Saturday, December 24, 2011

Enjoy small moments.

The Red Wheelbarrow 
by William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)

                               so much depends

                               a red wheel

                               glazed with rain

                               beside the white

Monday, December 12, 2011

Losing Dad: One Year Ago

The night my father fell for the last time, he and my mother had attended the Pacific Symphony Orchestra in S. California and listened to Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto, no.2 and Dvorak's Symphony no. 9: The New World. 

“The music was terrific!” my father said. “It was wonderful! Jeesh.”

That night, my father returned alone to his assistant living facility, and later that night he fell. He was 88.

We'd stopped counting the times Dad had fallen in the past five years—and the number of visits to the emergency room? He went as often as some people go out to dinner—weekly, several times a month, at least. But, my father had 17 lives. He survived World War II. He survived jaundice, appendicitis, lung cancer, a brain tumor. He lived with diabetes and heart palpitations that required medication. He lived with blood clotting and blood thinning issues, and balance challenges, and depression. So, when I got a call that Dad had fallen, again, and was in the intensive care unit for observation, again, to watch for internal bleeding in his head from the fall, I’d gotten careless myself.

Dad had another fall. La di da.

While he was recovering in the hospital, and doing nicely the first day, I called and talked to my mother.  She reported that he was having soup. A little tired but doing okay. 

"Mom," I said. "Tell Dad he should wear a helmet."

"Wha she say? No! I'm not going to wear a helmet."

I didn’t expect him to obey. He wasn’t that kind of guy.

“Okay. Keep me posted,” I said, and hung up.  

The next day, I went to my neighbor’s house for dinner. When I realized  I had left my cell phone in my coat pocket in another room, I got a strange, sudden fright and hurried across the hall to get it. Not long after, my cell rang. My mother had been unable to wake up Dad earlier in the day. The bleeding hadn’t stopped, she said. In fact, it was worse. He was in a semi-unconscious state.  

I won’t go into those details of the next hour, or the bi-coastal conference call with the doctor. I’ll just say that for much of my life, my father told us that he wanted to go quickly. He had written documents to that same effect—no extraordinary measures were to be taken, etc. Those documents are still in my drawer.

Early the next morning, my sister and I flew across the country to California. He didn't linger long. 

4 a.m. in the morning is such a pristine time of day. It's the time Dad often started his day,  scuffing around in leather slippers to water his beloved plants. Who knew that 4 a.m. would be the hour he'd let go of his earthly breath?

But what I find myself thinking about on this one year anniversary of his death--is that evening of music, the one he enjoyed so much, the one that filled him with otherworldly delight, perhaps even a feeling of timelessness.  

Dvorak Symphony no. 9, The New World; and Rachmaninoff’s piano concerto no.2.--I'm going to listen to both of those today (though I started last night), while I circle my house and remember him. He doesn't feel very far away.

Rachmoninoff, piano concerto no. 2

Second movement

Third movement

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Beautiful Joe

I adored this book as a child--more than adored it. This story lit every capillary in my body on fire.When my mother called me for dinner, I didn’t want to leave the pages. Everything inside my ten-year-old body was invested in the outcome of this puppy that was suffering abuse by a sadistic man.  Beautiful Joes’ ears had been cut off and his sweet soul was heading for early, horrendous death by a cruel miller.

Now, many decades later, I have discovered that Beautiful Joe was based on a  true story and that the book I read so long ago was, in fact, an international bestseller. I had no idea! I only knew that I needed to save this dog and prayed, as I turned the pages, that the young boy in the book, my hero, would save him for me.

Written in 1893 by Margaret Marshall Saunders, I discovered this lovely website where you can learn a whole more about Ms Saunders who in 1934 was recognized for furthering the humane treatment of animals.

I also found this short recap of what inspired Saunders to write the book:  

In 1892, in the town of Meaford, Ontario, Margaret Marshall Saunders was introduced to Beautiful Joe--a mongrel dog that had been cruelly mutilated by its owner. The author was inspired to write this true story to emphasize the plight of domestic animals everywhere.  Upon publication, Beautiful Joe quicly became a Canadian classic, enchanting readers of all ages. Although Margaret Saunders relocated the story of Beautiful Joe to a fiction town in Maine, readers know the story is actually based in Meaford, where a park and monument have been dedicated to the dog's memory."

