Nature's Healing Through Cancer


Even though cancer made its rounds through my family and myself, nature has brought a lot of healing.

Closeup of barbed wire wrapped around a tree on a blurred background in Asia | Image credit:  ©  - Stevensonstudio/Wirestock Creators ©  -

Indian Springs Trail

a poem and postscript

On the way home from school, with more time

to wonder than in the morning, kicking stray

stones from puddles of dust, beneath the caws

of unseen crows, my eyes caught on the fence-row

oak that must have chafed and bled for years

before it swallowed the thorned rusting wire

in smoothness of its bark, in wholeness of its soul.

Everything about the poem is literally true, just a boy marveling at something he hardly understood. Nor could he then. The dirt road cut between fields and ended at our house overlooking the St. Joseph River in southwestern Michigan. The dawns dazzled, sunlight skipping off the river, through the woods, up the hill, into our home, reflections of light, water and leaves swimming across the ceiling. At dusk the tasseled corn and solitary trees stood in silhouette against the blushing, flaring, deepening glow with an art all its own. But all was not well.

The fields were sprayed with herbicides that seeped into the groundwater and infiltrated our well on the way to the river. The water tasted clean, with slight traces of earth and iron ― and who knows what else. My father and mother both died of cancers. Two sisters have survived breast cancer. A brother has chafed and bled for years against chronic lymphocytic leukemia. I have had two bouts with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the same cancer that took my mother. It’s not just a bad day or a bad month. Each was a miserable year that seemed like forty.

And yet the earth abides and nature heals, cancers included. It has been 25 years since my first, 12 since my last. The fields and water are cleaner now. My bark is smooth, my soul is whole, and most days I never think about the rasping wire, rusting barbs, and scars nearly invisible. The dawn still dazzles; the evening still glows, now more richly than ever. The tree of life stands firm, deeply rooted, spreading tall and wide, still leafing in that splendid light.

This post was written and submitted by John Savoie. The article reflects the views of Savoie and not of CURE®. This is also not supposed to be intended as medical advice.

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