three years ago …

I am still trying to get to my father’s place in Northern California, fleeing the black mold house in Olympia, Washington. I am hoping for respite.

By August 3, 2013, I make it to Ashland, Oregon. There are fires near Grant’s Pass, wildfires burning out of control. On buildings next to the freeway hang signs for firefighters: We love you! Thank you! Bless you!

As an actor, I’ve always liked Ashland with its myriad theatrical events. I’ve always stopped there when driving to and fro California and Washington. I’d fill up on lithia water and walk through the forest-y park. Rest.

This time, coming off the highway, I saw a sign for Lithia Springs Resort: relax, soak, dream. Exactly what I need! By the stoplight, a beggar turned performer (or vice versa?) holds up a sign: SMILE! Instead of turning left into town, I drive straight through. They have one room left: the Water Lily Suite. My first name, Susan, means Lily.

I wait in an arbor while a sweet-faced Czechoslovakian woman cleans the room.

Hummingbirds. A multitude of hummingbirds flitting around, more than I’ve ever seen at one time. Here’s one sitting on a trumpet vine twig 20 inches from my face, cleaning her feathers. I’ve never seen one sit still. ZOOM! She and a friend hum by at mach speed.

Every step of this road is filled with miracles and wonders, helping me Home, wherever that turns out to be.

Earlier, I emailed my boss to tell her where I am. She knows about the toxic mold exposure, how I am fighting to breathe, fighting to live.

“Are you still standing?????” she asks.

“Yes,” I reply. I am. And that is a miracle and wonder, too.

I inadvertently scared a child this morning at the Holiday Inn buffet in Grant’s Pass, where I stayed the night. I was standing next to her at the omelet station and asked, “What is that?” I honestly didn’t recognize the eggs. My tone must’ve been off, because she turned away and walked over to her mother at the pancake station. I had just come from the computer room, a travail in and of itself. I’m still sweating out synthetic adrenalin. Poor kid. Poor me.

I’m slowly ratcheting down off the Ventolin, my jittery body finally calming enough to write. I appreciate it. I’m still ramped up, though: can tell by the speed of my writing. But I’m  in an officially healing place, a spa.

I need this: hummingbirds in trumpet vines, hot mineral water in which to soak my weary, overstimulated body. Quiet. Clean.

Each day is a tiny bit better.


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