Surviving

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

2018 01 15 Hitches and Glitches January 15, 2018

Hello.

I know, I know, it’s been a long time since my last post, and although I’m sorry, I’m happier that some of you might have stuck around. Fact is, with all the hitches and glitches, well, it’s a good feeling to be writing about anything.

I’m still trying to figure out what happened to 2017, and here I go, getting ready for the spring semester at school. With the recent cold snap, this winter is seeming to go by slow, but when the calendar speaks up, it’s a different story, so we’ll just settle down and try to enjoy the ride.

I did have quit3e a ride just before Christmas, with health issues causing me to spend a couple weekends in the hospital. It was a hitch and a glitch, and it was a little dicey there for a bit, but with some quick medical treatment and plenty of love and support, here I am just as ugly as ever. grin

Seriously, I ain’t getting any pertier, but I am still moving forward, even though it might be through the fog.

Another one of those glitches? Perhaps just another one of those dang hitches? What ever it is, here I go, and there you are. What a coincidence.

So, lol. Dontcha just love it when someone starts off a sentence with the word, “so”? It’s like they’re getting ready to read down through a grocery list, or they’re about to tell you the different steps to making a peanut butter sandwich.

Is it grammatically correct to start off a sentence with the word, “so”? Everyone does it. News broadcasters, sports announcers, faculty on campus, leaders and followers, and I’m left scratching my head, wondering why.

And here I go, getting older by the minute, and uglier by the hour.

True story. grin

Thanks for stopping by again, and I do hope you all had a wonderful holiday season.

Don’t look now, but 2018 is off to a rip roaring start!

Take care, and be well.

dp

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2014 04 15 Essay: What To Write April 15, 2014

Morning readers.

A lot has happened to me these past four years. Vision loss, assistive technology, learning to touch type, finding true friendship, rediscovering the importance of family, it has all blended in and created a very interesting start to this new chapter in my life. I have lived, and loved, as well as learned, and through it all, I am someone who has never been before.

I wrote the following essay about a year after my 2010 loss of sight. As you will read, writing as become a huge form of therapy for me, and I am blessed for it. I hope that I will be able to continue writing until my time here is done.

Thanks again to all of you who have helped, supported, nourished and cradled my soul. I will forever be in your debt, and you will forever be in my heart.

dp

***

What To Write

As I sit here, staring blankly at my computer screen, I ponder what I should write. My mind wanders across my life in a torrent of mini scripts and video clips of my life. A never ending reel of movie highlights plays before me, skimming the top, and once in a while, diving deep into my past to dig up little golden nuggets of memories full of smiles, and tears, and everything in between.

I scour my memory for things that have seemed to slip my mind. I search the canyons and dry river beds of my thoughts for the lost pages of the novel that is me.

I sit and wonder some times just what to write about next. Different things come to mind, and as I sort through them, one by one, I am flooded with emotions from my past.

I also wonder if I should just write about my dreams, because they are rushing at me, night after night, like never before. More vivid and clear, the moments and faces and feelings associated with my recent countless dreams, fill my head as I wake every morning.

I can’t say that I recall dreaming of things that have taken place since my vision loss, more so the dreams are of times from when I could see. Tale after tale of wonderfully imaginative adventures that leave me wanting more. Maybe I should start writing about them?

I ponder on my poetry, and it’s meanings. I have written quite a few poems this past year, and it seems that one theme is captured more than not, without even trying. My poetry seems to revolve around my vision loss, and all that surrounds it. I write about colors, and sights, and beliefs, and obstacles, and clarity, and faith. I tend to write a lot of poems in the prose form. Up to a few months ago, I did not know what that term meant. I do now, and I enjoy writing in it. I write what feels good, and flows well from within. My style is my own, and I have no other. I am what I write, and what I write, is me. I can not get away from my writings. They have become a huge part of who I am, and where I am heading. I can not overlook the words that jump out onto the computer screen from my fingers.

