The Grand Adventure continues! Now with more Part VII!
So, it’s been a while. Not a whole lot has happened since I left you last, though I suppose my perspective of what constitutes “a whole lot” has changed some. I’ve moved into some new digs! Let’s talk about that.
I live in Pine Point, Maine, which is a small suburb of Scarborough (excellent!). It’s just south of Portland on a huge gorgeous marsh that meets several small creeks and the Nonesuch River with the Atlantic Ocean. My little bungalow sits on the northwest side of the point, looking out into the marsh, as seen here. At this time of year, the Scarborough Marsh is a gladiatorial arena for all things winged and leggy. There are hawks and cormorants and huge sun-blotting clouds of migrating birds that whirl shapes against the seagrass. There are also scores of egrets; an omen of an early Winter, says Mom (she’s usually right about these sorts of things). In the distance, the rail line runs diagonally out of the north. Freight trains pass in front of a backdrop of trees going off like the fourth of July, though the low rumble of the cars reaches the ears about 30 seconds late. The air is incredibly full and you can taste the brine. Occasionally, yes, the marsh does emit that soggy baby bottom funk, but having spent my childhood on a salt water creek, the musk of low tide is now a pleasant comfort, a piece of nostalgia. It’s weird.
This is all to say how unbelievably lucky I am. I sit here and look out into the marsh from a tiny second story room that I’ve converted into a music studio of sorts. My job is basically to not die. 10-4. But there are people I’ve met down at the cancer ward (it’s where the cool kids hang) that are not in the same scenario. One middle aged gentleman was there for a solid three hour dose of chemo, and then he was going back to work. Back to his job! And it’s because he had to, because he otherwise could not afford the co-payments of his medical bills. He has insurance, he’s paid a huge monthly sum for years, and yet when he gets cancer, the co-payments his insurance company bill him for are still so astronomical that he has to go back to work after getting pumped full of toxic chemicals.
So this is also to say how not lucky chemotherapy seems. It actually kinda blows. I am now a four plates into the twelve course meal of FOLFOX chemotherapy. Every other Monday I head down to the Cool Kids Cancer Ward (not it’s actual name, but I’ve started a petition to change that) and flirt with pretty nurses that check my pulse and then pour poison into my heart for two hours. Afterwards, they offer me fresh baked cinnamon buns and send me packing with my good friend Tonto. This is more or less how most of my relationships have functioned, so it all feels pretty normal. The side-effects though are hardly as song-worthy. I don’t really want to get into the nitty gritty, but the truth is chemotherapy is the equivalent of weeding your garden with napalm. It’s pretty much the worst thing I’ve ever done to my body. Yes, it seems to be burning the crap out of my cancer, or I assume it is, because it’s definitely scorching the holy hell out of everything else. My mind is fogged, my body aches and “power barf” is now a regular part of my daily verbage. I feel that in future years we will look back at chemotherapy the same way we now fondly recall knitting needle lobotomies. Science!
But I’ll survive. I’m playing by traditional western rules at the moment, but come February, we start doing this my way.
That’s all for now. I’m working on a new album here in my tiny house. Soon there will be snippets sent forth to keep you in the know. Maybe I’ll even get that website up and running. Stranger things have happened.
Be well, my friends. Take care of one another, that’s the whole point.
john fountain II