Surviving

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

2017 05 18: Journal Post: Page One May 18, 2017

Today is May 18, 2017. The following 1 page excerpt is taken from a journal I started in the winter of 2010. I haven’t read through this piece of writing since I wrote it, so I figured I would start posting it, page by page, to this blog.
I had not been writing long when I started this journal. A few emails back and forth to family and friends was just about all I had been doing, as I had only recently learned touch typing, as well as using a screen reader with the computer, which for me was a very strange, new world.

Ok then. Here we go.

***

Page 1
December 2010,

OK so I have been through quite a lot. I have experienced probably more in my life than most people. I don’t feel any different or special because of it. Most of the time, I feel as though I have just lived a life. A life that is not really different than most people. Not any more difficult, or hard, or more full of obstacles. I am just the owner of another ordinary life.
I have had a few obstacles put in my path, but haven’t we all? Aren’t we all handed a boat load of life bending turns and hills and twists and hairpin corners? Don’t we all seemingly go through similar hardships and rough times? I hear every day of tragic events from all around the world. My life seems rather good when compared to what other people are going through on this hectic blue marble we call earth. In just one revolution we are transformed, propelled, enabled, held back, stepped over, left out, included in, forgotten about, lied to, sung about, hugged, punched, kicked, pulled, stepped on, stepped over, walked around, helped through, sent back, pushed aside, and on, and on, and on. It never stops. Life just keeps coming at you whether you are ready or not.

I have felt on many occasions that I was not prepared for life, and have seemed, on many occasions, that I was winging it, we must all feel that way quite a lot, I would imagine. Life sure has a way of throwing a bag full of wrenches at you.

I suppose that situations in my life have kept me from really concentrating when I should have been. I always seemed to be preoccupied with some things other than whatever it was that I should have been paying attention to.

I have recently become blind as of this past summer. It has been a rather trying 6 months for me. I should tell you that I lost my left eye to retinal cancer as an infant.

The recent problem with my right eye started last June when I lost my sight for roughly 45 minutes. It did return that day, and I was left with a blind spot almost directly in my line of sight. The doctors told me that an artery inside the eyeball had collapsed and the loss of blood flow had caused the temporary blindness, and the blind spot. It also was the cause of the glow that surrounded everything I saw. My hazy blurry condition lasted a month, and had actually gotten a little bit better. It had gotten better to the point that I was going to try to go back to work on the day after the 4th of July. I was sort of actually enjoying my month off. I was able to get outside and do quite a lot after a couple weeks because my sight had gotten that much better. I had my garden all in, the Japanese Willow bush behind the garage had been dug up and moved. The trees and shrubs out beside the barn had been pruned and cleaned up nicely. I was rather happy with the amount of yard word that I had been able to do. The last week of what was adequate vision was a good working week also. I had managed to weed the entire garden except for about 2 rows. I was feeling good. Tired, but well. That afternoon after Lynne finished work, she came out back to ask me if I would like to go get something to eat and run a few errands up to Skowhegan. I said sure, as I was bushed and could use a break. It had been warm and sunny all week out in the garden. I was hot, sunburned and hungry as hell. We were off.
The trip to Skowhegan was like any other of the 4,231 trips we had taken there in the past. We got some food from Mickey D’s and I went in to Hannaford’s to get a few items we needed. I did see my friend Artie’s wife at the checkout. We exchanged conversation and I asked her how the hell Artie was doing. He has been through his own hell these past few years.
I exited the store, got into the van, and we drove out of the plaza. As soon as we got out onto Rt. 201 I started to have another episode with my right eye. This time it was more sudden than the one on the 2nd of June. It was the 2nd of July, and the geometric prisms that were dancing in front of me were Pink Floyd’ish psychedelic shapes that I had only dreamed of before this day. All I could say to Lynne was, “OK, here we go again,” At the time I was not concerned about the vision loss, as I was sure that it would return, just as it had the first time. Little did I know that I was in for quite a ride the next 24 hours.
My vision did return just as we were getting back home. I noticed that things seemed a lot more blurry and cloudy and all bright and hazy. More so than after the first episode in early June. I managed to walk the dogs and a few other normal things that I usually did as the day was winding down. My wife Lynne and I watched Ice Road Truckers, but I couldn’t see what was going on on the screen. It was quite uneasy for me, but I still believed that it would get better. Later that night I noticed that the blind spot had crept right in front of my line of sight. It was noticeably worse than before and it made it quite impossible to watch and comprehend anything that I was seeing on TV. As was the case in early June, when items were in the blind spot area, they were intensified in a color schemed rainbow sort of distorted prism. Hello Pink /Floyd was all I could picture. It was weird indeed.

I fell asleep that night still comfortable with the feeling that everything would get better. Little did I know what was in store for me that next morning.

