Monday, September 12, 2005
Wild Kingdom

I spent some time this weekend in Lake Arrowhead. It is such a beautiful place with that cool, crisp air you only feel in the mountains. The sun felt glorious as it gently warmed my face. I enjoyed the chance to simply be out of my regular surroundings and feel life from a different perspective. If you stop for just a minute you can see, ever so subtly, the seasons are about to change. Of course, here in Southern California we have to look a little closer to notice the transition. I can feel life changing.

On the road up the mountain I saw a squirrel dart across the road. Of course seeing wildlife (as wild as a squirrel may be) is exciting when you dwell in suburbia. Seeing wildlife in Los Angeles typically amounts to a Malte Poo that has escaped a Louis Vuitton bag, so this was quite a treat, momentarily. Out of nowhere a big hawk swooped down and nearly grasped the squirrel in its sharp claws. The hawk ascended to the sky, claws empty; the squirrel darted, unscathed, under the brush. I braced my hand against the door and stared agape as I watched Wild Kingdom play out live in front of my eyes.

And as quickly as it happened, the tears rushed to my eyes as I released the air I was holding in my lungs. The moment of enjoying nature turned instantly and in my mind flashed images of me scampering across the road, trying to simply get to the other side, with cancer swooping out of nowhere with a ravenous appetite. Luckily I too darted into safety.

I know a time will come when I won’t view life from cancer goggles. A time when a weekend in the mountains will simply be a weekend in a beautiful setting where the air is clear and the sun is glorious. A time when my sister and I giggle like schoolgirls on their first sleepover. A time spent relaxing and growing in the safety of the brush. I know I can’t live my life searching for that place of safety, because that place does not exist in my reality. I only hope that there will truly be times when I can get away from it all and pretend I’m in the safety of the brush for just a little while. Unfortunately, for now, every time I emerge from the brush, I can’t help but look over my shoulder and wonder if the hawk is circling.

P.S. Fifteen days to new boobies!
Written by Jeannette Vagnozzi
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Name: Jeannette
Location: Southern California, USA

This is my story about being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39. I thought I was out of the woods, but four years late it came back. This is my quest to be a two-time survivor.

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