Clever of the turtle in such a fix to be so fertile

The turtle lives 'twixt plated decks

Which practically conceal its sex.

I think it clever of the turtle

In such a fix to be so fertile.

Ogden Nash

An open letter published April 22, 2003 from San Feliu, Spain. Some of the names have been changed so as to embarrass only moi.

An indisputable HO TO THE FLOW

Pardon the absence of my communication since being in Spain. I not only have an excuse; I shall share the experience. Though it is deeply personal, I pay homage to the old Kaballic codicil about receiving - if you are the one chosen to receive the gift, you must share it with your fellow travelers.

In the early 1970s, my first wife was informed that she could no longer take birth control pills. For various reasons, we had mutually agreed 2 years earlier when getting married not to have children. My personal reason was the absolute terror that I would raise my children just as my parents had raised me; and that I would not consciously saddle any child with that even if it were their soul's choice. In addition, my wife's sister had died in childbirth shortly before this threshold, and she had the same predisposition. At the time it seemed very clear we would never have children; my having a vasectomy infinitely easier than her having her tubes tied . . . so . . .

Flash forward 25 years to the middle 1990s and the realization that I was ready to be a father; confident that I had healed sufficiently to facilitate a healthy experience for a child. The fertility guru at the University of Minnesota said, given the age of my vasectomy, I had two chances - slim and none. So we tried to adopt which was thwarted at every turn because of my age. After a couple of years frustration became resigned that my parenting in this lifetime would be limited to the vicarious variety through clients and godchildren. I let go, and let God.

Eight months ago, a lady, twenty years my junior, comes to dinner in Spain and is seated next to me at the table. Unbeknownst to me, our host is reprising her role as 'yenta' behind my back. Four months later, said lady invites me to have children with her, only we do not have much time as her clock is running up on her 40th birthday. We meet with a specialist her OBGYN refers us to. Afterwards, I convey a tearful apology about the rash decision made 31 years earlier, and the consequences it has wrought now. The doctor said "Of course, we can reverse the vasectomy; but you are ten years past any known regeneration of sperm, and the odds at 20 years are minuscule, less than one in a million; in your case, ‘we have no idea’.

I meditate, play with energy, do visualization; and inform said lady that I wanted to make an attempt. Looking in the mirror of having witnessed so many miracles with my clients, decided to try standing on their shoulders to see if me, myself and I could follow their lead. The flow, via the sudden death of a friend, harkens me back to Florida to put roots down in The Everglades. My lady visits and decides to from Spain. We schedule the surgery in Spain during my trip to bring her back to the States. No matter all the sea changes, every day I meditate, visualize, play with the unconditional on my fertility (yeah I know it is embarrassing) and let it all go into the mystery.

While in Florida, her OB in Spain, Dr. Zunzunegui, whom I have not met, wants to change surgeons at the last minute to one supposedly better than the one we had met and liked. Better than what? I don't need an expert's opinion that there is no way to do this; I just need my plumbing put back together so I can dance in the mystery. And by the way, the one-hour procedure in the doctor's office two blocks away in San Feliu is now an overnight hospital stay in Barcelona. My lady valiantly tries to get answers to my questions over the phone. Of course there are none; every twist and turn seemingly asking for a greater leap of faith. I have not seen a doctor in over twenty years, and now I'm supposed to let one cut me open without even meeting him, have a feel for his energy, or see if he can relate to my heart instead of my testicles. Dr. Zunzunegui even agrees to travel to Barcelona as moral support. We schedule the operation given that I may opt out at the last minute, and forfeit their fees.

We arrive back in Spain on Saturday afternoon with the surgery scheduled for Monday afternoon in Barcelona. We have to be there at the crack of dawn for blood tests and then wait all day. At least, that will give us time to meet the doctor; and discuss the situation beforehand. We wait and the doctor does not show - the nurse registers my normal resting heart rate of 43 is up to 90 and climbing. I am about to walk out when Dr. Pomerol finally appears an hour before the operation. He speaks English, has done this surgery for 30 years, gentle in manner, willing to listen. We discuss love, energy, healing without needing to understand - fixing the plumbing and having faith. He humors us and leaves. We feel he is 'simpatico' with our intentions, and agree to proceed.

