Update, Thanksgiving day 2011

When i went to Afghanistan for the summer a few years ago, i took a guitar with me, thinking that the unfamiliar, impoverished, Eastern way of life might be grist for an interesting batch of new songs. And i was partially right; there was a trove of inspiration. But what i experienced there was so foreign, so unanticipated, and so far beyond my vocabulary or powers of expression that i returned home with not a single piece of music. To this day, i still haven’t written an “Afghanistan song.”  …  It wasn’t that my eyes weren’t open, or that i didn’t want to capture some sense of the place in lyric and music, it’s just that the task was bigger than my toolbox. Perhaps i just didn’t try hard enough; or perhaps i tried too hard to say too much. But it might just be that there are moments in life that are bigger than words, moments that are to be lived and felt without being

i’ve been asked several times, even today, if the past few months — walking through the cancer season with Gary — have prompted any new songs. The short answer is “prompted maybe; produced, ‘no.’” Especially today, on Thanksgiving, i find myself altogether unequipped to express the range of feeling — the joy and the sadness, the powerlessness and the hope, the emptiness and the fullness — that have been part of watching a friend wither away. i’m standing in a new Afghanistan, the difference being that this one has promise where the other was overwhelmingly despondent, that this one is strangely joyful where the other was understandably sad.

That said, i can only report that this Thanksgiving day has been different, mostly in very good ways, than any i’ve ever known, and i sense a gratitude that i can find no words to describe.

Short update on Gary: his condition is much what it was previously. Most days, he takes a morning nap, an afternoon nap, goes to bed early and is quite tired all the time. We’re not sure if that is chemo-related (he took a strong 5 day dose a couple of weeks ago) or the effects of the tumor. Gary remains in good spirits, still insists on desert after every meal, makes us laugh a lot, but is physically exhausted. His daily exercise is a short walk or two (maybe a hundred yards or so, with someone helping him maintain balance) though there are days when even that is a stretch. …  We visit the oncologist in a few days.

Our list of things to be thankful for today is lengthy. Good chance if you’re reading this, you’re on it. Thank you.