And this interesting tidbit from Amazon about why Saunders called herself Marshall Saunders (and not Margaret):

"Published in 1893, Beautiful Joe was the first Canadian book to sell a million copies and was extremely popular in America, too (selling almost a million copies by 1900). A work of fiction told from the dog's point of view, it is based upon the true story of an abused dog (in the tradition of 1877's Black Beauty). It reflects many of the unfortunate realities of society in those days, but it had an incredible impact upon the Western world's ideas about humane treatment of animals. Interestingly, it is still published with the author listed as Marshall Saunders. In fact, it was written by Margaret Marshall Saunders, and published using her middle name since it was felt that no one would want to buy a book written by a woman. (She was in fact the first woman to write a book which sold a million copies!) Every animal shelter and rescue organization in America and Canada owes a debt to Beautiful Joe."

Do you know this book? Have you read it? Do you have a copy of it? Tell me, please!

I’m off to order it, thrilled and grateful that this story is still alive.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Giving thanks to my brother

My younger brother

November is a month of many notes in minor key. --Transitions from light to dark, skies turning a moodier  mauve and grey; trees preparing to sleep, horizons embracing night by five 0’clock, and in the process, introspection tugs me back into myself to a time of rebirth and deep, unexpected gifts. 

This time in November--23rd to be exact--marks 32 years since my bone marrow transplant. I was in my twenties. I had a fifteen percent chance of surviving without one and a 50 percent chance if I chose to have one. Was it really a choice? The procedure back then was dangerous (often fatal) and highly experimental.

Thirty-two years ago, my brother, whose bone marrow matched mine, went under anesthesia for several hours while doctors harvested bone marrow from his hip. He was only seventeen. In fact, he was under age and we had to go to court and get the state's permission to allow this. His bone marrow—a liquid substance—was filtered into plastic, transfusion bags, then hooked up to a plastic tube called a shunt, which was surgically attached to my thigh. Here’s a picture of that shunt, which was eventually surgically removed.

In my intensive care, isolation room in a Boston hospital, I envisioned my brother’s bone marrow as homing pigeons returning to roost.  I also imagined his marrow as carrying seeds scattering throughout my body, taking hold in the earth that was me. Bone marrow is the largest organ in the body. It’s everywhere.

When my brother woke up, his hips sore like Charley horse, he shuffled into my intensive care room and stood outside the plastic curtain that divided us, cheering me on. I was freaking out.  Powerful sedatives during high doses of chemotherapy were wearing off. (The chemotherapy killed my old bone marrow to prepare for the new, which meant I had no immune system.)  My body was vibrating, my mind on warp speed with anxiety. Trapped in a cage, in a six by eight hospital room that I was forbidden to leave, I feared I might go insane.

My brother returned to his boarding school a few days later. I stayed in the sterile, isolation room for another two months under the care of this man.

And my primary nurse who spent several hours with me every day.

And the behind-the-scenes care of this man.

Karmu, the amazing faith healer

And so many others (a team of about one hundred).

Eventually, I wrote about this experience in a story called Recovery, my first published story. It won a prize from Redbook magazine in a national fiction contest.  You can read Recovery here if you’d like. I also talked about my transplant in Susan Henderson’s wonderful interview on LitPark.
This is the laminar air flow room (or bubble) originally created for astronauts. I'm getting ready to go home.  See those gloves? I had to wear them everywhere. The mask, too.

So, once again, thank you, dear brother, and thanks to my team of more than a hundred people—nurses, doctors, researchers, family, faith healer--for your dedication and care, for extending my time on this planet.

In the car with my mom, heading home.

My dad took this pic days after I was home from the hospital.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Home is about feeling Safe

This is my dad, who was an artillery man in the Army,WW2.  His division helped liberate Dachau concentration camp.

What makes you feel safe at home? For me, a feeling of safety is vital to my sense of home on a personal level and as a citizen of the United States. On a primordial (cave) level, my home shelters me from bad weather, and wild animals and violent human beings. What happened last week at University of California Davis crossed my line of safety at home in America. Those police were violent toward peaceful protestors. They acted like criminals, not peacekeepers, not protectors of our safety.

