My Love/Hate Relationship

Ripening up.
(photo P Volker)

I think that this is a first. I received a request to write a blogpost on a specific topic. Henriette and I have a weekly phone date and we kibbutz about writing or Catholicism or whatever. At some point I told her that the blackberries were ripe. And she went off, as in a rant, about what a pain they were, the blackberry plants that is. About how they just want to take over her backyard. How she has to pay her landscape guy so much to try and make progress against their encroachment. Yes, yes, I hear you.

I myself have fought the war against the blackberry bramble juggernaut for decades now. I’ve used curses and flames and shovels and tractors, everything short of poisons. Yes, I normally rant Henriette, don’t feel alone. This particular species is commonly called the Himalayan
Blackberry and is an invader to this local environment. It is not indigenous and is running amuck over our landscape hither and yon.

But not long ago as I sat and contemplated my cancer I began to study this particular blackberry. I was slowly starting to see and appreciate the beauty of it. I was seeing beauty in it’s negatives as well as it’s positives, is that possible? Yes, it is!

It is easy to see beauty in positives. The blackberry flowers are beautiful and loved by the thousands of local bees. The fruit is luscious and bountiful and requires zero care to produce, zero. If we harvest 5% of the berries on this ten acres we will be doing almost the impossible. I am sure that there are other positives but I don’t see them after fighting the decades of fighting.

But how about the negatives? How to find beauty in something that is so evasive as to be viewed by most local landowners as borderline evil? If I can get away from the landowner mentality and see this plant with new eyes I find it to be truly amazing in it’s power and tenacity. The more I looked at it the more I began to appreciate it. And beyond, I started thinking that is what I need in regard to my cancer. What if I, if my mind, body and spirit exhibited that kind of power and tenacity? What if I could cobble together that kind of life force energy in my challenges with my cancer? All of a sudden I had a new mentor!

Maybe more on this to come. So much to learn!

the best in love/hate loves, Felipé.

14 thoughts on “My Love/Hate Relationship”

  1. Exactly.
    Love /hate, yup, but I too am finding love wins— IF we can look through the lens of the “other”, be it human, plant, animal, rocks… anything. It’s truly “all good”, Or at least understandable from an intentionally compassionate frame of mind. The rewards of aiming to see through the “other’s” lens are immeasurable, right?

    1. Steve-O ~ exactly exactly! Right, I love your line of thinking and you expanded on my idea. At the level I was dealing I was enjoying the pure raw savage energy of the blackberry. I find that with my cancer too. I can find it in me to admire it for that same thing. I want some of that energy! Will connect you with olive man. Felipé.

  2. In a way the bramble reflects a sort of pseudo dualism which at the bottom is one;fall into a bramble bush and you’ll be torn to shreds,eat it’s fruit and it’s beautiful so the same thing has many faces but remains the same.perhap cancer is like this ultimately it has it’s root like everything else is a tiny super compressed singularity that expand into the web of space/time we live in now.

    1. Kevan ~ hello! Yes, you are super with words but yes. I admire the blackberry for its raw power and I want some of that. I guess I am getting beyond the dualism when I start seeing that, yes. Just thoughts form the mud. Felipé.

  3. There is,I suspect,at the root of begin no dualism? dualism begins with the flow of the universe things splitting what the ancient philosopher, Plotinus,saw as emanations from the Platonic one the energy getting denser as it flows down the chain of being.The Gnostics saw matter as evil or at the very best the creation of a misguided God but it is capable of great beauty too so reflects the hidden mind of the One so cannot,in my view,be inheritally evil.

    1. Thanks Kevan for your thoughts on this. I always appreciate some excitement in the Comments. Let me ask are you here in Washington State? Always love to meet folks in person. Keep in touch, Felipé.

  4. No very far from Washington State!as I was raised in South Africa,Pietermaritzburg,but live in England now, the north east part of it.theres a Washington,a 1960s new town although probably built around an original village of the name, near here but I don’t think that it’s particularly interesting hardly Washington DC (or Washington State!).I think that Boston is as close as I’ve ever been to Washington State in the USA although I’ve been to Missuga, Ontario and Acapulco, Mexico both of which are a tad closer on the west latitude lines front.

    1. Kevan ~ ahh, interesting. We are all so lifted out of place these days with email and such. Anyone could be anywhere at any time. Tell me how we got together? My chemobrain is not cooperating with me on that one. I grew up in Buffalo, NY which is just across the Niagara River from Ontario but that was ages ago. Thanks for being here. Felipé.

  5. I’ve been to Montreal too in Canada and some towns around Boston which are technically separate,like Cambridge,but real sort of suburbs although not governed by Boston council.oh Providence,Rhode Island too plus I suppose I could count New York City and Houston as I’ve been off at their airports.up to 93 countries under the belt now but since the discovery of 2b mycosis fungicides on the 6th of December 2019 I’ve laid low on international travel although I did get to Jordan in October 2019.very expensive to get travel insurance once diagnosed with cancer.I suppose if I just went somewhere like France I’d risk it but somewhere like Brunei is very risky with no insurance.

    1. Kevan ~ Yea, it is a different world now. Not the same old game. We will work on being creative in the meantime. How is your spirit considering all this? Felipé.

  6. Thank you for spirit is reasonably good and I’m in the slow process of taking early retirement now, I’m 56, the process has been slowed down by coronovirus.i think that it began in 2006 and I was sitting on a rock on a hillside in Montenegro and I noticed little blisters on my hands and feet.i was worried about it being scabies which obviously carries a stigma plus you have to burn your clothes and bedding (expensive!)but the doctor when I got back said no it’s ezecma and so it went on until 2018 when the hospital decided to patch test me and I didn’t react so they decided it was psoriasis.i now realize,with hindsight, I was going through stages 1a/b and 2a of mycosis fungoides.shortly after the psoriasis misdiagnosis about 5 lumps appeared on my left hand,some huge and another misdiagnosis this time as ORF a vital disease mainly of sheep and goats!one lump went by itself but I had to have my finger amputated and my thumb is stuck in a straight out, shame I’m not a hitchhiker!, position.finally after loads of biopsies they found the cause ;mycosis fungoides at stage 2b.obviously like most people I’d never heard of mycosis fungoides before as it’s a pretty obscure cancer.a shame it wasn’t detected earlier but would it have made much difference as it seems impossible to cure and 80 odd percent of people don’t progress beyond 1a so I don’t think that much research has been devoted to it as not enough people have the advanced serious 2b and up where it’s regarded as life threatening.

    1. Oh Kevan, that sounds grueling. We often wonder why we are the lucky winners of our maladies. It sounds like you are hangin in there as they say. That is the important part! And I am curious, how did you get to do all that traveling? I haven’t sat on a rock in Montenegro lately. Thanks, Felipé.

  7. I did a degree in theology at Oxford but unlike my peers didn’t end up in a high flying job in the city of London,too many questions about the mysterious universe and it’s origins I guess not that I’ve ever found any answers, and took a job with the railways and we have free travel on most railways in Europe so off I went! crossed the Artic Circle on a train in Norway and Sweden.i ran out of new countries in Europe so then had to fly to places like Australia and New Zealand after a certain distance land /sea travel becomes impractical.the 7th continent, Antarctica, remains elusive although at the moment travel is at a premium for everyone.

    1. Kevan ~ wow, sounds interesting. Honored to have you on board. Our Historian for the blog is an Oxford grad also. We will have to get you guys together. She is busy now trying to boil down all the material of six years of this blog,which is approximately two Don Quoxite’s in length, into something of normal book length. Anyway we welcome you and wish you the best with your challenges. For now, Felipé.

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