I do forget about mostly everything when I am writing. Time flies, and the stories, for the most part, just sort of, appear. I don’t know where I go when I write, but I can assure you that it’s a place where I’m supposed to be. I lose all track of time when I write, and I forget that I can not see. The material part of my surroundings take on a new form, or perhaps I should say, they exist somewhere other than here.

So many times I have started a piece, and before I knew it, it was complete. Then as I go back and read through it, I really don’t remember writing most of it. It’s like I’m reading it for the first time. I seem to get transfixed inside.

I do plan to keep on writing. I hope I never lose this passion for writing that I seem to have found this past year. I crave to be in front of the screen, and yearn for the sound of the keys popping under my fingers. It is such a good feeling to me to hear that popping sound. Sure beats the hell out of that old hunt and peck sound that I had grown accustomed to just a few short months ago.

The stories in me will hopefully make their way out onto the screen, one by one. I feel so full sometimes of the tales and the stories and the poems and the words that live within me.

There are so many clichés and catch phrases that sum up what I have gone through. I am them all, and they, me. I guess that I am sort of a cliché myself. I always went with the flow, and hardly ever went against the grain, for fear of being singled out. That fear is no longer welcome in my life, and although it does find it’s way back in from time to time, it knows that it is going to be confronted with a different point of view.

I turn to the left, and hear the spinning of the dryer beside me. As it turns, the seconds of another day spin right along side it. If I can get my mind to spin fast enough, I can keep up with it. Tumble dry, and static free. Wouldn’t that be great?

 

2014 04 09 Roland April 9, 2014

The following is a short story I wrote a couple years ago for one of my writers groups. Here is a link to our website:

http://www.behindoureyes.org
http://www.magnetsandladders.org

Included in this story is a poem that I also wrote. The poem is about cancer and the fight that has waged in the past, today, and will continue to go on tomorrow.

I am a cancer survivor, as is my son. We hold our heads high and pray for all those afflicted by this ruthless monster.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope this story brings home the strength and passion for life that exists all around us today.

***

Roland

The speaker stepped up to the podium to adjust the microphone. He glanced at the empty chair to his left. He anxiously checked his watch, frowning at the results. He licked his lips and tugged at his left ear. His eyes found the clock on the back wall. His heart rate speeded up as he realized the chair to his left was still empty.

Moving to his right, he grabbed hold of a glass of water on the table beside another chair. Nervously, he sipped the water, while tugging at the neck of his dress shirt. As he moved back to the podium, he looked up at the banner behind him. It read, “Cancer Awareness and prevention week”.

He adjusted the microphone once more as he glanced at the clock at the back of the room again. It was 7:04 pm. He leaned into the microphone, “Good evening ladies and Gentlemen. My name is Charles Moody, and I would like to thank you all for joining us tonight for this evenings annual support meeting of The National Cancer Awareness and Prevention Week, which has become a very important yearly event for our community.” He looked at his watch one more time. “We have scheduled a very special speaker for you tonight, but first I would ask you all to join me in looking over some of the printed materials that were handed out to you all tonight. Let’s start with the orange colored pamphlet that is titled,”

The large double doors at the back of the hall suddenly clicked and swung open. A slender middle aged woman entered the room, accompanied on either side by two taller, younger men. The heavy wooden doors clicked shut behind them as all heads in the room turned and followed their progress to the front of the hall , and up to the left side of the podium.

The speaker backed away from the podium and stared intensely at the woman as she made her way towards him. The two younger men stood at her side.

The speaker and the woman exchanged whispered words for a few moments . He bent down and hugged the woman, then took turns shaking the hands of the young gentlemen accompanying her. He stepped up to the microphone once again. “Ladies and gentlemen, at this time I would like to turn the meeting over to a dear friend of mine,” He turned to look at the woman, then faced the crowd again. “Please help me welcome, Mrs. Eleanor Johnston.”

The room applauded as Speaker Moody retreated to the right side of the podium. He lowered his head , and stared at the floor, while Mrs. Johnston slowly moved up to the microphone. The two tall young men that had accompanied her into the hall, now stood at either side of her, staring straight ahead.