Universities are meant to provide shelter to its students. It’s meant to be a safe home of learning, a place to teach young adults how to rebel, express outrage, protest, and take action in a peaceful, affirmative way. That’s what these students were doing. It was an opportunity for change, a change to harness young people’s honest intentions. Instead, the Chancellor stomped on these young spirits. Do you think such things can quash our spirits? Of course not! What happened was egregious and criminal.  Please read this letter from professor Brown calling for Chancellor’s resignation. Send an email expressing your opinion.

I’m not usually politically active per say, but this chancellor and those police crossed my safety line, and debased the sanctity of my country as my home. I remember Kent State. I remember a lot of things from the sixties. As a mother of a son considering college, I need to know that our universities are safe, responsible representatives of Democracy.  

My son

Please read Professor Brown's letter, which I've copied in its entirety here.

Open Letter to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi

18 November 2011
Open Letter to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi
Linda P.B. Katehi,
I am a junior faculty member at UC Davis. I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of English, and I teach in the Program in Critical Theory and in Science & Technology Studies. I have a strong record of research, teaching, and service. I am currently a Board Member of the Davis Faculty Association. I have also taken an active role in supporting the student movement to defend public education on our campus and throughout the UC system. In a word: I am the sort of young faculty member, like many of my colleagues, this campus needs. I am an asset to the University of California at Davis.
You are not.
I write to you and to my colleagues for three reasons:
1) to express my outrage at the police brutality which occurred against students engaged in peaceful protest on the UC Davis campus today
2) to hold you accountable for this police brutality
3) to demand your immediate resignation
Today you ordered police onto our campus to clear student protesters from the quad. These were protesters who participated in a rally speaking out against tuition increases and police brutality on UC campuses on Tuesday—a rally that I organized, and which was endorsed by the Davis Faculty Association. These students attended that rally in response to a call for solidarity from students and faculty who were bludgeoned with batons,hospitalized, and arrested at UC Berkeley last week. In the highest tradition of non-violent civil disobedience, those protesters had linked arms and held their ground in defense of tents they set up beside Sproul Hall. In a gesture of solidarity with those students and faculty, and in solidarity with the national Occupy movement, students at UC Davis set up tents on the main quad. When you ordered police outfitted with riot helmets, brandishing batons and teargas guns to remove their tents today, those students sat down on the ground in a circle and linked arms to protect them.
Without any provocation whatsoever, other than the bodies of these students sitting where they were on the ground, with their arms linked, police pepper-sprayed students. Students remained on the ground, now writhing in pain, with their arms linked.
What happened next?
Police used batons to try to push the students apart. Those they could separate, they arrested, kneeling on their bodies and pushing their heads into the ground. Those they could not separate, they pepper-sprayed directly in the face, holding these students as they did so. When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood.
This is what happened. You are responsible for it.
You are responsible for it because this is what happens when UC Chancellors order police onto our campuses to disperse peaceful protesters through the use of force: students get hurt. Faculty get hurt. One of the most inspiring things (inspiring for those of us who care about students who assert their rights to free speech and peaceful assembly) about the demonstration in Berkeley on November 9 is that UC Berkeley faculty stood together with students, their arms linked together. Associate Professor of English Celeste Langan was grabbed by her hair, thrown on the ground, and arrested. Associate Professor Geoffrey O’Brien was injured by baton blows. Professor Robert Hass, former Poet Laureate of the United States, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winner, was also struck with a baton. These faculty stood together with students in solidarity, and they too were beaten and arrested by the police. In writing this letter, I stand together with those faculty and with the students they supported.
One week after this happened at UC Berkeley, you ordered police to clear tents from the quad at UC Davis. When students responded in the same way—linking arms and holding their ground—police also responded in the same way: with violent force. The fact is: the administration of UC campuses systematically uses police brutality to terrorize students and faculty, to crush political dissent on our campuses, and to suppress free speech and peaceful assembly. Many people know this. Many more people are learning it very quickly.
You are responsible for the police violence directed against students on the UC Davis quad on November 18, 2011. As I said, I am writing to hold you responsible and to demand your immediate resignation on these grounds.
On Wednesday November 16, you issued a letter by email to the campus community. In this letter, you discussed a hate crime which occurred at UC Davis on Sunday November 13. In this letter, you express concern about the safety of our students. You write, “it is particularly disturbing that such an act of intolerance should occur at a time when the campus community is working to create a safe and inviting space for all our students.” You write, “while these are turbulent economic times, as a campus community, we must all be committed to a safe, welcoming environment that advances our efforts to diversity and excellence at UC Davis.”
I will leave it to my colleagues and every reader of this letter to decide what poses a greater threat to “a safe and inviting space for all our students” or “a safe, welcoming environment” at UC Davis: 1) Setting up tents on the quad in solidarity with faculty and students brutalized by police at UC Berkeley? or 2) Sending in riot police to disperse students with batons, pepper-spray, and tear-gas guns, while those students sit peacefully on the ground with their arms linked? Is this what you have in mind when you refer to creating “a safe and inviting space?” Is this what you have in mind when you express commitment to “a safe, welcoming environment?”
I am writing to tell you in no uncertain terms that there must be space for protest on our campus. There must be space for political dissent on our campus. There must be space for civil disobedience on our campus. There must be space for students to assert their right to decide on the form of their protest, their dissent, and their civil disobedience—including the simple act of setting up tents in solidarity with other students who have done so. There must be space for protest and dissent, especially, when the object of protest and dissent is police brutality itself. You may not order police to forcefully disperse student protesters peacefully protesting police brutality. You may not do so. It is not an option available to you as the Chancellor of a UC campus. That is why I am calling for your immediate resignation.
Your words express concern for the safety of our students. Your actions express no concern whatsoever for the safety of our students. I deduce from this discrepancy that you are not, in fact, concerned about the safety of our students. Your actions directly threaten the safety of our students. And I want you to know that this is clear. It is clear to anyone who reads your campus emails concerning our “Principles of Community” and who also takes the time to inform themselves about your actions. You should bear in mind that when you send emails to the UC Davis community, you address a body of faculty and students who are well trained to see through rhetoric that evinces care for students while implicitly threatening them. I see through your rhetoric very clearly. You also write to a campus community that knows how to speak truth to power. That is what I am doing.
I call for your resignation because you are unfit to do your job. You are unfit to ensure the safety of students at UC Davis. In fact: you are the primary threat to the safety of students at UC Davis. As such, I call upon you to resign immediately.
Nathan Brown
Assistant Professor
Department of English
Program in Critical Theory
University of California at Davis

