Dear Soul Beings,

My inner wisdom invites me to get out in nature this morning. The thermometer reads 27 degrees, the coldest morning thus far for October. Just what I need to clear my head of junky headlines, white supremacists and political crazy bullshiftiness.

The light is dim as I head towards the arroyo, crunching down on silver green branches knocked cold and flattened by the first frost of the season. My face and hands are frozen in the first fifty seconds. And although the cold is bracing, I crack a smile beneath my collar. Somehow, wild life of insect, snake and salamander dove deep beneath the rock hard ground, as in overnight. This morning, the icy wind silences the birds in the trees, and dawn arrives in a darkening light. I feel blessedly alive. I stand in gratitude.

All across the arroyo and the grassy banks, a lattice of miniature diamond crystallized threads. A glittering frost blanket. First frost kiss of the land. I scurry faster along the path. The glittering lace weaves over the yucca, the pinion, the rusty falling leaves.

Farther up the arroyo, a coyote saunters across the path, turns and stares. A wildness is birthing.

In my dream this morning, six shiny black stallions were fording a river, heads and tails high. Behind them, a giant plume of white smoke with a black column of ash in the center. They know where to head.

Gratitude. Many blessings to count. Thank you for the early morning light and the autumn frost. Thank you for the return of our house. Blessings for my daughter, who is way ahead of the pack in submitting her college applications, about to perform with the NMSA theatre department, about to embark on college auditions, has landed a role in the third season of a web series and is maintaining an A average in school.

A huge shout out to all my friends and mentors, Monika, Tanya, Kerri, Ariel, Linda, Candace, Marsha and others – you know who you are. I am grateful to be surrounded by so many talented and wise women.

I am grateful for the journey that has taken me on a path of healing, over these past ten years. I am wielding my creative flame to forge a path that is made up of writing, painting, sculpting, teaching and mothering.

Soul-based. Love-based. Regenerative. In gratitude for this life.

Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Here is a glimpse into that time, which up until now, I have had trouble writing on. But a prompt from the gifted Ariel Gore, got me going:

THINGS AN ULTRASOUND CANNOT SEE IN MY HEART.

1.The silent tears on my cheek, sitting in the hairdresser’s chair, watching my shorn hair float down to the floor like black feathers, two days before chemo.
2. Sitting in my car, ten years ago, Halloween night, with my new pixie cut. The tears are raging and my husband says, come with us trick-or-treating. My daughter doesn’t know. Come anyway.
3. Sitting in Jinja and weighted down by the fierce love I feel for Marika. Weighted down by feelings of failure. How the words I had to tell her seven year self were the heaviest weights falling out of my mouth, Mommy has cancer.
4. The pain of her fear.
5. A week later, the way everything slowed way down and I couldn’t get out of the bath. The way my short hair floated like feathers and stuck to my neck and shoulders.
6. The way everything smelled metallic, even water.
7. How food tasted like an elephant slid down my throat and lodged there.
8. My heart in revolt as Marika traipses off with Gavin for Thanksgiving dinner. Alone with a can of chicken soup and The Godfather. She says, I hate this bloody cancer.
9. How I couldn’t breathe on Christmas Eve because my lungs were full of fluid.
10. How I summoned my ally, Alia, a horse who came in to help me breathe.

And now the horses are back in my dreams and may one day, make it into a painting.

For now, Blessings and
Thank you.
Amy