Surviving

Feeling the warmth of the sun on a cloudy day. A glimpse into a blind billy goat's unique, ever changing perspectives.

2017 06 09 Journal Excerpt Page 23 June 9, 2017

I have always been sort of a kid at heart. Growing old has only increased the distance of years, but the memories of the actions remain fresh in my mind. Certain things we feel as a child become embedded in our core. The time spent moving away from our youth might clutter the hallways with a vast experience, but the taste of our childhood often lingers on the tips of our tongues.

This next segment brings back so many different memories for me. Not only the memories of the moment, but the experiences of a child with eyes as big as the starry filled skies.

Ok. Scattered brain tangent acquisition complete. Present task frame re-engaged.
Current journal excerpt initiated.

Deon

***

Page 23

I walked up to the graduation podium that morning feeling like I was skipping along a cloud. It felt a little strange to be able to hear the people in the room, but not to be able to see them.

I made it up to the microphone and spoke about a scared guy that had just become blind, and had come to this place in Newton Mass to try and figure out how to live as a blind man. I was nervous and my voice was shaky and cracking. I felt just like I did in grade school when I had to go up in front of the class to read a book report. I suppose that by not being able to see the audience, it did relieve me of a lot of my inhibitions. My anxiety levels were not as combustuous as they usually were.

I thanked the center instructors, and the staff, and the other students for being there for me. I told of friendships that had been built on hope and faith and drive and determination. A truer foundation for friendship had never been seen by me.

As I ended my words of thanks and praise, I started back to my seat as the audience applauded me, as they had done with the others.

Mike got back on the microphone and told me to turn around and come back to the podium. I was a little surprised and figured that he had a story about the chicken coop that I had helped with.

It wasn’t about the chicken coop.

I turned and walked back to the podium and stood beside Mike. He asked one of the staff to go over to the table where the shop projects were. He told them to bring mine over to the podium. He took it from the staff member, and handed it to me. “Mr. Lyons,” he said, “I would like you to tell everyone the story of this little toy truck.”

I was surprised as hell and wondered why he had picked mine as the only one to be highlighted. I felt very strange, but I also felt very good.

I took the truck from him, and proceeded to tell of the story of a little boy that had told his grandmother of a present that he wanted for Christmas. The audience was hushed as I spoke of the truck and the trials of building it, and of a wonderful shop instructor that made it all happen.

It was a wonderful experience to be able to tell the story. It was a simple story of love and determination and passion and drive and hope and family and faith. It was a simple story from the heart, and as I told it, I got a peaceful feeling deep inside of me. It was one of the best feelings I have ever felt. The whole while I was telling the story, I got flashes of Lynne and Jack rushing through my head. I knew that Matt was filming the speech, and I smiled knowing that he was only a few feet away. Man was it good to have him there. He made the whole day complete.

I ended the story with a tear in my eye as mike grabbed my arm and squeezed it tightly. “Thank you.” He whispered to me in my ear. I returned to my seat with the truck still in my clutches. The room applauded, and after the last person went to the podium, I was swarmed with people from the auditorium wanting to take pictures with me and my grandson’s truck. It was a strangely wonderful feeling.

There were a lot of pictures taken after the ceremonies, teachers with students, students with parents and loved ones. I was asked by Heather to take a picture with her and fellow student Brandon Eiffel. I was glad to. I had grown quite fond of Heather. Some of the other students didn’t care for her. I think it was just her demeanor, but I was able to see through all of that, and I feel that I was really able to get to know her as a person. She always had praise for me and continually told me that I was way too hard on myself. I know this, and continue to be. It is a trait handed down to me by my father. I strive to reach a level of praise according to what I feel his standards were, and are.

I did wonder why my project was selected out of everyone else’s to showcase at the ceremony. I was told later on that it was because my story was something that everyone could relate to. It was so heart warming and simple and full of a Childs vision of what Christmas means. I felt proud and so lucky to have the family that I do. Every time I think of Jack, I smile. It isn’t just a surface smile, but a smile from deep within my soul. It’s a smile that will be with me for the rest of my life.

