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 28 Journal Excerpt Page 42 June 28, 2017

 

Taking on a new challenge is always difficult. There’s things that can make it a little easier, such as having family, friends, folks smarter than you to guide you, advise you and pull and nudge you along. Knowing that there’s people there to help you is a gift. Not being able to see them makes things a lot different, but it allows you to build a level of trust that is quite different than the visual trust. Seeing is believing, but believing without seeing is absolutely priceless.

 

A universal receipt with a lifetime warranty.

 

Deon

 

***

 

Page 42

 

As we started the journey into another long, cold winter, another journey, another adventure of mine was coming to an end. I can’t remember exactly what time of the year it was, but it seems that I remember perhaps late fall, early winter when Mike Adams announced that he had pretty much taught me what he could, and that I should be fine with setting out on my own with my digital adventures. I was rather shocked to hear these words coming from him, for you see, I was under the impression that I would be receiving tutoring from him for the rest of my life. Or at least a close facsimile. Grin

 

Had I fooled him that badly? Did I appear to have a clue? Should I have acted dumber than usual? Would I even remotely resemble an adequately prepared user of assistive technology? Should I have started stomping my feet and sucking my thumb as he handed me a box of Kleenex?Did I still have my warranty?

 

Hearing these words from him, once again, brought forth an upwelling of anxious lava from a semi-dormant volcano of doubt, anguish, confusion and frustration. He had to know how vulnerable I felt. He just had to.

 

But it appeared that he didn’t.

 

Several times, he assured me that he was just an email away, and that I had proven to him that I was fairly capable to problem solve on my own. I guess from his perspective he must have known what he was talking about, right? I mean, he was the instructor, and I was the student.

 

Through this time in my life, I had never felt like such a student. I never felt like I needed to learn as much as I could, as fast as I could. As I learned, I studied a little more, because I knew that I had one test after another coming at me, and this classroom was one of those that locked from the outside of the room, and I was on the inside looking for a chair. It felt like I was unable to sit down though, I guess for fear that something would pass me by without me knowing, or seeing, or noticing. Before 2010 I didn’t want change, but now, then, from 2010 on, the change was taking place whether I wanted it or not.

 

My digital life had taken a sharp left, and man how the scenery had changed. The light and shapes and contrast was still there, in all it’s dulled glory, but I had begun to see things from so many different angles. The sounds, the textures, the broken toes and jammed fingers and bruised shoulders spoke to me in a way that snapped me to an attention I had never known. I wanted to find a way to sleep it off, but each time I awoke, it seemed that I was more awake than ever before.

 

Metaphors, metaphors, metaphors. I got a million of them, and they all have a place.

 

Saying good bye to my assistive technology tutoring was a scary thought, but I didn’t really have time to think about it much. When I came across an obstacle, the hidden opportunity was there for me to dig out, inspect, develop a plan of attack and set out on a mission to conquer, to understand, to build another layer on a new foundation of survival.

 

I never realized what a blessing it was to learn how to type. I remembered back to those first few emails I wrote to Leona, and how frigging frightened I was that I would never figure out how to do it.

 

I, I, I. All that I did revolved around me. Self centered? Posessive? Selfish? How else would I have grabbed hold of so many things that kept appearing in my new dark world?

 

This new life had things in store for me, and going against everything I had lived through in the past, I met every one of these things head on, as though they were all meant to be, and I had no choice. I suppose that’s exactly how it was, and as correct as it ever gets, but damn did it scare the crap out of me from time to time.I wanted to face my fears, but was

it possible to face the fears when they remained hidden behind a wall of blind?

 

To be continued…

 

2017 06 26 Journal Excerpt Page 40 June 26, 2017

 

Some days I don’t feel much like writing. Other days, it feels like I didn’t write enough, or I didn’t write about the right thing, or I strayed to the left when I should have veered to the right. Through all of my time spent writing, I have built up quite an assorted array of essays, stories, poems, and a ton of other things that I don’t really know what to call. Through my fingertips a new world has arrived, and as I have read back through this journal, I’m glad I was chosen to create the text.

 

In a word, thanks.

 

Deon

 

***

 

Page 40

Fall 2011

 

During the month of October, I had the chance to attend my first white cane and guide dog walk of independence in Augusta. My wife, son and grandson Jack also came along, and again I had the chance to meet some people in the blind community of Central Maine. The day was perfect, with warm temps and sunshine flooding the streets of the capitol, and as the canes and paws made our way around the downtown area, I realized that when it came to mobility with my white cane, I wasn’t alone.

 

My retired VRC Leona McKenna was also in attendance, but she wasn’t able to go on the walk with us. She had just been through a rather difficult surgery procedure on one of her feet, but she was there 100 percent in heart and spirit.

