Respite, with Whales
Our three week trip was, in part, a medical trip, and in part an experiment in living fully in the face of Walker’s MdDS.
The illness is not better, although she is more resilient in working with it. The only researcher on the planet studying this terrible affliction is at UCLA; we had an appointment with her that took us to the W. Coast.
With that as a starting point, we became resourceful. We put together frequent flier miles, a friend’s casita in Baja to stay in, good friends in Hawaii, and a daughter in SF into a respite experiment. It included our 27th anniversary (Feb. 2,) for which we wished to celebrate with a time-out from the busyness of the lives we have created. We were in need of the peace of wildness. We were ready for the jaw-dropping majesty of being with the most magnificent sentient beings the Earth has every birthed: the blue whales, greys and humpbacks of Baja and Hawaii.
It is, generally, our intention to push back on the limitations that Walker’s condition imposes on us. We are experimenting with the boundaries of what we can do, while also respecting the fragility of her nervous system. We took this trip mindfully and slowly, knowing this is necessary if travel is to be possible at all. My habitual urgency to experience everything is being gradually replaced by deep gratitude for Walker and appreciation for what each moment offers.
The UCLA doctor generously gave us three hours of her time, an unusual experience in medicine. It was helpful to get her perspective and her confirmation of Walker’s diagnosis. At the same time, there are no miracles on the horizon, no approaches to treatment that we’ve not thought of or already tried. This was not a surprise, nor even really disappointing. We are still facing what we’re facing; life sometimes shows up in inarguable facts.
Regardless of what did or did not happen at UCLA, we are more alive from declaring it important to be in the presence of 50 foot long highly intelligent whales, who live as they have lived for hundreds of thousands of years, and who celebrate, love their young, and thrive, for now, in a changing world. We are more alive from spending three weeks together, listening to what calls us, and being in wild places. We are more alive from experiencing ourselves as part of the whole of life: miraculous, changing, unfolding.
We are learning to let life live through us, enjoying the precious moments we have, being led by love.