To be continued…

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2017 05 29 Poetry: Memorial Day May 29, 2017

It is very evident to me that I will never be able to describe the moments that Memorial Day brings. On this day, this Memorial Day 2017, I have only a poem that I’d like to share with you.
Happy Memorial Day to you all, and God bless.
Deon

Memorial Day

Memories flow through the lines of heavy pounding hearts
Wondering, wishing, wading for the sun to move through the day
Pictures of yesterday’s voices gather along the shelves
Faces of a May morning raise their heads, searching through the past

Lonely, sweet tones recollect the colors of the departed
Reflections of loving smiles cling tightly to yesterday’s song
Rows of medals, pinned with pride, dance about in the morning light
With gathered steps of spring, the parades take shape

Waving flags beside the children’s smiles help to carry the message home
Brilliant gaze from olden eyes reminds us how things have come to be
Sharp, precision steps, march side by side with a country’s pride
A single, lone trumpeter’s call bids the past a proud farewell

Beckoning words caress the crowd with chaptered verse, bound and true
Petals of red and lilies white paint the fields of carved stone
Circling whispers of love ease down upon the morn
Memorial Day, Oh Memorial Day, we shall always remember you

 

2017 05 20: Journal Post Page 3 May 20, 2017

Good morning everyone.

This is the third post of my journal series. As I read through these pages, I am taken back to those days in 2010 when it appears that I started this next chapter in my life. Although the going was tough, it enabled me to experience a series of tests that I would have never been introduced to, had it not been for the loss of sight.

Life is what we make of it, and here’s a small slice of my life seven years ago.

Deon

***

Page Three:
Early July, 2010.

For the next two days, I was put through a barrage of tests which all came back with the results that I was dreading. My vision was permanently impaired, and would not ever get any better than it appeared to be right then. My heart sank when I heard one of the specialists say that there was nothing they could do for me. It was Tuesday morning, and I was just coming from the last series of tests.

They had ruled out all of the other probable causes of the stroke, and pinpointed the root cause as a central retinal arterial occlusion. The blood flow had been cut off to the retina from in behind the eye. It appears that the walls of the artery collapsed, thus shutting down the blood supply. This is what happened over and over again, and the final few times on that Saturday morning finally did me in. It was just too much for the retina to handle, and it finally shut down.

It was also thought to have been caused by the continued lifelong deterioration of the arterial wall, which was the direct result from the radiation that I received as an infant to combat the retinal cancer. This form of radiation, which was very new, as well as severely intrusive on outer lying tissue, was the culprit.

I will never forget Dr. Witkin’s comments made to me in his Waterville office a few weeks later. He said that in his opinion, I had been given 50 years of vision in that eye, and from his perspective, that was a miracle in its own right. I had never thought of it like that, and have never thought of it any other way since that day. He spun my mental state around 180 degrees that day, and I owe a lot of my rehabilitation, or ability to stay focused enough to move on, on those comments.

After all of the dust had settled from the tests in Boston, a call was made and Matt came to take me back home. I was never so happy to see him as I was that afternoon when he arrived in my room at the hospital.

I did not want to be in Boston for one more second. Not one. I had had enough bad news, and wanted to say goodbye to the town where so much hope had been shattered. The dwindling hope faded as we drove closer and closer to Maine and my Battleridge home.
I had not had a cigarette in over 2 days. So I think I smoked around a pack on the way home. We stopped at Mickey D’s on Rt. 1 on the way back to Maine. The food never tasted so good, and the caramel ice coffee hit the spot.

When we finally arrived at home, I felt completely alone. I know that my wife was there, and the comfort that I had in knowing that she was waiting for me is indescribable. But even though she was there waiting for me, I felt as though there was a huge blank sheet of paper in front of me that represented the rest of my life. My life was at that point and time, very uncertain at best. It was as though someone had taken my life story, and ripped it in half and thrown it in the trash. What in hell was I supposed to do now?

So much of my life was based on pure complacency. So much of it was just robotic at best. I liked my life, but probably most of all I liked the unchanging ways of my life. There was a routine that I had grown to accept as just the way things were. I had routines that I had created, and that was just fine with me, just fine and dandy. What in the hell was I going to do now? I felt completely vulnerable and totally at risk to everything around me that I couldn’t see anymore. That was the scariest and probably the most frightful times that I had ever felt. I was completely at the mercy of everything around me. My senses were all messed up. My thoughts continually veered the wrong way down a one way street. I could come up with a thousand metaphors and they would all fit. Every one of them.

Those next few days were some of the longest of my life. I was receiving phone calls from my family continuously. They were very far away, but they seemed so very close. I did a lot of crying and complaining those next few days. Hell, those next few months. I guess I still do go through some of the same feelings now as I did back then. I feel as though I can handle the emotion swings a lot easier now.

I did continue to smoke those next few days, and that must have worried Lynne to no end. Just think of it, a blind guy banging his way outside through the garage to light his fingers on fire while trying to light a cigarette. Crazy is the best adjective I can think of. That would all come to an end sooner than I ever imagined. Thank God. I never ever saw myself quitting smoking. Never in a million years. I saw myself choking on those damn cigarettes until the day I died. Pitiful.