Somewhat unfortunate to be totally aware of my faculties (as in not even given a tranquilizer), a pre-op shave executed with a strop and a straight razor gets my rapt attention! Expecting only Dr. Pomerol and Dr. Zunzunegui for support, I am surprised to be rolled into a surgical theater with no less than 15 in attendance. I inquire as to what gives - "Oh, it's a teaching hospital and you are a very rare case study" - so now I am a guinea pig with no tranquilizer. They erect a drape across my chest separating my eyes from their (my) playground. Dr. Zunzu arrives at the last minute to introduce himself and inform me right off that Spaniard's have larger penises. So now this less than adequate male ugly-American is ready for the scalpel by a pack of Spanish Conquistador's, still with no tranquilizer. Thankfully in the end, or is it, at the end, a local is provided.

The doctors begin and I become aware that the music being piped-in is American disco and lite-rock; even a tune sung by Leonard Cohen . . . maybe this isn't such a foreign land. Fifteen minutes into the operation, I notice one of the assisting doctors go over to a microscope for a few minutes. He comes back; there is a hubbub. Dr. Pomerol sticks his head over the drape, "I am now a true believer in your energy; you've got live, viable sperm swimming around down here."

Cannot begin to share the emotions of the next day - only to chant HO TO THE FLOW. Did find out that Dr. Pomerol is a world-renowned surgeon-teacher. He left us with a big grin, saying "The record used to be 23 years; I never dreamed it would be 31". Will not attempt to share the emotions of the last seven days either, other than that a persistent one has been the pain. If you have some gentle healing love with an admixture of painkiller, please feel free to beam it over the pond.

My sharing is not about an outcome; indeed it is just another step into the mystery. Rather, what I aspire to convey is the ability for all of us to recreate that which the flow leads us to - we all come with all the goods. Learning for me is really just re-membering a part taken from my innocence by our culture of fear; there is 'nothing new'.

This tale is deep in metaphors. Many of you are already parents facilitated by the innocence of youth. Beholding the blessing, the ecstatic chrysalis of the possibility to pro-create given the tapestry of my life experience is beyond the beyond. A leap of faith taken in great part on the backs of your good courage, and loving support for this here couprider. Nothing risked, nothing gained is certainly apt, yet there is more. Ray Bradbury, the sci-fi writer, says it this way; "The most important thing I ever learned is that after you leap off the cliff of your fears, you always somehow learn to fly before going splat in the bottom of your chasm." The beautiful sanctity in leaping is that no matter the outcome, it is always the perfect next step . . . a way to fly to your next threshold.

Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. "I cried when I wrote this song; sue me if I played too long."

Love is . . . . being in flight



Postscript: Eighteen months later for “THE REST OF THE STORY” as Paul Harvey would have it; or maybe the proverbial 'moral to the story’ is apter. As the sole author of my own experiences, and is my subconscious want to do, this story probably best belongs in Ripley’s Believe It or Not. No matter, there is a twist in this tale which highlights the extent we will go to learn our lessons.

So back to post-op in a hospital room in Barcelona . .. Dr. Pomerol and associates sweep into our hospital room in a party mood . . they are incredulous . . . hugs all around . . . a cacophony of Spanish rattling off the walls and even in my emotional fog, I notice my lady withdrawing, her aura changing in the moment. My high mixed in with my adrenal crash and pain medication all suffuse that into a blur at the time.

My recovery was long and uncomfortable, the first 2 weeks in bed. In that space, I was able to clearly see that one of the reasons she loved me was that I was “safe”. While her Spanish cultural persona insisted on the title of ‘mother’ to sanctify her womanhood; she was physically and mentally petrified at the concept of having her own children. That her husband could not have children was the perfect foil. All of that was subconscious until my virility put the mirror in front of her.

The long and short of it was that we never really had sex again!! The macho hombre that I have finally become at 60 scared her to the extent of becoming frigid. She eventually went back for 3 months of intensive therapy with her family's psychiatrist, only to return with the realization that she did not want to climb that karmic mountain. Within a month, she returned to Spain, and I stayed in the States.

So now I suppose you want the moral of this story ? . . . . . “Understanding is greatly overrated.”

And don’t forget what Ray Bradbury said.