Mary Travers has leukemia.

Have you ever seen a few blades of grass, growing up through concrete? Have you ever marveled at the strength and power of those few tenuous shoots that they could shatter the confines of the artificial barrier laid upon them? The number of times this metaphor shows up in my life should by now tell me that when I get one of these emotional responses to something primal, something from my childhood, I should honor and remember and listen to it, rather than try to shove it aside into a box. I still haven't really learned, but I'm learning.

I've been a furry since before I knew what furries were. I was making animal-people in a four-color bitmap editor on my father's 8088 when I was nine. I started playing D&D when I was six, and by the time I was twelve or thirteen I was playing druids, mages with polymorph self, and lycanthropes by the score. I had a mage, Mordana, whose sole purpose at one point became to turn other characters into animal-beings just so I could play them as such.

I listened to folk music—Peter, Paul and Mary and Simon and Garfunkel specifically—when I was eight or nine, or maybe even younger. I watched their twenty-fifth anniversary concert on television and cried along with all the grown-ups in the audience at "Puff the Magic Dragon" and "Light One Candle". I remember hearing "El Salvador" and knowing it was incredibly profound even though I didn't really understand it at the time.

It's been twenty years, it seems, since I really spent any time listening to or for that sort of music, but lately I've felt a resurgence of attachment to it. I found myself singing "Right Field" in the car driving home from work the other day, and since then I've been craving the simple harmonies and powerful emotions that this music evokes in me. Finally, it occured to me to look for the lyrics to one of their songs, and I found their website. It was right where I should've expected it to be, but somehow the simplest ideas never occur. 

Reading that one of my childhood stars, even before I really knew what the idea of a celebrity was, was potentially deathly ill broke my spirit for a brief period, and I found myself crying as I sat at my desk. I don't have a cube, per se, but I have a lockable office that I share with somebody else who is often not present because he's the building's ITA, meaning the hardware and desktop specialist to counterpoint my software and application skills. I kept waiting for him to look over at me and see the tears on my face, but he never did. I don't know if that's positive or not.

This week has been a week of trials. Part of the back of one of my front bottom teeth crumbled two days ago, and when I tried to inspect the damage, I noticed that four of my teeth are grey on the back. I've never seen teeth that looked like that except in the "don't let your mouth look like this" pictures at the dentists' offices of my youth. The fronts of the teeth look fine, they don't hurt, they don't bleed, but they look like they're seriously rotted in back. They're my incisors, for criminy! How do they rot like that? How did they get to that state without my realizing that they were a problem?

The teeth alone would be enough to have put me into a foul mood, but it really felt like a capstone to a monument with the inscription, "Kristy's Health Failures." My weight's back up, my dilating's shot to hell, and now my teeth. I'm surprised I haven't come down with terminal head-falling-off yet, or something. A friend of mine says that she feels like her body is alien to her. I'm nowhere near that bad, but some days I feel like a factory second, that's for sure.

Ah well. Back on the regimen. Exercise and shower before sitting down to play City of Heroes. Quit eating just because food is present. Brush once a day. Schedule the dentist's appointment. Measure the daily milestones and forget about the length of the journey. Focus on each step in turn, and let the trip handle itself. 

Every step is the first step. 

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