 

2017 05 14: Mother’s Day Poem May 14, 2017

Filed under: Childhood,Devotion,Faith,Family,Humility,Life,Love,Perception,Poem,Poetry,Writing — DP Lyons @ 12:32 pm

This poem is dedicated to my mom, Carol Jean Lyons, and to all the moms out there.
I hope your day is filled with wicked awesome mom stuff. grin

I love ya mom.
dp

***

Mother

Mother, oh mother, hear my pleading call
Shivering child from years ago stands before you
Grant me access to your warming heart
Calm my scattered spirit with your magical potion

I remember your words as I craved your touch
I remember your gentle kiss on my forehead
I remember wrapping my arms around you
I remember

Please sing me that same, soothing lullaby
Please rock me in your arms until I fall fast asleep
Please tell me everything will be alright
Please

Walk beside me as we brave the world
Walk beside me as I dare to dream
Walk beside me as your older boy discovers the unknown
Walk beside me

Promise me a handful of possibilities
Promise me of the love that awaits me
Promise me a family of my own
Promis me

Rescue me from a dastardly foe
Rescue me from an unrelenting obstacle course
Rescue me and whisperyour calming tone
Rescue me

Sing to me your praise as you stare into my eyes
Sing to me of the opportunity each day provides
Sing to me your anthem of faith, love and hope
Sing to me

Share your secrets with me
Guide me towards tomorrow
Pray for me as I do for you
Watch over me with confidence

Soothe my skipping heartbeat with your healing touch
Calm my worried gaze with your gentle touch
Release my anxious breath with a mother’s touch
Mother, Oh Mother

 

2017 05 07 Essay: Lessons May 7, 2017

I’ve had some lessons in my life. It’s safe to say that we all have. The thing to think about is how well we learn from our lessons. Now, if you’re like me these days, it might take a couple run throughs before the lesson fully sinks in where it can do some good. It’s not that I don’t want to learn, it’s that for a grand host of reasons, my soggy mush melon doesn’t retain things as good as it used to. I blame it on acquiring large quantities of cheap drugs, a closed head trauma, not enough chocolate and I’m fairly certain that there’s a few other reasons, but for the life of me, I, well, you get the picture.

Our lives are a constant barrage of one lesson after another. The do’s, the don’ts, the should have’s and the what the hell were you thinking’s. They all blend in seamlessly to produce a life like sculpture of ourselves.

Instruction manuals always seem to get lost, misplaced or thrown away. A lesson though, I mean a real good unforgettable lesson never leaves our sides. It’s always there to throw hints at us, remind us, guide us and sometimes give us something to laugh about, for humor always has an element of truth in it, and humility is as good a teacher as any lesson can provide.

Anyway, what we learn through life is a huge part of who we become. Some of my most embarrassing moments in life are also the strongest lessons I have learned. It seems the more the lessons let loose my emotions, the deeper they sink into my soul to mold future reactions to certain things. The phrase I use often is absorb, adapt and advance. Boy how that holds so much truth, which makes it nearly impossible to ignore, or forget.

When I woke up this morning, I was blind, still, again, and also. I enjoyed several moments during the day when I actually forgot that I can’t see. Those moments don’t last long, but they are pieces of my day that I embrace with deep respect. I’ve learned more lessons these past seven years than any other period in my life, and the learning continues each waking day.

Those lessons of our childhood are also made of the lessons that stand with us throughout our lives. Tie your shoes, look both ways before crossing the road, don’t talk with your mouth full, keep your eye on the ball, there’s so many of them that stick with you without even trying to remember them. Common sense can also provide great tutoring, but it isn’t a constant source that we can always rely on, for we, as unique individuals sway to and fro with our abilities that vary from one day to the next.

Our judgment is built on experience, which involves common sense and instinct. Is instinct a natural thing, or have we learned it along the way? Perhaps it is a combination of different elements of life that swirls around us, or perhaps we were born with the instincts and we don’t realize we have them until a situation calls for those inborn characteristics to show themselves.

Boy I’m getting spun around with all of this. I’ve taken a psychology class at school, a few sociology classes, and a couple humanities courses. They all weave in and out amongst themselves to help define who we are, and how we react, use and manipulate the lessons we have been afforded along the way. And oh what a way we have, with all of it.

I have learned a lesson with this essay, as I have with just about every other essay I have written. The hidden lessons, the ones with built in reactions, the ones that catapult our instincts to new heights, these lessons, the ones similar to the one I have learned while typing this written piece, you can never correctly put a value on the lessons we discover along the roads that build our stories. The truest lessons of all will forever remain a priceless piece of who we are.

Who says you can’t teach an old goat new tricks?

Take the lessons of your lives and feel the urge to learn. The energy found deep inside will totally amaze you.