 

I did get the chance to talk with another woman, Marge Awalt, and her husband Hugh. They had brought a door prize with them, a voice activated dog that reacted to an accompanying book being read. Did I describe that good enough for you to follow along? Anyway, it was a pretty cool door prize that Jack ended up winning.

 

I just talked with my friend Lynn Merril on the phone, and she remembers being there. By the way, I should remind you again that this page post differs from others, in that I am writing it right now, the 25th of June, 2017. I am gap solving with additional journal info that I never wrote about, until now.

 

Well, the fall was full of differences, as you can imagine, and that I never would imagine. A funny thing happened on the way to writing a short story for my Saturday online writer’s group. We were directed to write a short story for Halloween, and so I set off on a quest to do just that.

 

I didn’t end up writing a short story though.

 

Usually short stories consist of roughly ten pages or so. As I started writing my story, something inside me kicked into gear. I knew after a couple pages that this story wasn’t going to be a short story. Just the way the events started happening, and the way that the movie inside my head was playing, I knew it was more than a short story.

 

Well, Saturday came, and during the group meeting everyone started discussing their stories. During the week leading up to the meeting, members usually submitted their writing piece to the groups list serve, an email list only accessible by group members. This way, the writers had a chance to read the other writer’s submissions in preparations for the next meeting.

 

Anyway, the online meeting started, and the critiques started flowing. When the critique moved to my submission, I told the members that I tried to write a short story, but couldn’t find an ending to it, so I submitted it anyway.

 

Everyone seemed to like the 8 or nine page submission, which I had entitled, Chapter One. There was another writer in the group who decided not to write a short story, but instead continued with chapters of a lengthy story he was writing. Even though I felt a little awkward not being able to end the short story, I shrugged it off as a stepping stone for things to come.

 

And come they did.

 

During this time, my sessions with Mike Adams also continued. I was becoming more comfortable with using my computer, as well as web stuff, in particular, my blog. I had started the blog off with posts declaring my hate for cancer. I had named the blog “Surviving”, as a reminder that I was a cancer survivor, or as I like to say, a cancer conquerer. I hadn’t really thought that the name could mean so many different things, such as surviving blindness, mobility lessons, lawn mower repairs, one sock coming out of the dryer, and probably the worst thing of all, running out of chocolate. The word had so many possibilities, and with each possibility came a world of issues, of chances, of opportunities that could either set you on your ass, or pick you up and take you to the other side where the roses were handed to you in the winner’s circle.

 

Yes, the lessons with Mike proved to be very beneficial, as I had become very dependant on my computer. I communicated with people with it. I felt so comfortable with writing, and while doing so, I didn’t have to worry about maneuvering around my day. I did my maneuvering with the keypad and my fingers. The text that JAWS read to me became a world that I could control, and without the vision there were so many things that I was constantly coming in contact with that kept reminding me how much of my day was completely out of my control. I mean, how could anyone control what they couldn’t see? How is that possible?

 

So many times those slogans of AA came into play, Keep it simple stupid, Turn it Over, Let go, Let God, they all reminded me of the one true thing that I could always control, and that was me. Little old me.

 

Every once in a while I go back and read an old blog post. Often times I sit and laugh while reading, and I ask myself how I ever learned how to write the things I do, the way that I do. I’ve often said that my writing is sometimes like a ping pong ball bouncing all over the place. I just shrug it off, and consider that as long as all the words end up on the screen, then it’s all good. Most of the time, they do, but how the hell would I know? grin

 

And now, for those three little words,

 

To be continued…

 

2017 06 21 Journal Excerpt Page 35 June 21, 2017

Emotions come, and emotions go. The distance between coming and going can feel like a lifetime, but it consists of all the things that life is made of. A recipe of living, breathing, experiencing, discovering, welcoming, and yes, veering away from. Millions of steps towards a sunset, along a sunrise, away from the rain and towards a familiar face, it all brings us to that certain spot where, for some reason, we’re meant to be.

 

And here we go again.

 

Deon

 

***

 

Page 35

 

Through the rest of summer 2011 I did manage to stick with the two groups, and as the writing assignments piled up, so too did my confidence in writing overall. I had started writing short stories and poems about my experience of losing my sight, and as I almost forgot to tell you, late spring 2011 I started my blog. I can’t really remember how I got pointed in that direction, but as I write this entry now, late spring 2017, I am still writing and posting to my blog, which is entitled, Surviving.

 

I started the blog on Google’s Blogspot platform, and with the help of my then assistive tech tutor, Mike Adams, figured out how to do it. We spent a few sessions going over the ins and outs of blogging, but time and time again I was met head on with issues with the blog site’s accessibility features, or lack there of. Before I knew it, the moderator of the second writer’s group told me about WordPress, which was another blogging platform that, from what Jacki told me, was far more responsive to the needs of those like me who used screen readers.

