Surviving

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

2017 07 04: Journal Excerpt Page 44 July 4, 2017

That winter of 2012 introduced me to another group of people, but some were the same that I had met at the 2011 ACB fall convention. This new group of amazement made up the Blind Bowlers of Central Maine, and as a new found family collectively made their way towards me, a new sense of belonging found its way into my life.

 

I was petrified at the first thought of trying to bowl blind, and at first I thought it was a joke, I mean, how can someone who is blind, bowl? It just didn’t make sense to me, so I just sort of shrugged it off as a chance to get to know some new people, one of whom was a fellow by the name of Rolfe Frost.

 

I had met Rolfe back in the spring of 2011, when he gave me a ride home from the employment assessment testing I had done at the Career Center in Augusta. Leona had set me up for the testing, and Rolfe gave me a ride home. We instantly struck up a nice conversation that lasted the whole trip back home, and for me, there was something about this guy that put me at ease, and allowed me to feel completely comfortable as we chatted it up.

 

Rolfe is, well, it’s hard for me to find words to correctly describe him. He has a heart of gold, and I am blessed to have met him, along with this new family of visually impaired people, and many, many more.

 

Blind Bowlers of Maine. It sounded really weird back then at first, but as time went by, it took on a whole new meaning for me. As the Saturday event became something that I looked forward to, I realized that I was slowly becoming one of them, one of the Blind Bowlers. I had found an incredible place where I fit in. I had found a group of people that I had something in common with. I became a Blind Bowler, and it felt comfortably normal.

 

Now I have to tell you that through my life, I was a ferociously competitive candlepin bowler. The first time I picked up a ball and rolled it down the alley, I was hooked, and I instantly became good at it. From an early age, I waited for the chance to step onto the hardwood lanes and slide towards the black line, releasing the ball. As it made that sweet, unmistakeable sound of rolling down the aisle, it hypnotized me until it crashed through the pins. That crashing sound, that explosion of pin action was the most beautiful sound in the world to me, and I just couldn’t get enough.

 

The years went by, and the trophies piled up. Our whole family was very competitive, and we all loved to bowl. My sister Terri was the best of our clan, and I was always chasing her abilities.

 

Anyway, the first time I stepped onto the lanes being visually impaired, bowling took on a new meaning for me. The hardest thing for me was the feeling of embarrassment. The humility, the pride that I had to swallow was one of the hardest things I have ever done.I went from a championship bowler, to a blind bowler in the blink of a blind eye, and as another part of my past stood beside me, I tied my bowling shoes, stepped onto the lanes, fumbled for a ball, stepped awkwardly three times towards where I thought the black line was, and quickly rolled a speedy gutter ball.

 

Did I mention how I cringed? Did I mention the pang of pain that ran down through me? Did I mention the smile that slowly crept across my face as I stepped back and tried to find another ball? How about the fact that shortly thereafter I rolled another gutter ball?

 

Those trips down to Augusta during the winter months became one of the highlights of my life. I grew very fond of sitting at the tables near the scorer’s desk, and just listening to the sounds. The crashing of the pins, the gutter balls, the camaraderie, it all took me back to the reasons why I loved to bowl. A complete package of time, wrapped in friendship, family and fun.

 

I thank you Mr. Frost for your friendship, your dedication and for your kindness of heart.

 

Well the winter rolled on, and so did my O&M lessons with Rosemary. Trudging through the snow with a white cane sweeping in front of me wasn’t my idea of having fun, but what an amazing opportunity to gather in my senses. The sounds of winter crunching under my feet was an experience like no other I had ever been through. A white cane in front of me, a pretty lady ten steps behind me, an intimidating world wrapped tightly around me, it all led me towards my future, and although it seemed dull and hazy, it brought certain things towards me that I never knew existed.

 

There were many aspects of winter mobility that changed my perceptions. The snow had very sneaky characteristics that I soon found very annoying, and as the tip of my cane packed full of snow and ice, my worries and fears of the unknown were met head on by an unrelenting show of force by Her Magesty, Mother Nature.

 

To be continued…

Advertisements
 

2015 10 26 Individually Unique October 26, 2015

Sometimes it’s as though I run out of things to say. It’s as if the clichés seem boring. It’s as if the humorous insight doesn’t feel the urge to travel through the avenues of care, and end up backing up along the digital highway that connects my brain and my mouth. Sometimes, it’s as if the moment of silence is a far better path to choose.

I’m often asked why I’m so quiet, why I’m so soft spoken. I often don’t know the answer to these questions, and end up shrugging my shoulders with no course of response. I guess I’m wired in a way that leaves me far short than that of the life of the party. I’m not sure if it’s due to the lifeline I have lived, or if it’s just the way I have been wired from day one.

I was at an event this past weekend, and when the introductions went around the room, a hand was placed on my shoulder, telling me that it was my turn to tell everyone who I was, and where I was from.

I sat up in my chair, took a deep breath and said, “I’m Deon Lyons, from the town of Clinton.” I was happy with my orational skills, I mean I was clear, concise, to the point and then, all of a sudden, the hand on my shoulder apologized to the room for my soft, spoken tone and had to reintroduce me to the room in her much more boisterous voice that eventually informed the folks in the room who I actually was.