Thanks for stopping by, and do take care.

dp

 

2017 04 29 Poetry: Road Map April 29, 2017

29 down, and 1 to go. Actually, many many more than 1 to go, because it feels like my writing is never finished, and there’s something else that I need to write about. Thousands of words, lines, sentences, phrases, thoughts, descriptions and meanings, all rolled into 7 years of hunting, finding and punching keys, and there’s still something I feel I need to write about.

I never dreamed I would reach the age I am. I never dreamed of being married. I never dreamed of having a child, a son and a grandson. I never thought. I just never.

We lost our power tonight, and I was right near the end of another poem I was going to submit tonight. Unfortunately, I didn’t save the stupid thing, and lost it with the outage, so, below you’ll find another one I just wrote. It’s quite a bit different than the first one, and try as I did, I couldn’t come close to remembering it.

I know, I know, a lot of you are shaking your head right now. Some are thinking what a fool am I, some are thinking about a similar experience, some are just wondering when I’m gonna stop rambling and get on with the poetry.

No matter what the lessons are that we learn, life continues to chug along at a pretty good clip, and that ain’t the half of it.

Ok then. Right. Here we go with my 29th submission for this National Poetry Month. This is actually only my 27th submission, as I skipped two days. Like I told a good friend, I’m still batting over 900, which ain’t too bad in baseball terms.

And away we go! Happy Saturday night to you all, and whatever happens, don’t you ever stop writing.

Best to you all.

Deon

***

Road Map

There’s a road map sketched in my mind,
Taking me to places I’ve already been,
Taking me to places I have already seen,
Taking me to places I will never let go.

There’s a song playing in my mind,
Singing to me a childhood lullaby,
Singing to me some old time rock & roll,
Singing to me some folksy blues.

There are pages turning in my mind,
Reading out loud about a shy, timid little boy,
Reading to me about an unexpected love story,
Reading to me about an incredible non fiction drama.

There’s a movie playing in my mind,
Showing a classic that I can watch again and again,
Showing me an unforgettable theme,
Showing me a fascinating 3D epic drama.

There is an image collage displaying in my mind,
Picturing a life changing gears,
Picturing a life changing lanes,
Picturing a life unfolding a worn and tattered road map.

 

2017 04 27 Poetry: All I Ever Wanted April 27, 2017

Click the heels and where are you? Does it look like the 27th? If it does, you arrived right on time.

Pretty cool, huh?

I joke sometimes that I’m going to school so that I might figure out what I wanna be when I grow up. I’m still wondering, especially on those days when I feel like I’m a 7 year old blind billy goat that needs a lot of practice trying to figure out how to be a 7 year old blind billy goat. I’m on a mission, and I will take no prisoners, unless they have ample amounts of chocolate.

Truth is, I never really knew what I wanted to be as I was growing up. None of the normal kid answers seemed to fit, and besides, I was too busy having fun being a kid.

Now that the kid has grown, or became a close facsimile, I think back to some of the moments of my youth. It all went by so fast, but some parts, the tough parts, the testing parts, they seemed to last forever. You know, time stands still? Ya, it’s true, or so it seems.

This poem reminded me of so many moments in my life when the learning was front and center. This is my submission for this 27th day of National Poetry Month. The sun came out today, and the warmth felt good on my face.

I hope you all saw the sunshine today.
Take care and be well.

Deon

***

All I Ever Wanted

All I ever wanted was to color inside the lines.
I did a pretty good job, but I colored the man’s face purple.
All I ever wanted was to be a big boy and watch my little brother.
I thought I was doing ok, until I couldn’t find him.
All I ever wanted to do was ride my bike, just like my older brother.
My dad took off the training wheels, and I fell over sideways.
All I ever wanted to do was hit a baseball like Carl Yastrzemski.
I stepped up to the plate, and struck out.
All I ever wanted was to sleep in the top bunk.
I rolled over in the bed and fell 4 feet to the floor.
All I ever wanted to do was ski down the hill like my older sister.
I made it halfway down and took a nasty header.
All I ever wanted was to do a summersault off of the rope swing into the river.
I swung out, tried to summersault, panicked, and splashed with a belly flop.
All I ever wanted was to bravely dive off the wall at the North Gorham swimming hole.
I took a deep breath, plugged my nose, and jumped in feet first, again.
All I ever wanted was to jump the curb with my skateboard.
I reared back, flipped the tip, clipped the curb and took another nasty header.
All I ever wanted was to have a girlfriend in school.
I nervously turned to talk to her and tripped down the stairs.
All I ever wanted was to somehow find a lady to love.
I didn’t have to. She found me.