“The Treasure is Gift” acrylic on watercolor paper, Cat Charissage (c) 2021

Hello my dear friends,

It’s the New Moon, and time for intentions for the waxing moon! Here’s mine: “I have peace about time, and a quiet confidence that I will finish my book in perfect timing, that there is no conflict between caring for myself and doing what I need to do. I focus on what is best to do and to be in each day in each moment.”

Burnwise and healthwise, I am healing, though much more slowly than I would like. Yet, the nurses who come to change my dressings say that I am healing so well, and so quickly! Methinks I have an unrealistic view of what is possible! My burns still hurt, and I’m still quite tired and easily aggranoyed (aggravated and annoyed): my burns itch as they heal, I’ve been covered in perspiration because of the oppressive heat, my jewellery annoys me, my bandages annoy me, my hair band annoys me, my hearing aids annoy me, and the fibro pain and sciatica have come back “home”! But other than that, I’m fine! Actually, I am so very glad to be here to tell the story, and to be home and healing.

I’m making an attempt to get back to my writing tomorrow, with the goal of a couple of hours of writing on most days! It took me almost two weeks to tidy my study up from the blizzard of “STUFF” that my guys had put in there while I was in the hospital. Trying to find places for books when all the places are full is especially challenging. I think I’m ready, I hope I’m ready, to get back into a bit of a routine. I actually went out by myself twice now —- though when I got into the car there was a panicked moment when I was afraid I’d forgotten how to drive. But I did remember, and all went well.

I made it home in time to attend our Owl Poetry Open Mic at the end of July, and I had written a few poems to debut there. I’ve included all four of them here, and I hope they give you a sense of what the last six weeks have been like in my life.

I hope that the rest of your summer is filled with just the right amount of sunshine, and just the right amount of people you love,

With much love and many blessings,

Cat

The Most Unexpected July

[Cat Charissage, July 2021]

Surprises happen.

I wasn’t planning on spending July

In the Foothills Hospital Burn Unit.

But trying to finish one more chore before going out for dinner —

Finally!  First time since lockdown —-

As I was pouring herbal infused oil and beeswax,

Just off boiling,

Into jars for precious First Aid Ointment,

The gallon and a half of boiling oil jumped

Out of the pot and baptized me —

Practically immersed me —

The beeswax glueing the hot oil to every part of hair, hands, 

Blouse, skin, pants, and feet.

Then slipping, I fell into the ointment.

Intended to be healing, but too hot to handle,

Instead it seared my flesh 

Shock.  Pain.  Searing pain.  Pull me out of the oil!  Quick!

Clothes off, get to shower, water too hot.

Bring pans of cool water, please!  Fast!

Oh my God!  Pain. Pain. Pain!  It hurts so bad!!

911.  Call 911!  Call 911!  It hurts so bad!!

Life Renewing, Rebuilding

[Cat Charissage, July 2021]

Three weeks watching dear body heal.

Life renewing, rebuilding,

Skin buds forming,

Looking like little mushroom forests colonizing the burned flesh.

Hands peeling, then hand skin peeling again, and again.

New pink flesh — so sensitive.

So exquisitely sensitive.

Deeper burns — lakes of oozing yellow fluid

On red flesh shores.

Disgustingly fascinating, 

Until I remember that’s MY breast!

That’s MY stomach!

That’s MY thigh!

Oh MY!  Oh MY!  Oh MY!

The call for surgery.

Dear body, trying so hard to heal, needs some help.

Sew together the skin over yellow canals,

Graft some skin, donated by my dear thigh,

Cover the oozing yellow lakes.

The first and greatest surgical success is that I wake from the anesthetic

To heal some more.

It’s hard to keep this good woman down!

My People, My Beloveds

[Cat Charissage, July 2021]

I saw the beauty, the blessing, the possibilities of Facebook, of email.

A short post, then an update,

And waves and waves of beloveds released their prayers, their healing energies,

Washing over and over and over me.

Thank you, I need this,

Thank you, you remember me,

Thank you, you care!

Thank you, I need this,

Thank you, you remember me,

Thank you, you care!

I calm.  And then I wonder.

Why?  Why so much pain?

Pain on top of pain on top of dear body living with pain

For so much of my life.

Why so much pain?

And then more pain?

No answer.

No answer.

Why?

In that direction madness lies.

Crawl back from why.  Crawl back from that edge.

Does it help, or does it just hurt more 

To know so many have suffered so many do suffer even more

Much more than I?  Why?

Don’t ask why! Don’t go there!

Crawl back from why.  Crawl back.

Know the love.

Rest in the healing energy.

Lean on the prayers.  Lean on the love.

Thank you, my beloveds, thank you.

Heart open.

Witches Heal.  Witches Burn.  

[Cat Charissage, July 2021]

Witches heal

Witches make potions

Witches burn.

Me, the descendant of witches and healers,

Making herbal ointments, even today,

From common weeds, common plants.

What we need to heal is around us.

What we need is surely around us.

I won’t be burned at the stake anymore,

But, a slip of the hand,

Too heavy a load,

Perhaps a bit of neuropathy,

And six liters of oil and beeswax, just off boiling,

Pour over my hands, my arms, my breasts, 

My stomach, my side, splash into my hair.

And then the slippery floor pulls me down

And I sit in burning oil scarring my seat and my feet.

Burned.  All over.

Even today, witches make potions,

Witches heal, 

And witches burn.

And witches rise,

Scarred, and strong.