My iris blooms arrived in May and departed in June. Most of the lavender flowers shriveled unattractively on their stalks and I cut them off. Yesterday, I dug a colony of these bulbs from my perennial beds. I shook off the dirt, storing them in a paper bag. I’ve four more clumps to remove, energy willing. Later this fall, I’ll plant them along the border of our driveway.
Today, I continued my routine of six-mile walks. The west wind scoured the Hood River Valley. Air currents rushed through the Columbia River Gorge and all its tributary canyons like children leaving school for the holidays.
In the afternoon, I trimmed our large willow tree. The branches billowed in the breeze. They rose as if reluctant to meet my shears and I had to snip on the downfall. All that work above my head made my arms leaden. Before raking the debris I took a break and walked through the waist high field grasses, calling for my cat Spanky.
Each day he disappears into the mysterious depths of fiddlehead ferns and fescue. I’m a little neurotic about keeping contact with him. Our property abuts the Mt. Hood National Forest. It is home to coyotes. Even the Great Horned Owls I wrote about last month pose a possible danger. As I approached a young redwood tree, Spanky emerged from its canopy sleepy-eyed and grouchy. I’d disturbed him in his nest.
The wildflower seed I scattered in March and April are showing their colors. Red and pink oriental poppies and their golden cousins from California, stand above baby’s breath and blue bells. My vegetable garden has met with mixed success. The tomatoes and squash look healthy but gophers had their way with my potatoes. It would be nice if Spanky chose to help control these pests. I have no desire to trap or poison.
My health is good, though I must qualify that with the fact that I’ve had three serious colds since Valentine’s Day. I’d discounted the first two until the latest hit hard this week. I now harbor doubts about my immune system, which of course, can be compromised by multiple myeloma. It seems that each time I’m on the verge of full recovery from one virus, another settles in. This is uncharacteristic for me. I exercise, eat well, and have no bad habits other than a weakness for good mysteries.
Yes, I love mystery novels. Unfortunately, most end poorly. Too often, authors engage my attention for several hundred pages, and then lose it with a weak finish. I always feel cheated if they resolve the book with a silly chase, gunplay, or improbable contrivance.
A great mystery completes itself naturally. A contemporary example would be Mystic River by Dennis Lehane. Other older works deserving of accolades are books by the Swedish couple, Per Wahloo and Maj Sjowall. Of the hundreds of mysteries I’ve read and enjoyed only a couple of dozen rise to the level of extraordinary. Accordingly, it is refreshing to find one recently that resists the temptation for clichés at the end.
Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon
A poignant quest for lost siblings, a tragic reunion with a deadbeat Dad, high finance on the net, a runaway, it’s, well …it’s complicated.
You could say something similar about my relationship with cancer. It too, is complicated. Recently, an acquaintance wondered about my remission, “If it continues does it mean you might beat this?” The answer is both yes and no.
I understand multiple myeloma’s modus operandi: it keeps coming back. Therefore, as my remission lengthens, my rendezvous with my relapse shortens. Yet, the longer I stay alive, the better researchers get at keeping me alive. My colds notwithstanding, I remain optimistic. We are destined, my relapse and I, to meet. But I’m thinking, with luck, our little tête-à-têtes will be numerous and infrequent.