We start with gratitude.
Without small presses I couldn’t share. Unable to share, I would be trapped.
Mute. And probably rather terrified.
We found a planet yesterday and since then, it’s pretty much all I have been thinking about.
There’s a game that I play, that I’ve played since I was a kid.
I call it Zooming Out.
It’s a simple game. You picture yourself from above.
Here is Ally, sitting on the stone ledge. You zoom out.
Here is the ledge at the library. You zoom out.
Here is the library on Eastern Parkway. Zoom out.
Here is Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn
Brooklyn on the end of that long island
That long island at the end of the state
NY State in the country
The country on the planet
The planet hanging in space in the solar system
The solar system a mote of dust in the wide sweeping arm of the milky way
and then the milky way, just a cluster of stars and hearts and lives; a little speck in the universe.
Here is the never ending universe.
I am so small and it is so big.
On my walk home yesterday, the setting sun casting the sky in a perfect perfect vanilla and red swirl, I thought about this new planet. About our planet hanging out there in space, filled with all our noise. Everyone who has ever lived or who will ever live, has lived on this speck of a planet (so said Carl Sagan). And out there all those other planets, alone, maybe inhabited, unable to talk or find another planet to reach.
All of us feeling alone together.
This new earth they found is too far for us to ever reach, spectacularly existing.
I have been thinking about the Cleaving lately. About the separation of mind and body that happened with my cancer diagnosis. About the blame. About how I have raced through the litany of questions. Did I eat the wrong things? Did I drink too much? Did I not exercise enough? Do I just have bad luck? Is it a gene they haven’t found? Am I being punished? Could I have worked harder? Been more careful? More honest? More better?
All the time I heave my heavy heart onto the silver cold scales for weighing and judging. Each month when I go to the doctors for treatment, I am again assessed. Have I lost enough weight? Is my estrogen low enough? Is it enough? Am I doing enough?
And these are all questions to avoid the big question:
Will my cancer come back?
This is my mind. This is not my body.
My body is a different thing. A thing that only gets center stage at times. Like when I run. Because then I am only water, blood, sinew, tissue, bone, good hard strong bone, muscle, jelly organs, cells. A pumping functioning complex machine of a thing.
And this is how it has been since last last June.
My mind OR my body.
Never both. This is the Cleaving.
Except the other day, I was outside and after writing in my journal, I laid down on the stone ledge, music in my ears, a woman’s voice, the strum of guitar and it started to rain. Not a lot. Just a little bit, the kind of rain that feels like little tiny kisses everywhere.
And it happened.
I was IN my body. My mind found my body, like a reunion of sorts. I could feel the air, the rain, I could hear the little singing woman in my ears, I was no longer two things.
I was just Ally again. The two halves lined up like they used to – like they were always meant to do.
It was brief but it happened.
It makes me think that it could happen again.
That my mind and my body – like two planets – will find a way to communicate. To bridge all that empty space in between.