Mid-November and the leaves have floated off from their moorings, swept up again into the sky's ocean by unseasonably mild winds, then settling curbside in elongated piles, anchored by the rains. Here are some of my favorite views of the season.
This year, my husband Barlow joined Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) Marathon team to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis (MS). He was inspired to do so because of our dear friend, Susan, who has been living with a progressive form of MS for 25 yrs. The money Barlow raises will go toward MS research at BWH.
Susan went to law school with Barlow and is a graduate of Mt. Holyoke. When I first met her, she was working at a top law firm in NYC and then at Universal Studios in California. She loved sports and physical activity--tennis, volly ball, biking, and hiking. She volunteered to help kids compete in the Special Olympics. But, MS caused her to retire early. Today, Susan needs a wheelchair and can no longer type on her computer.
Yet, even after her retirment due to MS, she served for 13 years on the National MS Society's Board in California, and then in Oregon, where she now lives. For six years in a row, she was the #1 fundraiser for the Souther California MS chapter, and one of the top two fundraisers in Oregon for the MS walk. In total, Susan has raised over $300,000 for MS research.
On a personal level, you can imagine how much Barlow and I desperately want to help Susan and BWH find a cure for MS.
Susan is also an award-winning poet
I'm so proud of Barlow for training this past winter, running in single-digit weather, across difficult, snowy terrain. But none of it compares to the terrain that Susan has had to cross these past 25 years. She inspires us every day.
--as does Brigham and Women's Hospital for being ahead of the curve since its inception, finding cures for diseases that once seemed impossible to treat. My
bone marrow transplant in 1979 is certainly an example of that. I believe that BWH will do the same for MS.
It's officially spring with the arrival of the equinox (and a solar eclipse and a super moon), and I don't care that it's snowing outside this morning or that there are still icy snow banks clinging to the backs of sidewalks across the city.The planet has tilted. We're on our course toward warmer continents of sun and light and greening pastures. The season of renewal has begun. Gratitude!
Did you know that this week is MS Awareness week? (I didn't know it, either.) But here's what I do know. This is a photo of my husband, Barlow Keener, who is running the Boston marathon this year (April 2015) to raise money for MS and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. In this picture, he is running in single digit winter weather. Every weekend he goes out for a long training run--10, 12, 18 miles.
He was inspired to do this because of our dear friend, Susan, who was diagnosed with MS about 25 years ago. She has an aggressive form of MS and is now in a wheelchair, but her heart, mind, and spirit energize us daily.
There is so much I love about Susan. She is the kind of friend that forms an essential base structure in my life. I call her for advice, for laughs, for insights, for the feeling I have around her because she's known me for so long. She's also multi-talented--an award-winning poet, a former lawyer for Universal Studios, a singer in an all-woman's choir in Eugene, Ore.
I hope you'll consider donating to Barr's fundraising effort. He's more than halfway to his goal of raising $7500. You can donate $5, $25, $100--or simply cheer him on by sharing this link with others who might have someone in their family or extended friendship circle who is living with MS. Click link to donate.
I'm not sure a picture is worth a thousand words today because this picture can't tell you how the storm feels when it's spraying against your cheeks and eyes and lips, or what it tastes like--icy metallic on your tongue. But words can. Words can say what your boots feel like when they're sliding over lumpy snow, or how the wind feels against your shoulders when it's nudging you sideways, then bumping you hard a few times for good measure to remind you that you are small in the manner of insignificant. Words can tell you how the storm can blind you if it wants to in a slap of show dust; and how it can yank a shovel out of your hands in a gust of exuberance, tipping you off balance. And, they can tell you how--back inside, warm and feeling safe, soup on the stove--the storm has a wound: your windows are rattling, your walls are humming. The sky is vibrating throughout your house.
"Jessica Keener is a master of immediacy-I started to become intimate with her heroines on the first page of each story." Edith Pearlman, winner of the National Book Critics Award "Demonstrates a versatile voice and ability to deliver as much exquisite detail as the stories' brevity will allow." Publishers Weekly. "Poignant, surprising, funny, and gorgeously written." Chosen as one of ten winter reads by Shape magazine "Stories are memorable, deep and haunting." Digital Journal
We had more than two feet here in Boston and more is headed our way. But it's February, a short month, and then I can begin the countdown for spring. In the meantime, from one day to the next the sky fills with snow (on the left) and once it's released and the sun returns, it is extra bright with light reflecting off all the crystalline surfaces on the sidewalks, roads, rooftops.
January. We begin again and though in some ways it's a contrived beginning, I think the New Year reminds us that it's possible to make changes in an hour, in a minute, if we want that change badly enough. On New Year's eve, a few friends joined my husband and me for homemade spaghetti and meatballs and scrabble, accompanied by Dylan's Free Wheelin' and Newport Jazz Festival's 50-year birthday celebration CD (Sarah Vaughan, Coltrane's Favorite Things). Here's the center of this flower that is packed with beginnings. To me, it almost looks like a birthday cake with yellow candles ready to be lit up.