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by Colleen Dougherty

The speeding car was no match to my rapidly beating heart. Nor was it a match for the adrenaline rush coursing through my body, this would propel me through another bittersweet day. The day of reckoning is upon me. My calendar is booked solid, when will I have time to clean a much-needed unclean house? Don't think about the house, the dust, the debris and whatever else an unclean house harbors. The house is a constant, it will always be there waiting for your return and your attention. So, I fill my calendar with life affirming activities.

In this summer of my life, a most favorite time of the year full of outdoor activities most involving water, large bodies of water; the ocean, the sea and perfectly designed for developing a skin cancer or two. But in the moment and staying protected was off for my weekly surfing lesson, better known as my sacred day of surfing. Bury me at sea, I love the ocean; the warmth, the rhythm, the sound, the smell, the thrill, the awe; it embraces me much the same as I might embrace a turbulent forbidden lover. I can't wait to be back in its embrace. This is nothing like the static cold knocking restraint of a tomb-like machine. Even at the bottom of the ocean, having been churned inside out and upside down, I feel vibrant and so alive scanning for the light that will guide me to the surface. The wonder of this great moving mass of water cuddles the sea stars that awaken on the ocean floor, and will stretch before taking the long journey to greet Juliet on Grace Bay. I am on my board, feeling the awesomeness of this experience, yes, I am stoked, a beautiful word used often by my surfing friend, and paddle out to sea. The wonder of me.

Sailing has become my salvation, there to celebrate life with me and my loved ones. To catch the wind and sail effortlessly with nothing around but open water gives me a sense of time without end. With a strong sense of competition, how else will I survive if not for competing? I go for my sailing certification. So along with knowing the difference between stern and aft and how to tie nautical knots, I can now comfortably rescue someone who has fallen overboard. It would not be a good day at sea if you start losing your guests along the way. After spending three glorious sun soaked summer days on the water to achieve this goal, I caught the north wind in the mainsail, no longer in irons. The wonder of me.

If I could channel and harvest this kinetic energy free flowing through these sea faring activities I would use this miracle to cure cancer, not just three cancers, but all cancers forever. The wonder of life. The wonder of me.

Colleen is an artist/metalsmith, honored to have a piece on display in the White House, an exhibition for Celestial Seasonings, an exhibition on Fifth Avenue, an exhibit at Art of the State of Pennsylvania Exhibition. She is also a Pew Fellowship Finalist. However, her greatest accomplishment is her daughter, Juliet. Colleen has thrown herself head first into surfing, sailing, and writing. Cancer, she says, is moving to the background of her life.