In a soft, searching voice, the woman began to speak.

“Thank you Charles.” She smiled at Mr. Moody.

With hands clasped tightly together in front of him, his eyes never lifted from the floor.

She continued, “Good evening everyone. As most of you know, I am Eleanor Johnston. These two handsome men with me tonight are my sons, Avery, and Samuel. We are blessed to be here tonight in support of this wonderful cause, and hope that all of you will join us in the ongoing fight against this ruthless disease that we call cancer.”

She paused, looking back over each shoulder, smiling at her two sons. Turning back to the audience, she reached up onto the podium and placed a standing picture of a handsome, gray haired man. She continued speaking, “It was our original intensions to have my dear husband, Roland Johnston, speak to you tonight. As some of you know, Roland has been battling bone cancer for some time now.”

She paused again, looking down in front of her. The hands of her sons graced her shoulders as she slowly picked up her head once more. She reached out and ran her fingers around the gold frame of the picture. “Although he had been in remission these past few weeks, my husband, their Dad, Roland, unfortunately lost his battle with cancer early this morning.” The room sighed with collective grief as she bravely continued. “He moved through and past this life with dignity, strength, honor and grace.” She paused as her son on her right bent towards her and gently kissed her cheek, as she leaned back into him.

The Roland that we all lived and loved with gave us all strength to endure his struggles. He gave us all a sense of purpose, a gift of hope, and as he bid farewell to us, his passion for family shone brightly for all of us to see.”

As silence strolled through the room, the faint tears could be heard throughout the crowd.

She reached into the front pocket of her sweater, pulling out a piece of paper. Unfolding it, she laid it flat on the podium, and slowly smoothed it with her hands. Taking a deep breath, her eyes lifted again to the onlookers of the room. “Roland Johnston always had a passion to write. Although he hardly ever found the time to do so, his written words graced my soul and found their way into my heart for all our years.” She cleared her throat, looking down at the paper. “This is a poem that my darling Roland wrote, just a few short weeks ago.”

As the audience dried their tears, her soft gentle voice filled the room. She read,

***

“Carry On”

“With whispered silence, you enter our lives.
Meek and mild, so cleverly disguised
Like dust trailing in the breeze, you slowly settle in.
With unfamiliar guest, the Unknowing victims overlook.
Crouching and waiting, you poise patiently through the night.
Never asking, never worrying, never confused.
The goal you seek is written firmly in darkened script.
Unsuspecting, we make our way around you.
Our passion for life becomes your fuel of rage.
So it begins, therefore we change.
Tiny warriors of our lives slowly do battle with you.
You inject your painful sarcasm into our lifelong tales.
Our stories stolen, our memories misplaced.
With relentless hunger, you feed from ravaged hearts.
The Recipes of souls pour out and cry for mercy.
Dwelling deep inside, your endless pillage moves through.
You claim what is not yours, and rip away so much more.
You remain forever mute to our merciful plea.
You remain selfish to our plea.
You remain emotionless to our plea.
Hear our sorrow through our tears.”

With tears streaming down her face, she reached into her other sweater pocket and pulled out a handful of tissues. Her sons moved in closer to her, cradling her shoulders as she looked at each of them, smiling through her sorrow.

Looking back down at the podium, she cleared her throat, and forged on.

“Overcome with question, we search for the answer.
Overcome with doubt, we will always believe.
Overcome with fear, we remain standing brave and tall.
Your burden, though heavy, will not end the love that surrounds us.
We will carry on the names and savor the smiles of tomorrow.
We will carry on with fists full of beating heart.
We will overcome, as we conquer your pitiful cause.
We will endure your spiteful, grayed ashes of doom.
We will hold tight to the love of all from deep within.
We will find our way through your twisted, cancerous root.
You may not ask for one thing more.
You have taken far more than enough.
It is time for you to pack your things and leave.
It is time for you to be on your way.
It is time for us to live once again.”

***

The room sat mesmerized in silence as she quietly folded the paper and placed it carefully back in her sweater pocket.