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Provincetown, Summer 2011, Simple Shapes

This house w/orange door is where I stayed with friends.  It is one of the oldest in P'town

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A friend's house in Vermont

One of my favorite places to visit in Southwest part of Vermont. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Books, love and our 25th wedding anniversary

I have a book garden. It’s located behind my desk and it takes up an entire wall of my office, floor to ceiling, front to back.   My husband built this for me twelve years ago, constructing it a la Shaker style, forming a grid on the floor, nailing pine boards together then raising the entire unit until it stood flush and vertical against the wall.  He even added some molding to the top and sides.  A designer’s flourish.

We’d stored our books in cardboard boxes for years while we traveled overseas to Hungary and then back to New England and several states before settling in Boston, where we live now.  At some point in my wanderlust, in my need to leave everything behind, I dared to leave another lifetime of books in a basement of a rental apartment.  It felt wrong but I did it anyway—I was choosing to change the course of my life and books were heavy.  I had to lighten my load.  

But now I was done with traveling for a while. We had a five year-old and we were anchoring ourselves for the upcoming school years.  Unloading those boxes of books was a joyous, frantic affair. Boxes and boxes finally unbound, we stripped off packing tape like new lovers ripping off clothes, hurling ourselves into happiness, reuniting after months.   I was so relieved.  Finally, my books were back in my life.
Over time, the shelves took on their own order, a sort of “his side, her side” way of things (reminding me of Carver’s description of a couple’s bed in one of his stories).   History and business books dominated “his” side, with some law textbooks and biology books intermixed.  On my side, novels and plays and poetry from undergraduate and graduate school days.  More recently, shelves full of books written by friends.