I was embarrassed, but not for long, because I guess I’m used to it. I can’t do anything about it, and I’m not going to make excuses for it. I am what I am, and that’s all that I am.

God, that sounds like a Popeye cartoon, right?

Anyways, I guess what I’m getting at is that we all have our own characteristics that keep us individually unique from the rest of the world. Not one person on the face of the earth is like us. Some may be similar in looks, or voice, or actions or abilities, but not one of them comes close to being just like us.

I grew up idolizing my older brother and wanted to be just like him. Truth is, I grew up being so far from who he was that it appears I spent a lot of time wishing and hoping for not. I became one thing, and one thing only. I became me, little old me, quiet, shy, gullible, naïve, inquisitive me, dimples and all. I didn’t look like my older brother, I didn’t excel in sports like he did, well, not as well as he did. I didn’t attract all the girls like he did, nor did I really want to. My shyness would get the better of me in more ways than one, and a chick magnet I wasn’t.

I did find the love of my life and together we made the most amazing man on the face of the planet. Was it what it was meant to be, or was it what just happened to stumble in front of me? Either way, I was very fortunate and blessed to find love and build from it.

I am what I am, and although I’m not wrapped tightly some days, my life will never be any more than it is right now. I know it is what I make of it, but what I’m looking at right now is what I have to experience, nothing more, nothing less.

I often think about a lot of things. I often worked out around the yard doing landscaping and gardening and lawn care and whatever fell into my day. I would often step back from the work I had begun, or finished, or pondered upon, and I would imagine how it would look through the eyes of my father. I would contemplate how he would approach the moment, and for that brief moment, I would see him stepping back, folding his arms and smiling. He always threw a warm blanket around the cold shoulders of my day, building confidence in me by telling me how much he admired me, my work, my life, and all of the things that I had placed around me. He would offer suggestions and place forth his personal slice of insight, but not until I got older did I realize just how valuable it was, he was.

Our lives are full of slices of things that we have no idea about. We don’t know how valuable they are, how important they are, how impressive they are, or have been, or could be. We don’t know how good we have it, or how good it will be, or how good it was.

I am what I am because of who I am. So many things factor into who we are and what we are. So many things make up those small little slivers of life, and as we contemplate on what could be, what might be, what should be, let us never forget about what is, for it’s really the only thing you can hang your hat on at the end of the day.

Thanks for stopping by my blog once again, or for the first time, which I hope won’t be the last time, but if it is, thanks for taking part of your day to add to mine.

dp

 

2014 05 04: Congratulations is Due! May 4, 2014

Morning folks.

For the past year, I have had the chance to dig into the soil with both hands again. This is something that after my vision loss in 2010, I never thought I would do again. Gardening for me has been such a wonderful instrument of therapy in my life over the past two decades. As the years went by, I seemed to love it more and more.

This past year I have been reintroduced to gardening once again, and I have also been introduced to an amazing individual who has enabled me to bury my hands into the rich soil of life once more. He has also reintroduced me to a huge part of my life that had wandered deep into the brambles. I have been mentored with compassion, knowledge, wisdom, common sense and friendship. I have been amazed by this man, for his energy is infectious. His heart and his will have shown me a side of humanity that is most times lost in the fabric of society’s hectic ways.

I can see that I’m getting a little too sentimental with this note, but being a fairly passionate man, well, I’m just saying.

I’m talking about David Perry. I know some of you know him better than I do, but in one short year I have come to know of his generosity, his kindness, his extreme humble persona, his intellect, drive, and with all his aspirations set in motion, I can not help but be inspired.

A few weeks ago, an event was held here in Central Maine, in our local city of Waterville honoring a very distinct group of folks. The event was sponsored by REM.
REM (Revitalize the Energy in ME, where ME stands for both “Maine” and “me”) is a grassroots nonprofit organization that supports a network of citizen volunteers working to improve the quality of life in Central Maine. In REM, work is cooperative, diversity is honored, self-reliance is promoted, and civic life is renewed.

The community was invited to the REM Partner Community Volunteer Awards Ceremony at the Waterville Opera House. The awards were a local expression of the organizations awareness of the importance and appreciation of those who give their free time and talent.
Fifty-seven REM Partner organizations gathered to celebrate exemplary volunteers from ten REM Partner organizations.
REM Award honorees for 2014 included David Perry, for his tireless volunteer work with the Alfond Youth Center. Mr. Perry has introduced a program of organic container gardening to the Center, enabling the youth in the area a hands on experience with the rewards of successful gardening. In time, this endeavor will provide the Center with an abundant supply of fresh produce which it can use for its own nutritional programs for the community.

Hats off to David Perry. It has been an honor to work side by side with you, and I look forward to a summer full of continued learning and a growing friendship.

Inspiration is a contributing key to my own personal motivation, and you, my friend, are a great source of it.

Deon P. Lyons
dplion@outlook.com

No matter where you go, there you are, so take advantage of it!
dpl