manna from heaven

Around me all the colors burn bronze and copper except the evergreens, which are as deep and verdant as they were back in spring. Fading splotches of blood-crimson spatter smoldering stands of trees that edge the fields. When a gust comes up, dead leaves fall like huge yellow snowflakes carpeting the ground in a crispy layer of gold. I stand in the center of a lea where the wind, not quite cold not quite warm, fingers through my hair.

Around me, the young athletes with their knee-high socks and neon jerseys, jockey balls across the turf with great skill. I think of my son, now ten, just beginning to walk well enough for me to, at times, let go of his hand, his harness. Then I think of my mother whose balance is becoming as precarious as Calvin’s once was not long ago and I imagine the crisscrossing of their paths, hers dwindling ... and his? I remember as a youth being spry and sure and thinking I could do almost anything—climb trees, scale mountains, ski black diamond, tackle brutal waves, jump off of cliffs—and that my body would oblige. For some, like my son and my mother, every step is a risk and, if they were cognizant, perhaps a leap of faith.

Last night was another rough one, Calvin rousing every hour after three-thirty. I wasn't sure if his awakenings were little seizures, partly because he’d turn and wrap his arms around my neck before falling back to sleep, which he doesn't usually do after seizures.

When I put him on the bus I told Cindie, his driver, that he had had a good morning and that I had started him on a second kind of cannabis oil, one high in cannabidiol (CBD).

“I don’t even know how much to give him,” I told her.
“Try anything,” she said compassionately, then shut the doors and took off while my boy patted the window as if waving to me.
"Bye Calvin, I love you!" I shouted, as I do every morning.

I’m starting Calvin's new cannabis oil at a microdose, far less than all but one person have recommended. Less is more, I think to myself, and I remember all of the pharmaceutical drugs we've thrown at this little boy of ours and how I've always been so cautious, dubious and reluctant to increase doses too quickly or too much at once, even in the face of a doctor's recommendation. I know that this tack I’m taking by giving my son homemade cannabis oils to control his seizures is a leap of faith to some extent. But, like when I was young, I feel confident, sanguine, and I try not to be deterred by fear. Besides, what could be worse than the drugs he's already tried? Nada.

Around me acorns drop from the trees and I crush them beneath the heal of my boot. With each cracking husk I release a little anger, angst, frustration, which I feel bubbling beneath the surface of my own shell. Above me the clouds roll in displacing the clear blue and I wish it would just rain, wish it’d pour, and if it did I think I’d stand right out in it and let it drench me to the bone. I just want a new start, want to erase the years of damage that the seizures and the drugs have done to my son, wish I could know what he would have been like without them.

Maybe this cannabis is like a fresh start. Manna from heaven, I think, even though I don’t believe in heaven beyond the one I see in the night sky, in the amber, carmine and russet leaves falling around me, in my son’s blue eyes and the feeling of his fingers at the back of my neck, like the wind tussling my hair.

photo by Michael Kolster


  1. The longer I'm in, the more I believe that everything is about the present, even down to the moment. That makes the past moot. And the future. Do it. Do it not to "undo" or to fix down the line. Do it now for now.

  2. I watched the video that Elizabeth mentioned in her latest blog post. I am thankful that my daughter does not have epilepsy, which sounds awful but I don't think I would have survived watching my daughter go through that year after year. It's hard enough to have her as she is. We don't know each other but sending hugs anyway. Take care woman. What you live through everyday is just effing hard.