That was thirteen years ago. My son is 18, and today my husband and I are celebrating 25 years of marriage. My collection of books has become a moveable time keeper, a shuffling abacus—with each book demarking some important passage of events, people, memories.  

Feeling the push of decades behind me, I recently spent a weekend culling my book shelves. It was tedious yet satisfying.  A book garden overgrown and tangled, I dusted and vacuumed crusty spines, pulled out textbooks I knew I wouldn’t reread, and paired lost volumes with each other.  Finally, War And Peace Vol. 1 and 2 are side by side again. My Pushcart Prize anthologies, helter skelter on separate shelves, are lined up together in numerical order.   I came across a Jean Rhys novel that I adored so long ago: Voyage in the Dark.  Rereading the opening line, I fell in love once more:

“It was as if a curtain had fallen, hiding everything I’d ever known.”

There’s my book of Montaigne Essays (not the new one published recently); the one that my English professor gave me in college, a teacher who confessed to me that Montaigne’s essays had saved his life.  There’s my book of Flannery O’Connor letters (Habit of Being) that I read the summer after my bone marrow transplant in 1981. O’Connor and I both had blood diseases.  Her daily discipline of writing and faith ushered me through that year I reclaimed my health.

As I weeded my books, I also came across a book I didn’t know I owned.  Intrigued by the title and picture: Ishia biography of the last Wild Indian in North America, I began reading and couldn’t stop.  Sad, beautiful, aching, Ishi is the story of a man who witnessed his culture’s extinction by the White Man.  It’s about ancient time colliding with modern time. It’s about how we cling but can’t hold on—like our hearts, like Ishi’s. It’s about reaching out to find new centers of order and connection after loss.  Like Ishi’s loss of his entire people, like my loss of my father this past December. Time floods on.

The year before I met my husband, I was living in a studio apartment in Boston. 1985. Most of my furnishings consisted of books I’d bought from a place called The Bookcase in Cambridge.  The Bookcase was a warehouse-sized building so crammed full of books, it spilled into a 3-story annex across the street.  Art books, literature, science textbooks, obscure books.  Any book.  Every book.  The Bookcase was a library, a place to wander down paperback aisles, a place to eavesdrop, to fall asleep. The Bookcase even functioned as a bank, at least for me.  Anytime I needed fast cash, I knew I could haul a few books down to The Bookcase and sell them back to the owner. It was a perfect arrangement.  A perfect balance for my cash-strapped life steeped in books.

So when my future husband and I decided to move to Florida together, I sold my furniture and headed back over to The Bookcase to sell more books. 

 “I’m in love,” I told the owner of The Bookcase.  “We’re planning to get married!” I put several grocery bags of books on the sidewalk outside the store where he was kneeling, restacking some sale books.   (I must have borrowed a friend’s car to deliver that load.) “That’s why I’m getting rid of everything. We’re moving to Florida.”  I shrugged.  “I don’t really want to sell them, but I need the money to buy a car. I mean, these books have been my life—So many memories--“

The owner nodded with the seriousness of an undertaker, then something sparked in his head.

 “Let me tell you a story about a young couple who fell in love and wanted to marry,” he said, turning to me.  It was a warm summer day in Cambridge, the kind of day that encourages musing.

“The girl was beautiful but her family was poor. So poor, her father had no money for her dowry.  In those days:  no dowry. No marriage,” the bookcase owner said.  “Naturally, the father fretted over this. What to do?  He had nothing of value that he could sell except his books. His books were very dear to him--like yours are to you--but he realized he had to sell them for his daughter’s dowry.   Over the years, the father had built quite a collection. So he stacked his books on the street outside his house and put them up for sale.  One by one, as people walked by, he began to have second thoughts.  That book is very special, he would think, and take it back into the house.  As the day wore on, he took book after book back into the house until there were no more books on the sidewalk, no sale and no dowry for his daughter.  She never married.

“That’s terrible!” I said, pushing my books closer to him.

 “So you see,” the owner said to me. “You’re making the right choice.”