Again she spoke, “Roland Douglas Johnston fought the cause. He was living the example for all to see. His brave, continued struggle to beat back this monster will not die with him. His courage and determination will live on in the faces and voices of those that are, and will continue to face the struggles that go hand in hand with the armies of darkness that surround this evil beast.”

Her voice became stronger, as her eyes beamed, “With God’s strength and guidance, I will live the rest of my life fighting for this cause, and I welcome you to join me!” She reached to her shoulders, and clutched tightly to her sons hands. “I welcome you to join, us. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you all.”

As she stepped away from the podium, she breathed a sigh of relief. The speaker stepped towards her, and hugged her, then strongly shook the hands of her two sons as he whispered in their ears

She, and her sons, made their way down from the podium, and through the main aisle. The crowd silently stood and quietly reached out to her as she walked by. Spreading her arms out, she graced them all with her touch, slowly moving towards the exit.

Her sons slowly open the double doors, and the three exited the hall. As the metal latches of the doors clicked shut, the audience slowly returned to their seats.

The room was frozen in silence.

Speaker Moody stood at the podium, reached into his coat pocket, pulled out his handkerchief, and wiped away a tear rolling down his cheek.

 

2014 03 29 A Spring Day March 29, 2014

The temperature was hovering around fifty today. It didn’t seem real. It didn’t seam possible. It did feel wonderful though, and as I sat on our deck outside the bedroom early this afternoon, I could feel the sun over my right shoulder. For a few moments when the wind died down, it actually felt warm. I turned to face the sun, and the dim shimmer that I saw made me smile from deep inside a long winter’s heart.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a nasty day, full of sleet, snow, rain and a gusting wind out of the west and the south. I remember only too well how March came roaring in like a lioness on the hunt. The storms were lining up, one after the next, ready to pounce on those still unexpecting souls who were wandering around out in the cold, looking for spring. Well, spring did finally show up three weeks later, but you wouldn’t know it with all the freezing and crunching and slipping and sliding going on. With the snow still piling up, it looked more like winter was just getting under way. The snow banks were high, the driveway was a sheet of snow and ice, the birch trees were bowing their heads, hailing to the one and only King of Winter, the Old Man himself. Each day the sunlight stretched higher , and the shadows grew shorter across the fields of snow, and as the moon made its way around our blue marble once again, March’s final days took shape for 2014.

I’m not sure what the weather holds for the day after tomorrow, but time will tell its tale, and all will be as it should be. Usually, mother nature’s weathered hand deals us in, no matter if we want to play another round or not.

Come on April! Let’s have it already! I’ve been waiting for you since that first day when the thermometer dipped below freezing last November! It’s only been a little more than four months, but it feels like four years, and I feel like four winters have slowly gone by.

I went out back this evening to let the doggies do their business, and I swear I could hear the snow melting. It was a glorious sound, full of life and promises of warmer days. I know that those days full of sunshine are only a few lunar orbits away, but I’m sure they will be greeted this spring with their share of welcoming smiles.

The lambs of spring are poised, ready to graze their way across the coming fields of clover. It might take some time for the color of green to finally show itself, but like always, the painted strokes will come.

The birds seemed more alive today. The cardinal’s song chorused through the morning with a purpose I hadn’t heard since last fall, and as I slowly made my way along the high, narrow path through the snow and approached the bird feeder this morning, a squirrel waited for me on top of the hanging seed house, as if he was letting me know that I was late, and he had a lot of work to do on a warm March day. He finally did jump up and run along the top of the chain link fence, but before I made it half way back to the garage, he was right back there, gobbling up his morning breakfast. The chickadees patiently waited nearby in the apple tree, as they normally tend to do. I love those little guys. They never complain about the falling mercury, the harshness of the winds, or the unforgiving snows and rains. They just keep on being chickadees. How simple is that?

Spring has sprung, and I hope it finally shoves the old geezer out of the way until the colors of fall give way to the old coot once again.

Happy Spring!