To be continued…

 

2017 05 17 Essay, Poetry: Old Habits May 17, 2017

Hey there.

I just finished another semester at college last Friday, and as the dust settled down, a thought occurred to me. As much as it feels like I just finished something, there’s something else that’s just about to start. It’s as if I needed to finish one thing, so I could get started on another. Ain’t life funny like that sometimes?

I guess it’s all about the task at hand, like life is one “thing” after another. Don’t you dare loosen your grip, because there’s another one coming around the corner with your name written all over it. No time for self adulations or being able to take a break. Nope. None of that, well, that is if you’re not one to grab a seat and take it easy for the rest of your life.

Granted I don’t take on things like I used to, but on the same note, it seems that things didn’t slow down much when it comes to me. I guess my memo didn’t get out on time or something.

I think we are who we are because of what we do. Perhaps you can spin that around to look at it as though what we do is because of who we are? Maybe it’s a little of both?

The way I do things totally changed these past few years. My abilities changed, my perceptions changed, my reactions to certain things, how I move through my day, how I interact with folks, it’s so different today, and to think that with each day I see, feel and react to new things, or are they really new?

A year ago I lost the rest of my sight, and the changing happened all over again, or did it just continue? The light from the window, the shine of the chrome, the sun in the sky, the contrast of white on black, it all came to a screeching halt, and as I changed again, the way I think about things, realize things, perceive things, absorb things and search for things changed, again. I don’t see my vision changing any more. I don’t see myself trying to find the light, the shine, the morning haze, the evening stars, the full moon, because even though they’re still there, and I can see them in my mind, I’ll never actually see them again.

It’s funny though how I catch myself turning to try and see something going on around me, still. Standing in the bathroom a few days ago, I heard a strange bird call outside. I leaned over to the window and looked at the spruce tree outside, or where I thought the spruce tree should be. I didn’t realize I couldn’t see it until I had looked out through the window and up at the tree. As soon as I realized what I had done, I smiled, chuckled, shook my head and turned away from the window. For those few moments, the picture in my mind turned itself into reality, and boy did it feel good, if only for a moment.

I do these same sorts of things a lot while I do up the dishes in the kitchen. When I am wiping them dry, I turn to put the dish away in the cupboards, and sometimes I reach out to grab the cupboard door handle, and I can see it. I reach out for it, and there it is, exactly where I reach, exactly where it should be. Man oh man how the mind can help to fill in the blanks.

Old habits have a hard time dying sometimes, or is it that I’m still trying to live?

The ability of the mind to see is a habit that I hope will never die.
So far, so good.

The following poem was written a few years ago, but it seems to fit in with this essay. I guess I’m continuing with the theme of April. An essay, a poem, a mark in time.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great day.

dp

***

Mindful Sight

Darkness to the left and to the right
The vision, unseen, lies just ahead
Trudging on through muddled footsteps of the mind
The glimpse of light stolen from sight

With staff in hand the journey begins
Step lightly over unseen paths
The mind wraps around it all
Announcing the unseen visions

Walk through the fear and anxious days
With eyes not seeing, the stories still unfold
The pages turn one by one
And endless chapter of a new journey begins

Helpful hints arise amidst the countless curves
The paths walked before call out with familiar phrase
Twisting there and here against the grain
Rolling on towards sunlight’s invisible touch

With memories of sighted mind
I reach for the light within
Cascading down through the limbs of life
Refreshing the heart, mind and soul

Falling forward, life tumbles on
Unknown roads and unseen faces
Call out a familiar name
Reaching out a familiar hand

Oh humbled soul, take the steps
Walk the mile of frozen fear
The book is open and lesson learned
True visions lie from deep within the pages

Sighted past, forget me not
Remind me of the colors I still see
Explain what I’ve been able to feel
Build shape from the things that I touch
Give voice to the faces dancing in my mind

 

2017 05 15 Poetry: Bitter Grin May 15, 2017

Hey.

Addiction comes in many different forms, but they are all very similar. The capture of the spirit and soul leaves the addicted with a feeling of helpless, hopeless destruction that can happen slowly, or quickly. Deception is the key, as false promises tend to fool even the strongest of hearts.

I have suffered through periods in my life where my addictions controlled how I acted, reacted, believed, and with a simple alluring stare, the addictions convinced me that I couldn’t live without their influence.

Through the help of loved ones, the halls and my God, I have been able to keep away from the spiraling decent that darkened so many of my days, but in reality, I only have today, and my oh my how many of the todays can seem to last forever.

The following poem was written with respect to addiction. It’s a rather dark poem, but it’s also a reality check, from my own perspective anyway.

