Greetings from Estes Park, Colorado! Above, the way we started our day. J, Young J, and Young A (the latter two being total novices at horseback riding beyond guided pony rides) did great. I sat tall in the saddle and had to suppress whooping for joy because I didn’t want to scare my gentle old horse, Sarge, whose primary interest was bending down to munch on grass whenever we stopped.
I made it. We made it. It has been ten weeks since my brain was found full of lesions, since my language was scrambled, since the unthinkable was happening – good news about clear lungs followed immediately by very bad news. There is no way I could have gotten here so quickly without Dr P, Nurse Practitioners R & K, and my neurosurgeon, Dr K, and his team.
Today, I spent an hour on horseback, my heart bursting with pride seeing my kids take their first real ride and not be afraid at all (though perhaps a bit cautious at first). We climbed higher and higher, and got closer to the snowcapped peaks we hope to see even closer today by car.
It was strange to wake up to such an amazing experience, because last night I had a dream which I remembered, for a change, and it was very bad. I was walking in some city and saw a van take take a corner too quickly and skid on slick pavement and crash through the wall of a construction site. I rushed to the other side of the site, heard a construction worker with a German accent calling 911, and then I saw the woman who had been driving. She was African-American, wearing a bandanna over her hair. How can we see faces in dreams of people we don’t know? I didn’t know her. But here she was, convulsing and dying right in front of me.
It wasn’t until just this moment, writing the dream down, that I had the slightest clue what the dream might mean. I’ve been thinking a lot about the massacre in Charleston. We’re staying at a place here in Colorado that draws a lot of white guests from the South. I can’t speak to them without wondering whether they fly the Confederate flag outside their houses, or display it on their cars. This dream is some kind of allegory.
I woke up after it happened. It was about 2 a.m. J was awake – he hadn’t been sleeping at all. Perhaps the altitude affects us in these strange ways. It took a long time for us to fall asleep again. I closed my eyes and tried to change the direction of the dream. I willed the woman to live, to survive this unsurvivable accident. I don’t know if I succeeded, even though the entire premise was born of my own brain. (My own, hopefully no longer diseased brain.)
I am grateful to be feeling this well. But I am in great spiritual pain for our country, for the ease with which guns, ammunition, empty or inflammatory rhetoric, and racism, flow, violently.
Last night we sat by the very engorged Big Thompson River, after eating s’mores. The boys threw rocks and pebbles into the torrents with glee. When Young A asked what would happen if he put his arms in, “just” his arms, we knew it was time to leave the river bank. Retreat. (Still no clue what the German construction worker represented. Open to guesses.)