I keep disappearing, but for good reasons. We've been spending a lot of time going up at what we're referring to as "the Ridge." It's an adventure just getting out there. Like when we had to stop and encourage this big black snake off our road so we could pass.
We've mostly been trail-building and getting to know the land. It's so incredibly peaceful out there.
Everything is getting named, an Icelandic tradition I find appealing. My husband named this stump the Octopus Eye. But do you see what's growing at the base of it and over the top? Poison ivy, my long-time nemesis. I've been pulling lots of it out by the roots and even though I wore gloves and long sleeves, I wasn't nearly careful enough. I ended up with it ALL over my arms and face. I finally gave in and got a prescription for prednisone, but by then it was healing. I was glad I had it though because...
this happened next. The mosquitoes absolutely ate me up, right through my clothes. I counted 80 bites and then stopped counting. And every one of them itched like crazy. So I spent last week taking the prednisone and long cool baths in water with vinegar added. Today I was finally feeling human again, so we were back out there this morning. We've invested in some mosquito repellent with DEET and permethrin to treat our clothing. I don't think I got a single bite today.
I am no longer bringing back bags of poison ivy for trash pick up because I don't want to risk getting it in my car. Instead, I pull it up by the roots, drop it on the ground to die, and throw my gloves and clothing straight in the wash when I get home. I'm also clearing out loads of Japanese wineberry, an exotic invasive plant that has some hellacious prickers on the stems.
Those weird prickly pods of the wineberry actually open up into tasty berries, but I don't want a non-native plant crowding out the native blackberries we've also discovered growing along the trails. This photo was a couple of weeks ago, and we're starting to find more ripe ones on the vines.
And we have blueberries, too! I'm very excited about that.
I've been using leather gloves to pull out the wineberry and then I jam it into the back of the car to drop in the curbside pick-up at home. I curse a lot while I do this task because the prickers are so sharp they often get right through the leather. But I'm nothing if not determined.
And once in a while, we stop at the winery just down the road, to sit outside under the awning and have a glass of their old vine Zinfandel. It's supposed to storm all day tomorrow, so I'm already counting the days until we can go back next weekend.
I took a little break from blogging because I've discovered that the anniversary of my mastectomy puts me into a bit of a funk. It's hard not to relive the increasing fear I felt as the day approached and then the day itself. It was one of those times when as bad as I was imagining, it was worse. Much worse. And it has definitely changed me forever. Ans as there is no cure yet for invasive breast cancer, you can't ever actually say you are cancer-free. Instead the term is No Evidence of Disease. I count my surgery day as the first day of being NED because, with clean margins and no discernible lymph node involvement, that was the day all known cancer was removed from me. The chemo and endocrine therapy that has followed is to delay any recurrence. I pulled myself together after letting myself sink into the memories a bit, and re-focused myself on gratitude for each day I've been given. So we sat out on the deck that evening for a little celebration of this bittersweet anniversary, of being 2 years NED.
Damn this pandemic. I can't tell you how much I wanted to be in Savannah this past weekend attending my brother-in-law's ordination and consecration as the new Bishop. So instead of being part of all the festivities, we watched the very-scaled back service live on-line.
It is a very moving ceremony and my husband and I both started crying almost immediately.
When priests and bishops are ordained, they prostrate themselves while the Prayers for the People are being read. It's an act of submission and humility.
My sister, his wife, did one of the readings in the service. Those who were allowed to be present were masked except when reading.
The ordination of a Bishop in the Episcopal Church requires the laying on of hands by at least three other Bishops.
The sermon was given remotely, by a priest who had such a warm, joyful manner (and I wish I'd gotten a better screen shot of her smile), that I found myself thinking I'd have loved to have her as a priest.
His first act as the new Bishop was to serve communion. Because of the virus, it was bread only, without the usual communal chalice of wine. I was an acolyte as kid and later a lay reader and lay Eucharistic Minister, so the service is so familiar to me that I could recite the liturgy in my sleep.
I've known my brother-in-law since we were both 19 and he was just the goofy kid dating my sister. And he still is that playful guy. But he also takes his priesthood seriously.
The day after the consecration, he was using his first full day as Bishop demonstrating with other priests at a protest over the murders of George Floyd and other Black men and the Administration's shameful response. I may have left the beliefs I was raised with behind, but I can still respect someone walking the walk.