Thanks for dropping by, and please remember that no matter where you go, there you are, so try and make a good day out of it.

dp

***

Bitter Grin

Beasts of desire approach a vacant soul
Scattered notions of sympathy lend nothing for a fevered lust
Broken fingers reach for the hand of a deceitful friend
Agonizing hope beside a bitter grin become common place

Soldiers of sorrow hungrily loom over their pleading prey
Character of doubt accepts the tainted promises from a darkened enemy
Merciless pawns of destruction revel amidst a weakened foe
Spiralling depths completely consume an altered stare

Weapons of suicide are thrust into a hollow victim
Shattered dreams are paired with unforgiving reality
Innocence of the addicted wanders through the haunted night
One single choice is disguised as a thousand possibilities

 

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 24 Poetry: Alt Control J April 24, 2017

24 is an even number, and even though today was an odd day, I don’t regret it, even for a second.

This digital world that I find myself immersed in, tends to bring me to places that several years ago I didn’t know existed. Sometimes I type before I think, and reading many of the pieces that end up on the screen, all I can say is, “I know, right?”

Actually, I have commented many times that the things I type appear on the screen. Truth is, I don’t turn my screen on. No need to anymore really. Still, the guy in the tower keeps pace with my fingers. I like this keypad. The keys are very responsive, and none of them stick. I hate it when that happens.

And again, here we are on this, the 24th day of April, and as National Poetry Month continues to move forward with grace and determination, I will add one more poetic encounter to the impressive collection from a very impressive group of creators.

No matter where you go, there’s a bunch of words waiting to be rhymed with each other.

Give them their due.
Take care and write on.

Deon

***

Alt Control J

Punch the keys and listen.
A synchronized voice calls out through the dark.
Enter key, tab key, alt control j.
Number line ends with a sticky bump.
Question, question, question.

Fingers create from thought.
Lines of text appear out of nowhere.
Does it make any sense?
Does it resemble anything significant?
Be careful not to be repetitive.
Be careful not to be repetitive.
Did the man on the motherboard ship come in peace?
Did the great white arrive from oceans deep?

Just keep typing.
Just keep typing.
Just keep typing.

 

2017 04 23 Poetry: Little Ones April 23, 2017

Is it the 23rd already? How can that be? Why it seems that the month just started.

How does time fly by so fast sometimes? Is it because we do something differently? Do we bend the fabric of time without even knowing it? When the time goes by fast for us, does it also for everyone else?

What we do with our time gives us definition. Our hobbies, our work, our play, what we like, dislike, who we are near, everything plays into the script taylor made for only us.

Life is what you make of it. The diversity, the obstacles, the trials and lessons help to give us the makings of one day after another.

The old saying that every cloud has a silver lining is debateable at best, and it reminds me of the other saying that says it’s never as bad as it seems.

Really? I mean, really? Grin

Hit the ground running. Pull yourself up by the boot straps. No matter where you go, there you are, so take advantage of it.

I think I like that saying the best.

This is the 23rd of April, and here’s my submission for National Poetry Month. The time is at hand, and the hand is pointing towards the clock, so I guess I gotta get moving before what I’m doing becomes the past.

Have a great Sunday night, and write on writers.

Deon

***

Little Ones

Look into those eyes and study that glowing smile.
Find the story that’s written within every beating heart.
Carefully craft the unknown with your imagination.
Let your senses cascade down through a waterfall of life.

Capture the sunlight for a rainy day.
Dance along the edge of a crescent moon.
Gather in the brilliance of a million stars.
Become what you once only dreamed of.

Take advantage of the possibilities.
Turn obstacles into opportunities.
Learn from the laughter of the little ones.
Chase the inspiration.

 

2017 04 20 Poetry, Colors of Spring April 20, 2017

Well this past Easter Sunday it looked like spring was here to stay put, but oh how this Maine weather can turn on a dime. It snowed today, and rained, and the raw chill to the April air reminded me once again where I live. Now, don’t get me wrong, as I love living in Maine. Heck, it’s all I’ve ever known, but it seems the older I get, the older I get. Grin

The colors of spring have a habit of arriving on time, although it seems a little late some years. With those colors come so many characteristics that lend to the array of imagination and reality. Nature comes in many forms, and as the colors hold their own story, so too do the bright eyes and bushy tails that scamper around from color to color.

Oh ya, don’t forget the flyers. How could we ever forget the magnificent flyers of the skies.

I wish you all a colorful April day, and may there be many more to follow for you all.

This poem is my submission for April the 20th. NPM is still going strong, and BOE is living, writing proof.

Deon

***

Colors of Spring

Crocuses breathe a sigh of relief
Daffodils trumpet their call
Daisies and tulips paint a scene
A colorful canvas stands tall

A woodchuck yawns away his rest
A pole cat waddles by
A chipmunk hangs upside down from a tree
The osprey soars out with a cry

Starlings line up and head on north
The flight of the geese is heard
Humming birds dart and dance about
The recipe of spring is stirred