I have a couple of bits of news to share, one part of which concerns my cancer journey and the other one is about a dramatic decision we have made about our future.
First, I am pleased to say I am feeling well and that subsequent to using the CellSonic machine I am completely free of any discomfort in my abdomen and feel very confident that it has done its job. However, the problem I have is that there is no easy way to know if it has or not, other than by a PET scan. Fortunately today I had a follow-up consultation with the surgeon I worked with last year, and he was more than willing to order a PRT scan as well as an MRI, so we should soon have an answer. I will let you know the outcome.
Second, as you may know, we have been splitting our time between America and England for nine years now. This has worked well for us while we had workshops and training to do in Europe. We actually bought a flat in England to use as our base. It became our home from home, and we loved living there throughout the summer months before returning home in the Fall. However, now that we have decided to stop doing workshops the need for us to have a permanent base in England is gone, and we cannot really justify the expense. We have decided, therefore, to sell the flat and resolve now to stay in Marietta year round. This is not to say we won’t come back from time to time to visit with family and our dearest friends, but we will no longer be residents as such.
From a practical point of view this makes sense, but emotionally it has been a difficult decision. There’s so much about living in Great Britain that we both love and value but, naturally, since it is my country of birth, I will feel the loss more keenly than JoAnn. I will especially miss the English countryside. Those of you who have spent time here, especially doing some of it on foot rather than just viewing it from the window of a coach, will understand why we feel this way about it. For those who haven’t had the experience, let me quote a paragraph out of a book by Bill Bryson, an American with a lot of affection for the British Isles who spends a lot of time walking around Britain chronicling his observations. Hopefully, you will get a sense of why we love it so much and will miss it terribly.
“Nothing — and I mean really, absolutely nothing — is more extraordinary in Britain than the beauty of the countryside. Nowhere in the world is there a landscape that has been more intensively utilized — more mined, farmed, quarried, covered with cities and clanging factories, threaded with motorways and railroad tracks — and yet remains so comprehensively and reliably lovely over most of its extent. It is the happiest accident in history. In terms of natural wonders, you know, Britain is a pretty unspectacular place. It has no alpine peaks or broad rift valleys, no mighty gorges or thundering cataracts. It is built to really quite a modest scale. And yet with a few unassuming natural endowments, a great of time, and an unfailing instinct for improvement, the makers of Britain created the most superlatively park-like landscapes, the most orderly cities, the handsomest provincial towns, the jauntiest seaside resorts, the stateliest homes, the dreamingly-spired, cathedral-rich, castle-strewn, abbey-bedecked, folly-scattered, green-wooded, winding-laned, sheep-dotted, plumply-hedgerowed, well-tended, sublimely-decorated 88,386 square miles the world has ever known — almost none of it undertaken with aesthetics in mind, but all of it adds up to something that, quite often perfect. What an achievement that is.
And what a joy it is to walk in it. England and Wales have 130,000 miles of public footpaths, about 2.2 miles of path for every square mile of area. People in Britain don’t realize how extraordinary that is. If you told someone in the Midwest of America where I come from, that you intended to spend the weekend walking across farmland, they would look at you as if you were out of your mind. You couldn’t do it anyway. Every field you crossed would end in a barrier of barbed wire. You would find no helpful stiles, no kissing gates, no beckoning wooden footpath posts to guide you on your way. All you would get would be a farmer with a shotgun wondering what the hell you were doing blundering around in his alfalfa.”
That’s what I shall miss. America has nothing to match it. If you are British, I’m sure you will commiserate with us in our grief but will wish us well as we take our leave sometime later this year. If you are American, we know you will welcome us home in the warm, friendly fashion we love so much about you and America. It is our home just as Britain has been for those 9 years and we love it too. It will be good to be home.