Today I have been thinking about Hans.
He was a Swedish fellow at our camp in the Amazon--68, but looking much older, thin, grizzled... He was there seeking out a shaman to heal him of his colon cancer, as he would relate at dinner, while chain smoking unfiltered cigarettes, surrounded by mosquito netting, and resonating co-mingled sounds from the jungle.
He was thrilled that he was off meds that were costing 3K a month, and most of all that his appetite had returned, and the nausea had gone away...
As he talked, I began to understand his calmness when helping me on the phone as we were trying to find our way to the camp days before, me obviously stressed.
He was the only one around who spoke English, so he was put on the patchy cell to talk to someone he didn't even know--but his voice was slow and clear as if to say "Why are you worried. This is nothing to worry about. You'll find your way."
And we did.
The Shaman had Hans on a regime of diet and ceremonies, most of which took place in smoke filled jungle huts away from other eyes, but when it was all finished 3 days later, Hans lamented "that he didn't feel what he was told he would." He didn't think it was helping, afterall.
He became withdrawn and silent.
The last time I heard of Hans, he had loaded up his belongings into a dug out canoe, and was headed up river to look for another healer... Perhaps this one "legitimate."
He had a lead.
I have never seen such a mixture of despair and hope on any human before...just there on the surface... no peeling away of layers necessary...Hans had nothing to hide any more.
No reason to be anything other than what he was.
So today I am grateful for having met Hans. Because it reminds me of what a beautiful thing life really is, and how we take it for granted, thinking each day will automatically lead to the next.
And it does...until it doesn't...
So thanks to Hans for that reminder, and here's hoping that he found his way.
NYC, Thanksgiving, 2013