 

I switched over to WordPress, and am still using their website today. I think I’m hovering around 400 or so posts to my blog, and am right now in the process of posting a series of entries containing this journal that I’m writing in right now. I posted page 25 today, that’s 25 posts, 25 days in a row, and I still have a few to go, especially seeing as how I am lengthening the size of the journal as I write. Grin

 

 

Turning back a couple months, Rosemary and I started back with O&M early spring 2011, and although I didn’t look forward to the mobility lessons, I knew that I needed them greatly.

 

Our favorite stomping grounds were in the city of Waterville, and away I went, following my white cane with a blonde haired woman ten steps behind me. She didn’t have me do any more lessons with blindfolds on, which was a reason for me to jump for joy. What little sight I had was lending me a hand, as it was giving me the opportunity to find and identify landmarks, as blurred and dull as they were. Contrasted items proved to be the most benefit for me, especially with snow on the ground. Bare pavement, parked cars, telephone poles, buildings against the sky, they all soon became my best friends. I learned very quickly though just how many tricks my poor, limited vision could play on me. I remember once sighting what I thought was a telephone pole between the road and I. I soon found out that the pole wasn’t next to me, but across the road on that sidewalk. Things like that really spun me around and smacked me upside the head. A reality check supreme.

 

Our excursions around downtown Waterville usually included a stop into a small Main Street sandwich shop, where we both usually ordered bagels and a coffee. I fell in love with their asiago cheese bagel. As we sat and consumed our drinks and foods, we usually discussed the lesson. I was able to go over issues that I was encountering, and how they were affecting my ability to maneuver behind the cane. Rosemary began asking me to write up overviews of the lessons, which turned into assignments that I emailed to her upon completion. At the end of our time together, I compiled the documents into one single manuscript, which I sent to her as well. I should turn that into a book some time in the future.

 

The lessons over those next few months were a constant reminder of my blindness, but they also helped to open my eyes to what might be in store for me. Rosemary kept telling me that besides feeling vulnerable, frightened, scared, angry, frustrated, inept, uncoordinated and mad as hell, I exuded a level of confidence with the way I carried myself as I maneuvered down the sidewalks of Waterville. She kept telling me that I stood tall as I walked behind my cane, and that people were always noticing me. I was fairly certain that the reason they were noticing me was because I was a very unusual sight. She continued to disagree, and kept telling me that whatever I was feeling inside, it didn’t show on the outside.

 

There were occasions where my mobility lessons ended up being a learning experience extraordinaire. I shrug these incidents off as extreme lessons, and believe me, the emotions that accompanied these instances were very, very extreme. ,

 

To be continued…

 

 

2016 04 04 Poetry: I April 4, 2016

Another day, another dollar three eighty five. Oh my. Look at the shiny coins.

Squirrel!

Ok then. I’m back, and I’m focused, or am I?

Have you ever thought you knew what you needed to know, only to find out that you were incredibly wrong? Yes, this has happened to a goat I know on a number of occasions. Actually, on numerous occasions, or is that the same thing?

It’s April 4th, 2016, and don’t look now, but you’re probably eventually going to end up heading towards something that you are totally unprepared for, and it’s probably going to sting, a little, and maybe a lot, but there’s only one way to find out, right?

This poem below is one that I just finished writing a few minutes ago. It’s quick, to the point, and although it continuously seems to avoid the point, it eventually took me to a place I have been a few times, but ended up being completely unfamiliar with.

And then, the day keeps coming atcha.

Thanks for stopping by one more time, and I do hope you keep on finding the courage, the strength, the faith that you’ll end up exactly where you’re supposed to be.

Take care, and here we go, again.

dp

***

I

I’m sorry
I didn’t know
I didn’t think
I didn’t realize

I wasn’t paying attention
I wasn’t looking out
I wasn’t expecting it
I wasn’t ready

I ask for forgiveness
I ask for understanding
I ask for compassion
I ask for guidance

I will try harder
I will try again
I will try one more time
I will try and try

I’m slowly catching up
I’m really working hard
I’m giving it all I’ve got
I’m almost there

I can almost see it
I can almost feel it
I can almost hear it
I can almost sense it

This isn’t the right one
This looks completely different
This seems out of place
This isn’t what I was expecting

Am I in the right place?
Did I make a wrong turn?
Have I misunderstood?
Do I look confused?

I made a mistake
I apologize
I’m sorry
I,

 

2016 04 03 Poetry: Words April 3, 2016

April 3 is absolutely free, and it’s almost slipped away towards tomorrow. How quickly the time can slip away. How quickly we live another day. How quickly it’s time for another poem, and here I go again with my third installment in my poem a day challenge for this, National Poetry Month.

