There is a kind of slow-motion sense to everyday actions as I await the return of my son and the start of this next phase of the “My Kid Has Cancer” journey. Shopping at Ikea for tables for each of us to work on, I found myself flipping through snapshots of imagined scenes. Will he pull out the yellow pads full of handwritten screenplays and be once again hunched over those pages? Will he lose his hair? Does he put a coaster under his mugs of tea? After two years at college, this young man is coming home to a home that is changing, and he is changing, and I have changed and yet somewhere in there are memories of our old ways of relating, our old habits, and always the abiding love.
In the nest I have set up for myself, I use my bed as a desk. My feet want to be tucked under me; these soil-seeking extremities know we have just 3 weeks in this house before we find another and they hesitate to get attached to the ground below. The entire living room, site of so many family gatherings and box-and-pillow forts and dramatic bat entrances through the fireplace, is now devoted to movement and meditation. The mats define my space like floating islands and I hop to them from the doorway.
The sense of being un-rooted has played at me for months now. I recall rummaging around in our adobe, concrete and tile house in Mexico, back in January, looking for the right spot in which to Do My Work. Then I got hauled back up to the US to oversee a remodeling project caused by one tiny, broken pipe. Then back to Mexico, back to the rummaging, and the Whump! as pots broke and cancer entered our lives. That soft ripping sound I heard was my little furry roots getting drawn up once again. Since then, I have carried my root ball around with me, tucked in and under.
I think I am morphing into an epiphyte, that class of plants which perch on other plants, and do just fine. They are, by definition, not ‘parasitic’, but there is some polite discussion going on in the botany world about whether or not this is true. They are mutualistic to their host, providing services that the supporting plant would not have otherwise; they are also commensal to their host, offering neither benefit nor detriment while taking support.
I would like to imagine there is potential to metamorphose into a glorious epiphytic orchid, all waxy-petaled, labial and tropically hued. I want to be picked up and caressed and admired, and for someone to bury their nose in my heady scent. But for now, the image below feels to be the truer one, with some brittle areas, some soft, mossy tufts and the invitation to enter a little more challenging to tease open.