The fine art of nothing

One thing I have come to appreciate while going through treatment is the beauty of nothing.  It started as I recovered from surgery, sitting on our porch, needing absolutely nothing in the form of entertainment. Heck, then watching a leaf move was mesmerizing, even on a still day. Throw in a butterfly or bird and I was a captive audience. Add a little breeze and I was hooked for hours.

There is something to be said about cancer and the depth it brings to living, not that I wouldn’t trade this keen perception for clear skies in my health forecast. Sometimes I sit and look out at our less than average subdivision yard with a sense of contentment that makes me wonder if I’m not turning into a simpleton, because I could easily sit there for hours – watching nothing in particular. Granted, pets and neighbors and regular family interruptions keep it from getting bland, but I look forward to this time of nothing.

People seem to have a hard time with nothing. If there is a lull in conversation, someone has to talk. If there is a void in action, someone comes up with an activity to engage the group. I don’t want the pressure of required conversing or predetermined plans. What I treasure most is an empty schedule.

The fatigue from treatment makes me cringe at commitment. I’m never sure when my energy level will come crashing down, so I prefer a clear slate as often as possible. With my job as a photojournalist, that can be a monumental challenge and that is why I treasure the fine art of nothing. Treatments give me justification for saying no to everything except family, friends and my front porch. If it wasn’t for knocking the snot out of me the few days following an infusion, I almost look forward to days of emptiness with books, movies and a big front yard waiting for my attention.

Thankfully, my family goes about their business to reunions or pig wrestling or festivals or places where people are expected to dress nicely, carry a conversation and do something, anything, other than nothing. I’m sure a day will come when I want back in that circle, but I am content in my recluse nature for now, keeping a core of people close to me, channeling my energy to them when they stop by.

I would give anything to say cancer is not a part of my future, but I wouldn’t trade anything for this new-found joy in the minuteness of life, in perfecting the fine art of nothing.

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