I wish to thank all of you who took a chance and dropped in. I’m honored by your presence, and hope your day went well.
We lost our power this afternoon, and I didn’t have time to write a poem when the power came back on, so it looks like I’m cheating, but I’ll try to make up for it by writing two poems for one of the upcoming days. I guess time will tell, right? grin
Now then, here we go with another poem. I wrote this a while ago, and as I was flipping down through the folder of my poetry, it grabbed my curiosity, so, here it is for your enjoyment, your comment and your critique.

Thanks, and have a great rest of your day. Hopefully, I’ll catch ya tomorrow.
Dp

***

Words
A poem by DP Lyons

Whispers of words echo around cluttered corridors
Catch phrases and metaphors find their purpose under a spinning sun
Meanings defined, they settle quietly along a dusty bookshelf
Carefully collect them all, and safely log them away

Hollow rants and empty rage make their lasting book marks, quick and deep
Relentless torment cuts to the quick with selfish tone
Devious plots slowly attack and rip away the pages of carefully gathered time
Hate and anger lie cleverly hidden, armed with blades of sharpened text

Armies of unforgiving envy ravage a misspelled, barren land
Whirling verbs and advancing adjectives take little blame and accept no prisoners
Plotting their pillage, they strike their targets with deadly, shameless punctuation
Misspelled innocence stands little chance and surrenders, beaten, battered and bruised

Alone, in a secluded chapter, love waits its turn
After patiently plotting a paraphrased path, it slowly makes its move
Carefully selected praise with words of beauty wrap around and tug at wounded hearts
They find their way, their paragraph, their purpose, their home

The darkened lands of dread and pity give way to an ever changing font
True meaning and everlasting purpose slowly rise beyond the eastern margin
A new, peaceful light reaches out as it shapes the sentence structure of another day
Metaphors of love form and take shape, with pure passion and welcomed affection

The page has turned.

 

2016 04 03 Poetry: Building Blocks April 2, 2016

Well look at that! It’s April the second already! My oh my how the time flies by when you’re having fun. I bet some of you just thought to yourselves, “I know, right?”

Anyway, it’s the second day of National Poetry Month. Ya, that’s right. Big burly billy goat writing poetry. Kinda funny looking, right? Grin

Ok, ok, I’m sorry. I’ll focus a little more and try to get this post all sorted out. Like I said, it’s April the second, and below you will find my second installment of the “Poem a Day” challenge that I committed to.

This poem I started this morning, and finished just a few minutes ago. Now, don’t get carried away. It’s not like I worked on it all day. I took a break to go help my grandson celebrate his 10th birthday today, and I’m all caked out, with no room to spare.

And away we go with poem number 2!

Thanks again for stopping by Surviving, and have a restful night.
Dp

***

Building Blocks
A poem by DP Lyons

Take one step
Then one more
It’s really not that far
Reaching out
Reaching up
A shimmer from a star

Learning curves
Building blocks
The man upon the moon
One more step
School bus trips
Summer ends too soon

Growing up
Heading out
The world is calling you
Moving vans
Plastic cards
Thirty days past due

Baby’s here
Bottle’s cold
Sleepless nights begin
Late for work
Traffic jam
Heartburn settles in

Baseball gloves
Ballet shoes
Cell phone died tonight
Ice cream cones
Pizza box
Slacks are getting tight

One by one
College bound
Years have rolled on past
Lonely house
Empty rooms
Memories that last

Growing old
Worried frown
Can’t remember crap
Supper time
Microwave
Time to take a nap

Take one step
Then one more
Partners till the end
Better half
Kindred soul
My life, my love, my friend

 

2016 04 01 Poetry: Unrehearsed April 1, 2016

And so, once again, it’s April 1, and once again, it’s National Poetry Month.

Last year, I posted a poem a day for the whole month of April, and here I go again. I love to write poetry, and although I have found it harder to write this past year, I will make my effort to once again post a poem a day to this, my blog. As I said, I love to write poetry, and as the words form their music across the page, a different side of me rises up from a hidden place, a secret place, a warming, cozy place, and as I write, a familiar song continues to play across my heart and soul.

I wish you all the best that April has to offer, and aside from being a day born unto the fools of the world, I hope that each day of this spring month brings you a sense of being, a sense of love, a sense of life that you will never forget.

And here we go with poem number 1.

***

Unrehearsed
A Poem by DP Lyons

I find it harder to write what I feel
The words can’t form their text
Emotions rush in and take hold of an innocent gaze
Memories curiously scatter across the floor

A year older, a day wiser, a moment so unsure
Character of doubt drifts across the morning mist
I reach to the left as I lean to the right
I clutch frantically for something I can’t see

One small, cautious step upon the moon
The earth spins far above
I hear the calls from a distant home
Unrehearsed words continue to lose their way

Gather in those emotions which have wandered off
Collect those dreams of a restless night
Cradle those wishes of a mindful past
And yet again, those words fall short of their mark

Continue to live the simple phrase
Faith will take me to the end of the page
Bend back those frightened words
I breathe, I feel, I live, and so, I write