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 30 Journal Post Page 43 June 30, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — DP Lyons @ 6:29 pm
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You know, sometimes looking back can seem like you’re bringing up things that happened a lifetime ago. Then there’s those times when seven years ago seems like the day before yesterday. No matter how it seems, where it happened, who was there or what happened, there’s usually one thing that’s similar about all of these memorable encounters.

 

I’ll let you think on that, and if you want, you can read about this.

 

dp

 

***

 

Page 43

 

The wall of blind was slowly becoming a familiar thing. At times I almost felt comfortable with the thought. I’ll stick with the phrase, “almost felt comfortable”.

 

The more I lived and breathed, the more it seems I was searching for something to pull me out of the dull, mirky waters. The more I searched, the more I wrapped myself inside my writing. I remember many mornings getting up at 4am, or just as soon as the road sentries called out their morning reveille. When the black crows sang and rang down through Battleridge, my eyes popped open, and as I could see the morning light come in through the window, it wasn’t long before the keys were popping under my fingers.

 

As I told you a couple pages ago, the Halloween short story that I started had taken over my keypad. One page had turned into five, which turned into chapter 1, then stretched it’s legs towards chapter 10, then chapter 32, then fifteen months had gone by and that’s all I’m gonna write about that right now.

 

2011 turned into 2012, and the snowflakes came in a flurry of storms. My second winter of shoveling was a little different than my first, in that I knew what to expect, and figured I had the upper hand.

 

Man was I wrong!

 

I often joke about trying to shovel the driveway out front, and becoming disoriented as I approached the end by the road, but looking back, there were quite a few times when my charismatic ego stepped knee deep in it.

 

When you think you have things figured out, and thirty seven seconds later you don’t remember ever feeling that way, a bit of soul searching and praying might come in handy. If it doesn’t, they can never tell you that you didn’t try.

 

I remember getting to the end of the driveway, and if the snow was heavy, I tried to find a way to get the scoop full of snow up over the banks. Well, it seemed to me that the easiest solution would be to push the scoop full across the road and slide it into the ditch, which didn’t have the high snowbanks that the end of the driveway had.

 

I used the ash and maple trees on either side of the driveway as landmarks to get my bearings. I relied on these very heavily, and for some reason, my vision, my sucky vision, my pitiful, unrelenting vision wouldn’t allow me to find the trees once I crossed the road.

 

Getting lost in the woods is a scary thing. I’ve been there before, and learned a vital lesson during the experience. Getting lost 34 feet from the end of your driveway might not seem so bad to some people, but for me, the experience was full of the same anxious moments. Heart pounding, sweat rolling, eyes desperately searching back and forth for a clue, hoping to God that a car didn’t come by, but wait a minute! If a car did come by, I might get my bearings and be able to get back to the safe zone, my home.

 

This happened to me a few times that winter, and a few more before and after that winter, and each time it happened, I wished I was back in my pair of Red Ball Jets, sitting on my new Schwinn Stingray, riding towards a sunset of nothing but what a young boy wishes and hopes for.

 

But there I was, once again, trying to find how to get back into my driveway from across the road.

 

The names were not changed to protect the innocent, mainly because blindness doesn’t care a damn about any of that crap.

 

The winter of 2012 filled my story with many more situations, issues, disappointments, hopes, wishes and what mattered the most was the amazing amount of opportunities that were peeking through the fabric of the day, enticing a blind goat to keep stepping forward and reaching out to find a new way to live.

 

I could bore you with more of my perceptions and opinions, but the story needs to keep moving forward before I get too old to remember the highs, and yes, the lows. There’s many of both, and our little Daisy dog just flew by the laundry room, busting me out of my concentration.

 

Dogs love to dance, and it grabs my attention every time. Grin

 

To be continued…

 

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 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 04 05 National Poetry Month: Invisible World April 5, 2017

The fourth of the fourth. Has sort of a nice ring to it, wouldn’t you say?

As a lot of you know, being blind can easily turn into a state of mind. Some days we’re the windshield, and some days, well, we ain’t. When I reach out for an object, a door knob, a glass of water, and my hand ends up exactly where I intend for it to be, man that’s a good feeling.

And then there’s those times when everything seems to be two inches to the right of where it’s supposed to be.

I used to write a lot about losing vision, but it seemed as though there were those periods of time when that was all that I wrote about, and the repetition really seemed to gnaw at my core, for as my writings tend to lean towards the opinion that being blind was, is the last thing on this earth that I want to be, or do, or exist with.

And then, I write some more.

This poem digs deep into the fabric of a mind gone blind, a mind looking for a place to be, a mind looking to find a way to see without the light of vision.

And enough with the rhetoric from the ridge.

I hope you all had a great Tuesday, and thanks for allowing me to explore the possibilities that writing affords me.

Be well and keep on writing.

Dp

***

***.Invisible World

Gathering strength of mind.
Hoping the footsteps will keep in time.
The future cleverly hides in the shadows.
Fading glimpse of independence threatens to be only what used to be.

Obscured visions slow the footsteps to a crawl.
An invisible canvas searches for a colorless world.
Artistic voices paint their faces from within.
A character is revealed.

Lightless days quickly become the past.
A new chapter searches for a title.
The student’s cane sweeps across an invisible world.
Begin to learn, to teach, to live.

 

2016 04 15 Poetry: Detour Signs April 15, 2016

Ya ever wonder how you make it through the day? Ya ever think about all of the hurdles, obstacles, inconveniences and royal pain in the butts you encounter as the world spins underneath?

