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The Wild Hunt

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I have to be up for work in 4 hours. It’s not enough sleep. So I’m going to write.

Today was chemotherapy again. Again. I just ignore it as best as I can. Sometimes it’s easy.

Today was not one of the easy days though.

I accept this. This, too, shall pass. I learned I must be patient and not look at the Wild Hunt as it nears. Close my eyes and ignore the glamour. The true meaning of glamour. The inability to look away, the hypnosis of terror. You can’t stop your ears from hearing or your senses from purling in fear, washing up like filthy foam squeezed out of your atavistic old brain.You will deny this truth. That there is a Wild Hunt.

It is in me.

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The Wild Hunt. It’s an old legend, who knows where it came from. Ireland Scotland France Germany, there are versions of it everywhere. The hunt of the faerie Queen with her court of young men. With sharpened teeth and screams for blood, they roam on wild nights, seeking who knows what. Sometimes, finding a weak person, alone and ill, they will steal you away.

One can hear the hoofbeats of the drunken horses and the shrieks of laughter and sexual ecstasy. The Wild Hunt…I was wondering last week, during a long drenching rain, late at night….I wondered. If I heard them.

The ground was warm. It’s been so hot here. Brutal for we Pacific Northwesters. 80+ degrees…no wind. Still and hot. For days on end. Then wildfires…always the wildfires in the mountains. We all look up at the sky and pray that the rain will make it over the mountains to the east and put out the fires.

This time the rain came. Our collective prayers were answered. It was late at night. It had been building up and building up…all day you could feel the dampness, a breathe that was warm and wet, gentle. Not even enough to stir your hair. But as darkness fell the clouds coalesced and dispersed, came together and faded away. The moon was huge and it lit the clouds. You could hear ‘sheeeeeee’. The sound of the big trees. But to me it sounded like ‘Sidhe’. That’s how you pronounce it. At least the very few times I heard it. Sidhe.

Faerie.

I went into the field beside the house, feverish maybe. I couldn’t get cool enough in my bedroom. The wind was coming from the wrong direction, exactly the wrong direction. I could feel it if I leant out the window but I wanted to have that cool wind rush through me. Cool me off. Brush me clean. And then I heard the rain coming. It’s so lovely. That sound. When it’s been so hot and you hear it heading towards you…you would have ran out too.

I didn’t put on my slippers. I couldn’t find them in the dark of my room and I thought I would just step out onto the verandah. Just feel the wind and rain. Just for a moment…

…and when the rain came, it was warm. Soft. Just some drops. Big and warm. They made a sound as they hit and splashed up. I wanted to be in the field. On the grass. The ground itself was like a heating pad, the grass was warm, the dirt soaked up the first drops like an open mouth. And so did I.

It felt so good.

I only was few drops, a gust and then the moon went out like a snuffed candle and the rain crashed down. A wonderful hard summer rain. I think I screamed and laughed. It felt so good.

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Then I heard a sound like drumming hooves. It was the rain hitting the ground. Of course it was. The scream was an echo of my own shriek, that echo of desperate joy, that seeking scream that made me want to run. No where. Just run. Find it. That thing. FIND IT!! There was something there. I needed to find it.

But the first step I took reminded me that I don’t run these days. I stepped on a stone. A pebble…something. It brought it all crashing back onto my shoulders. I was sick. I have neuropathy in my feet. It was exquisite pain.

And the hoofbeats seemed real now. I couldn’t run with them or away from them. I didn’t even know if I was scared. I just stood there with my eyes closed. I waited.

I wanted to turn around and see the Wild Hunt stream down the field from the forest behind the house. I wanted to see the silver horse and the Queen, with her feral sharp teeth, her inhuman eyes, glittering and see her mouth, opened in a howl of ecstasy and rage. To be the object of the Hunt.

To feel the glamour.

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But what if I turned and it wasn’t there? I preferred not to turn around. I stopped on the steps. I want to believe that the drumming was the hoofbeats of the Queen’s Court, that the sound I heard in the wind whipped trees, ‘sheeeeeee’ was actually ‘Sidhe’. That’s what I wanted to believe.

Because I have a portacath. It’s all too real. It’s a long, flexible, slender type of needle, for lack of a better word, that goes into the vein near my heart. There is a slit opening in the skin of my chest near the top of my right breast and the port loops up over my collarbone and disappears behind it, slipping down into the big vein.

I have an infection in the portacath. Which leads to my heart. They can’t wash it out or open it and clean it or touch it even. They don’t want anything to go into that vein so close to my heart. They just want the antibiotics to work. Antibiotics when I have a suppressed immune system. Hah…They won’t risk the infection taking hold, they can’t stop the chemo right now…so now I have to be so careful. So so careful.

All these drugs, they make me feel sick. They make me restless and nauseous. Exhausted and thirsty, dry as a desert stone. Empty feeling. Unfocussed. Unmotivated and uninspired.

Ugly.

But I heard the Wild Hunt and I turned away. It was beautiful.

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20 thoughts on “The Wild Hunt

    • Love you too. Starting to get a hold of this treatment cycle, starting to feel better about it. It’s just that feeling, that I’m wasting time. I’m wasting a summer again. I hate that feeling. I want to ride my bike and drink beer and play badminton. Fuck this disease. But since that wild night, I actually feel better about things. More in tune. I think I’ll start another book-this one about The Sidhe. And how I out ran them. Hah!

  1. Laura Lynn,
    I will pray the antibiotics take care of the infections and that the chemo drugs are successful in hunting down and killing the cancer cells. Stay centered my friend!
    Patrick

    • Thank you Patrick for your kind words and prayers. You know they mean a lot to me. Trying to stay centered is so hard sometimes. I find myself trying not to think of anything rather than wallow in negativity but there’s got to be a middle ground, right? Centered…

      • There is a center. Staying there is very difficult when you have a life altering event like yourself. I know this from having been the caregiver for a cancer patient. A member of my support team recommended a book titled “Full Catastrophic Living”, which at the time described my life. The book teaches one how to be mindful of their thoughts and their body. I am reading it again to remind myself of the fact that I do have a center in the midst of the storm I’m in and I can choose to be in the moment. It is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. I would be happy to buy you a copy and have it sent to you. Just send me an email and it will be on its way.

  2. I have to say…I think this was one of your best posts. Ever. And that’s tough competition. I hope the infection has now done it’s worst. And failed. Is it negativity or honesty? The second is treasure. Sending love and more summer rain…. xxxxxxx

    • So nice to feel the urge to write again. And participate. I am taking a couple of days off of work to try and feel better. Rest and water and calm…and there are rain clouds forming again outside. Hoping for thunder tonight.

    • I am taking my last course of antibiotics at 6pm tonight…DONE with them and the infection is under control. This has been a tough last couple of weeks. Heat, infection, chemo, work, side effects….it’s just murder some days. But I am hunkered down and waiting for better days. And summer rain. xoxxox

    • Hugs and kisses you darling thing. Settling for just getting through this. Head down and listening to the ricochets, that’s what I’m settling for. Hoping for better in the future.

  3. You dug deep for those words, Laura. Or maybe not. Maybe they were easy to access because the cancer has sliced up the ground under your feet and your feelings are all scattered about.
    In Ireland we have a saying when something is improved or better that it is “right as rain” because rain does that, makes everything right. Therefore may it rain biblically on you, Laura, and make everything right.
    Lovely to read your words again!
    XO!

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