Last night we didn’t take my daily walk until after dinner, when the sky was dark and filled with stars. Orion hovered over our house as he does each winter. I have a special relationship with those particular stars. When I was a child, and knew even less about the constellations then I do now, the three stars of Orion’s belt first outlined for me the face of a horse. Four other bright stars marked the shoulder, haunch, and front and rear hooves – my horse in the sky. I think I was 21 before I learned anything different. So for me those three stars are still the face of the sky horse. Though the sun of the recent days has been a great gift, the star filled sky is perhaps more so. It helps put into perspective again how tiny and how precious life on earth is.
I was born the summer after the summer of love. Neil Armstrong had already walked on the moon. Born after the walk, but close enough to it that the marvel of a man on the moon was still ricocheting around in the minds of all the adults in my life. I remember people saying things like, “Well, now that there is a Man on the Moon . . .”, as if he might still be up there. I feel so grateful that I grew up in a place where I could see the stars, the northern lights and the big round moon so well. Grateful too that I had the privilege of time outside, in the dark, admiring the universe laid out before me. Laying out in a field on a warm summer night, looking up at the Milky Way, fireflies blinking in the darkness around me, feeling that strange vertigo that made it seems probable that I could somehow fall up. Fall up into the infinite expanse of space.
So last night walking with Joe, all of those thoughts come back to me. “Ah, I am still just a tiny dust mote in this big big universe.” I thought that if we can put a man on the moon, than transmuting the cancer-ing cells of my body into healthy ones is not so improbable, and I wondered if the astronauts were nauseous, on their wild transformative ride, that so changed the world.
Back in December before my treatments started, Joe and I stopped at the Penny Wise thrift store in Warrenton. We found eight Maria Milagrosa seven day candles. Seeing as we were in the market for miracles we took them home, and I have been lighting them on my altar since. So far they seem to be working really well, perhaps fueled by the prayers of loved ones. First, the last minute HER2+ results, which significantly changed my treatment plan. Then this week the letter in the mail from the Oregon Health Plan, letting us know we qualified. Hallelujah!
Today I spent time working out some of the logistics of switching insurance and billing, etc. Trying to be grateful for the newest miracle (that we qualify for the Oregon Health Plan) while waiting on hold for an hour and a half – only to be informed that I needed to call someone else. I am guessing that all of the folks working at the Oregon Department of Human Services are living on the edge of crazy right now, dealing with the huge inflow of applications and their aftermath. Tomorrow, I will try again to sort it all out.
Tonight, another walk with Orion galloping overhead.