same as yours.

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