A few days later, I got on a plane and flew south to be with the man I love.  Today, a quarter of a century later, I honor this story of books,  this story of time, this story of our marriage, and try to balance it all on this tiny nexus of today, this tipping point between yesterday and tomorrow. Today, 2011, my 25th wedding anniversary day.  1986. June 08. Boston. Gone. Here. Forever.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Bird of Grief, feature short story this month

I love the folks at Connotation Press.  A few months ago they published a piece from my search for home memoir (A Not-So-Ordinary Girl's Search for Home), and this month my short story: Bird of Grief.

Click the link (Bird of Grief) above and it will take you there.

Look around. You'll discover other wonderful pieces published there: poetry, drama, visual arts.  It's a great online site.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pets and a Poem by Wislawa Szymborska, Nobel Prize winner

A dear friend of mine lost her pet recently, a cat who lived to be 24 or so years old.   Anyone who has a pet, and anyone who has experienced this loss knows it can hurt more than losing a person--sounds crazy I suppose--but it's true.  Our pets know the most intimate details about us. Just think about it--they know who we sleep with, and they know our routines from waking to bedtime. They know our smells and sounds. They know who we allow in our home, and what we eat.  They travel around our rooms seeking sunny spots during the day, warm spots near radiators in the winter, and they are experts at taking on our most comfortable chairs.

This friend sent me a poem by Wislawa Szymborska, Nobel Prize winning poet. She didn't tell me this, but I'm guessing the loss of her dear pet led her to find this poem.

Why do our cats and dogs leave us so soon? Maybe to remind us that the present is where we should reside. Our pets remind us that every day matters, but beyond every day, they also bring something else into our homes--a sense of something other than our egotistic selves. This gorgeous poem calls up that something else.

A Few Words on the Soul
By Wislawa Szymborska (Polish Poet ~ winner of Nobel Prize for Literature 1996)
We have a soul at times.
No one's got it non-stop,
for keeps.  Day after day,
year after year
may pass without it.

it will settle for awhile
only in childhood's fears and raptures.
Sometimes only in astonishment
that we are old.

It rarely lends a hand
in uphill tasks,
like moving furniture,
or lifting luggage,
or going miles in shoes that pinch.

It usually steps out
whenever meat needs chopping
or forms have to be filled.

For every thousand conversations
it participates in one,
if even that,
since it prefers silence.

Just when our body goes from ache to pain,
it slips off-duty.

It's picky:
it doesn't like seeing us in crowds,
our hustling for a dubious advantage
and creaky machinations make it sick.

Joy and sorrow
aren't two different feelings for it.
It attends us
only when the two are joined.

We can count on it
when we're sure of nothing
and curious about everything.

Among the material objects
it favors clocks with pendulums
and mirrors, which keep on working
even when no one is looking.

It won't say where it comes from
or when it's taking off again,
though it's clearly expecting such questions.

We need it
but apparently
it needs us
for some reason too. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hello, Spring

Billie Hinton's wonderful post about writing space spurred me to report on my recent silence here. Since my father's passing in December 2010, I've been working on fiction and my memoir about my search for home.

I'll be back with more posts related to home (and writing, too) but am focused on finishing a collection of stories: Women In Bed.  I've published eight of the possibly nine stories that will complete the collection. The eighth story: "Bird of Grief" will be published in June by Connotation Press and will be their Feature Story of the Month. What an honor.

Now to what's really on my mind.

We have a plant in our house. (A total of two plants because I have a red thumb or whatever color thumb is the opposite of green.) This plant was a gift from my father when we moved into an apartment 15 years ago.  Gardening was my father's passion.

When my father gave us this plant, it was robust.  For two years it bloomed pink flowers that looked like fluted champagne glasses with feathers.  We moved to the city and the blooming stopped. But the plant kept on.  It grew leggy and sometimes looked wrinkled.  I tried placing it closer to the light, then further away.  No blooms.  I watered it more or less.  I transferred it to a larger container.  Nothing. More years passed.  This plant kept on but remained flower-less.

As I mentioned, my dad died this past December.

In February, after 13 years,  this plant started to bud then pop pink flowers!  It's still blooming. The flowers, slowly opening these past few weeks, are making their way around the circumference of the plant.

It's possible that there's a logical reason for why these flowers suddenly decided to appear after such a long dormancy, but I don't have one.

My father died at age 88.  He was a complicated, damaged soul, who found peace in the garden.

I plan to write a whole lot more about him.