Oh, by the way, hello and welcome again to Surviving. It’s good to have you stop by. Actually, I’m honored and humbled to have you here.

As I was saying, some days are chock full of the things that can turn your knuckles white and make you growl under your breath. And then, once again, another day stands ready and waiting in the starting blocks to do it all over again.

I have to admit that knowing what some people have to endure during the course of their day is truly amazing. Whenever I think I have it rough, something comes along and makes me say, “There, but for the grace of God, go I”, and then, it doesn’t seem as bad as it did a moment ago.

Detour signs, warning bells, flashing lights, it’s all out there waiting for us.

I wonder if they’re ready for us, for you, for what we have to offer. Grin

And then, once again, away we go.

The following poem is number 15 for the month, and one that I wrote a few years ago. National Poetry Month to be precise.

Don’t forget to yield.

dp

***

Detour Signs
A poem By DP Lyons

Right back where I started from
Here I go again
Same old sounds, same old towns
What now, which way, what then

Left turn, yield, right of way
School bus stop ahead
Maximum height, thirteen feet
Lights changing, green to red

Left turn signal, look both ways
Apply the parking brake
Adjust the rear view mirrors
So many things at stake

Rear defroster’s on the fritz
AC’s blowing hot
Check engine light is on again
Let’s go, or get off the pot

Traffic jams and detour signs
Construction up ahead
Pedestrians have the right of way
Battery just went dead

Parking ban from dusk ’til dawn
Hidden one way signs
U turns, wrong ways, dead end streets
Toll booths, fees and fines

Quarter tank, and dropping fast
Alternator fried
Break down lanes. Tow truck chains
Nowhere left to hide

Information radio
Bottle neck ahead
Coming to a crawling stop
Take a right instead

Last turn now, heading home
Three more blocks to go
Right back where I started from
That’s all I need to know

 

2016 04 13 Poetry: Fingertips April 13, 2016

If I didn’t know it, I’d say it looks like another April the 13th. Am I right? Let me see.

Hmm.

Yup! I knew it! Good old April 13! And how are ya doing my old friend?

I’ve seen a few of these, and the way it looks from here, I’ll probably get a chance to see a few more.

I’ve seen a few pages of text in my life too, with more than my share appearing under my fingertips these past few years. So many words, so many lines, so many different ways a piece of writing can move and flow. There’s no telling where my writings are gonna go half the time, and the other half, well, I couldn’t begin to tell you how they ended up where they did. Writing for me is an adventure. It’s probably more of an adventure than it is for those who read it. I’ve told you before that when I’m done with a piece of writing, and I go back and read it, it’s like I’m reading someone else’s writings, because it just sounds unfamiliar to me. Call me brain dead, and I’d tell you you may just be right, but it is what it is, and as I go back and read through the stuff I write, it’s like taking a journey down an unfamiliar, friendly road. Is that possible?

Anyway, this is poem number 13 that I am submitting for my poem a day challenge for the National Poetry Month of April.

I just thought of that Three Dog Night song, Pieces of April.

Man I love that song, and I thank you for stopping by my blog. Have a great rest of your day, and I’ll catch ya tomorrow.

Now, it’s on with the show, or the poem, or the submission, or is he ever gonna stop?

Grin

dp

***

Fingertips
A poem by DP Lyons

A monitor stays dark.
A screen reader comes alive.
The keys slowly begin their mystical chorus.
Letters quickly find their way, their place, their meaning.

Fingertips dance effortlessly across the sea.
One line of text forms quietly, complete.
A second line collects in the shadows, following close behind.
Margins begin to rise and fall with the rolling tide.

Merging with text, definition begins its methodic pace.
Punctuation falls into place with calculated precision.
Consonants carve through the trade winds, unfurling those ancient sails of script.
A story has begun.

 

2016 04 09 Poetry: How Would You April 9, 2016

April 9th and another day is winding down.

This is my 9th poem submitted for National Poetry Month, and although I wrote this one quick, it is a poem none the less, and have at it with your critique and comments, because I think it deserves it.

I wrote it quick, and I was tired when I started, so I make no excuses.

Life is like that, right? No excuse is an excuse most of the time, so we might as well just keep trying to do our best and accept the results.

Although I don’t usually have a really good excuse, often times I scour my brain trying to come up with one that works, but most times I end up thinking and feeling that I should, could and mustn’t try to waste my time, and the time of others as I wrack my brain for that perfect tale of woe that will lessen the burden of personal responsibility.

And so goes the moral fabric of the timeless art of avoiding blame.

Live the life, learn the lessons, feel the burn and grow from the inside out. It’s really worth it in the long run.

And away we go!

Poem number nine is on the way, and don’t say I didn’t warn ya.

Thanks for everything, and own it when its yours.

Take care and be well.

dp

***

How Would You
A poem by DP Lyons

What did you say when you knelt down to pray?
Where did you turn when you needed to learn?
How did you feel when you found out its real?
Where did you go when the answer was no?

Which one stood out when you started to doubt?
Who did you ask when you veered from the task?
Why did you fear from the one so sincere?
Why would you blame those you never could name?

How would you know if you don’t watch the show?
Why would you care if you can’t stand to bare?
Which would you choose if you started to lose?
Why did you run when you weren’t even done?

Where did you, how did you, when did you, why did you, which did you, who did you
Love?