The incessant sound of water flowing through the downspout just outside my study grates on my already frayed nerves. Big black crows try to drown the noise with their loud squawks. But to no avail. Like me, the birds seem to be losing patience with the strident commotion. I can imagine, at any moment, the window panes shattering in response to the crush of a murder of birds smashing into the glass. But the birds almost certainly understand—as do I—that breaking the windows’ glass would have no effect on the unrelenting pandemonium caused by flowing water at war with unyielding aluminum. The temporary disruption would only make matters worse. Such chaos might send the crows into a frenzied rage. And I would follow in the paths of their massive wings. Police cars, their sirens blaring and their occupants waving guns, would converge in front of my house. Immediately behind them, a stream of veterinary ambulances would arrive to tend to injured birds. And a team of roofers would soon follow, tasked with removing gutters and downspouts, with the objective of restoring quiet to the cacophony. Depending on how disciplined—or undisciplined—the police officers might be, my life could be hanging on by a thread, thanks to the cops’ unrelenting discharge of their weapons in my direction. Downspouts can be dangerous. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.


While I was experiencing my downspout-inspired mental meltdown, the volume of water flowing through the downspouts dropped considerably, reducing the insufferable noise to tolerable levels. Gazing out at the trees, I wonder just how much water their leaves and branches must hold at this very moment. Though I see no obvious signs of strain, I suspect the branches and twigs and clusters of leaves are under an enormous level of stress. The weight of rainwater must be almost too much for the trees to hold. At any moment, the entire forest could collapse under the load. Squirrels and birds and all manner of other tree-dependent creatures could be crushed under the weight of water-logged leaves and branches. Moments like these cause me to consider the potential benefits of moving to prairies or deserts or other less lethal environments. But everyplace has its challenges. Only the emptiness of space has real appeal. Yet the absence of oxygen and the danger of being struck by asteroids argues against space as a retirement destination.


Halibut ceviche holds enormous appeal to me. The same is true of shrimp ceviche, tilapia ceviche, and various other kinds of seafood ceviche. “Cooking” various types of seafood in lime juice (that contains diced jalapeños, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, cilantro, and such) delivers a wonderful flavor that pleases my palate. Coupled with a nice New Zealand cabernet sauvignon, ceviche can transform a day from adequate to astonishing. I have not had ceviche in far too long. It it time to live again.


My visit to my oncologist yesterday was generally positive. In addition to getting lab work done, I was infused with a magical elixir that may or may not enjoy success in killing or otherwise keeping at bay cancer cells. And I got the news that I no longer (for now, at least) have to swallow two huge bricks of magnesium every morning. And I do not have to have magnesium in liquid form pumped into my body any longer (for now, at least). And no more need (now, anyway) for rather painful injections of some sort of deadly poison that has a side-effect of keeping my supply of healthy red-blood-cells sufficiently high. But I still have to return next Thursday for more labs to verify the legitimacy of eliminating drugs and drug-like poisons from my body. Hallelujah. For now, at any rate. I do not want to get too enthusiastic, too early.


I am hungry, again. It’s almost 8:30…almost too late for food. I’ll hurry, though, to avoid fasting for too many hours.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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