I was up at 4:30 am to water the gardens and exhaust Sheba before Patsy picked me up to take me to the eye clinic in Nanaimo. Sheba had to spend her first extended time left alone.
Seeing Dr. Goad was, in a word, efficient. I have a cataract and so the lens in my right eye will be replaced in a simple operation. I asked for a tranquilizer because I’ll be awake. I see the surgeon July 5th but the operation is likely to be a long way off. In the meantime, I can only read if I shut one eye.
Imagine needing surgery and being afraid of it. A friend from way back in my life whom I admired and with whom I shared a love of sailing was in that situation. He shared his anxiety about of surgical repercussions with his friends. Then, as a result of his surgery, he died; he had a massive heart attack. Death—loss—is a dreadful thing to experience. To lose someone to his expressed fear is worse.
Just weeks ago another friend passed away because he chose not to have a heart transplant and I found that very hard to parse—but no more.
As this old man looks back, there are two past experiences that :
1. Walking in France. What I did not anticipate was how wonderful I would feel to have everything I needed in my knapsack on my back. Valderee, valderah, valder ahhahaha. I never felt better and freer than I did with nothing and no responsibilities except to keep walking.
2. Going to Africa and India. What has stayed with me and infuses my life almost every day is the memory of being the only person awake and out walking at four-to-five am each morning, filling my senses and reflecting on my life and it’s purpose while the roosters and peacocks crowed and the lions roared. People develop deep affinities for inanimate things; they have passionate allegiance to specific foods or flowers, gems or scents. I have an unaccountably strong attachment to remote locations that have an important place in the history of mankind and faith.