When families are family

What is the nuance of a family? It depends on the family I suppose. When things go wrong or bad things happen families can do one of two things. They can fall apart and lose themselves, or they can rally together and improve the situation.

I recently had a few scares within my family. One of those scares was a cancer scare with my dad. He is my stepdad, and we call him Pops. Pops has battled skin cancer off and on for years. It has never been melanoma but has always been basal cell carcinoma. We had a nurse once tell us that if someone was going to have skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma is the one to have since it doesn’t grow and spread quickly.

Sure, thanks I thought. However, now Pops has to have surgery to remove deep cancer on his nose and then he’ll need plastic surgery to reconstruct the huge pit left from the removal of cancer.

Pops was nervous and just wanted the entire situation done and over with already.

We went through the consultations with both the cancer specialist/surgeon and the plastic surgeon. After discussing the exact procedures needed both surgery dates were scheduled. Now, this might not seem like such a big deal to some of you, but for my pops and the rest of us, it was all new and nerve-racking. The hospital that each surgery would be performed is nearly two hours away. It would require us to stay four days in a hotel which is not cheap. My brother would come along as would I to help my parents. So, four of us would be there to support each other. We would make the best of the situation.

As many of you can surmise, four adults with entirely different personalities might get on each other’s nerves on occasion. Well, yes that could happen, and it did at times. With that said, isn’t that the nature of families? Through it all, we laughed, became irritated, and even frustrated, but remained steadfast in our loyalty and dedication to each other as a family unit.

It is times like this that families show the real sense of what it means to be a family.

You might be wondering how the surgeries turned out. They went well and at the moment pops is beginning the healing process. We didn’t lose our sense of humor through it all, though. In fact, we had thought of buying a set of nose glasses for all of us and wearing them in honor of my pops who now has a considerable crisscross bandage on his nose.

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Merry Christmas and a safe holiday season

I’d like to take this moment to wish all of those who celebrate Christmas a very merry Christmas. I also hope you all have a safe and happy holiday season. Whatever your traditions are, please hold them close. One of my family’s traditions is to open one gift each on Christmas Eve. Another tradition that we enjoy is drinking eggnog while driving through town looking at all the Christmas lights. Even the dogs come along for the ride. This is one tradition that we have not participated in for a few years, however, and I hope to get it started someday again.

alcohol alcoholic beverage celebrate
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The Glass Music Box

The Glass Music Box

What do people share

when they come together?

Perhaps it’s a glass of decadence

Bokeh Photo of Two Toast Clear Glass Wine Glasses

Cheers

 

Why do people stare

when they look at each other?

Perhaps it’s their reflection

Silhouettes of Couple Kissing Against Sunset

Spilling

 

Gears grinding, windows steaming

as they both climb into

A glass music box.

White and Black Mattress Fronting the Mountain

Thoreau, Nature, and a mirrored perspective of mortality

all is energy

Thoreau begins his book Cape Cod with the chapter “The Shipwreck” which is based on his own personal experiences, albeit a bit embellished, to make a point about the cycle of life and death. He begins his journey telling us that he doesn’t know much about the ocean when he writes “Wishing to get a better view than I had yet had of the ocean” (Thoreau). By this, we can easily assume that he is entering into unknown territory and we soon see that it is not only physically but also emotionally and spiritually.

His description of Cape Cod is compared almost entirely to the human body as if to say that humanity is as much part of the nature of Cape Cod as it is part of humanity. For instance, he writes, “Cape Cod is the bared and bended arm of Massachusetts: the shoulder is at Buzzard’s Bay; the elbow, or crazy-bone, at Cape Mallebarre; the wrist at Truro; and the sandy fist at Provincetown”. Perhaps we are to assume that Thoreau has an understanding of nature’s role in the world and maybe even a partnership with mankind.

However, as Thoreau journeys down the beach, it isn’t long before he reaches the area of a terrible shipwreck.  This seems to undermine his sense of security and we see that he actually fears the ocean’s power to rip apart an iron ship. “The largest timbers and iron braces were broken superfluously, and I saw that no material could withstand the power of the waves; that iron must go to pieces in such a case, and an iron vessel would be cracked up like an egg-shell on the rocks” (Thoreau). The death of ships leads to the death of men and Thoreau makes seemingly callous comments about the funerals of men leading us to speculate that death is something that Thoreau likes to distance himself from. He is not at all comfortable with death and blames nature for his discomfort with mortality.

However, he begins to think of life and death as two different shores, almost mirroring each other. One is physical and one is spiritual. “I saw their empty hulks that came to land; but they themselves, meanwhile, were cast upon some shore yet further west, toward which we are all tending, and which we shall reach at last” (Thoreau).  A man still physically alive learns to respect the nature that he travels upon, while a man who is only spiritually alive has gained respect from nature and is transported to a peaceful shore. We see that he begins to realize that mortality is a mere perspective of existence. Nature is not the enemy nor the beast, it is the part of us that shows us the way of life and the other spiritual life we associate with death.

In comparison, William Yeats’ “The Old Men Admiring Themselves in the Water” portrays nature as a reflection of hard lessons. Although, Yeats may also see nature as a mirror image of humanity. Mankind is both magnificent and unpredictable as is nature. As with Thoreau, Yeats gives us a sense of mortality in ourselves and immortality in nature “All that’s beautiful drifts away/Like the waters” (Yeats). When we think of fading beauty and drifting waters, we realize that even though water drifts away there is always more water to fill in but beauty never returns. Yet, there is a sense of oneness and spirituality in both Thoreau’s and Yeats’ view of nature. Both writers show great respect and admiration for nature and seek understanding of it.


Thoreau, Henry D. “The Shipwreck.” Thoreau, Henry D. Cape Cod. New York: The University Press, 1908. Chapter 1. Print.

Yeats, William Butler. “The Old Men Admiring Themselves in the Water.” 2002. Poetry Archive. Web. 6 August 2016.