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…

 

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 01 05 One Scoop, or Two? January 15, 2016

I went out and shoveled the driveway a couple days ago. I didn’t do it because I wanted to. I mean, who in their right mind would ever want to shovel a driveway, right? Thank God the frozen white stuff was the light and fluffy kind, for I really didn’t want to have to over exert myself, although I could use it.

I’m getting soft in my semi old age. In fact, I’m probably in the poorest shape of my life. I don’t really understand why, I mean, I get my proper nourishment every day. Ok, ok, I admit it. Some days I don’t have my recommended daily allowance of milk chocolate, but I more than make up for it the next day, or the day after, ok?

Tell you the truth, I had a hell of a time shoveling. It felt like a taste of those old panic attacks I used to get a few years ago. Maybe not quite as strong, but along the same lines. You see, as I have said a few times these past few months, my vision is nearing the end of its existence. I can’t see what I used to, and what I used to see just plain sucked. I guess I had grown complacent that the limited vision I had since 2010 would be with me for eternity. It wasn’t much to work with, but oh how I worked it. A landmark here, a door frame there, a shiny line of chrome, topped off with my two favorite trees on either side of my driveway, and I was all set to go and get some for myself.

As I slowly and deliberately pushed my snow scoop back and forth down the driveway Wednesday morning, I was faced with a deep, dark blackness that I neither welcomed, nor found any hope of being able to use. It was midnight at 10 o’clock in the morning. My two favorite trees were gone, my shrubs in front of the porch had disappeared, my garage door had vanished, the blue spruce that pointed me towards the East had up and walked away, and I was standing there, waiting for a car to go by, so that I might regain my orientation.

I find myself these days leaning and reaching as I make my way around the inside of my house. I am constantly searching for counter tops, chairs, door jams, doors, and anything that lends a hand with getting from one room to another. My wife keeps telling me I need to use my cane around the house, and I keep telling her that I will never use a cane around the inside of my house. I guess the sniveling little brat of a goat is hanging on to a sense of dignity that perhaps even I don’t understand.

No matter what it is, or called, or referred to, it’s what’s in front of me, and as I go after it, over and over again, you might say that I’m preparing for battle against a foe that will never get the better of me.

At least that’s how I approach it on most days.

My wife, God bless her, is putting up with an oil tanker full of crap that no one should ever have to endure. She has been my anchor these past six years. Hell, she’s been my anchor since 1980, and as I have said before, I owe her my life, and then some.

She has chosen to stay with me, for sicker, for poorer, for goat be in debt up to his goat caboose.

As I was saying, as I made my way down the drive with my snow scoop in my hands doing what snow scoops normally tend to do, the familiar shards of slighted sight were nowhere to be seen. I can’t imagine how the driveway looked after I finished, I mean the edges must have been as if a demolition derby wreaked havoc on the linear edges of the perfectly manicured attempt at snow removal.

As I stood there, leaning on my scoop, I listened for the oncoming traffic up and down our road. At one point, I stood there for what seemed like a goat day, until a lone car came slowly down the ridge. I was trying to gain some orientational clues as to how close I was to the road.

Is orientational a word?

As the car rolled by, I pulled out my talking calculator, my T square, my daylight savings sun dial, my bag of chocolate chips and equated that I was still 20 feet or so from the end of the drive, so, on I scooped, back and forth, South to North, and as I finally broke through the packed snow at the end of my mission, I smiled deep inside, for once again I had found a way to get it done.

I swung the scoop out in front of me, trying to find the mail box, and after several pitiful attempts, “Clang!” there it was, the steel pole of the newspaper box. Five feet further south, and there was the mail box, in all its frozen glory, waiting for me to pluck its prize, and pluck the prize I did.

With a smile, a sigh of relief and a feeling of accomplishment, I headed East up the drive, and realized I now had to try and find the front porch door again.

Orientation’s not just a job, it’s an adventure.
If you can see what you’re doing, please take the time to try and remember what it is that you see.

Have a great day, and thanks for stopping by Surviving.

dp

 

2015 06 20 Hate to Admit It June 20, 2015

I hate to admit it, but sometimes I get extremely frustrated with things. I mean, to the point when I’d like to open a window and chuck all of it out onto the front lawn and let Mother Nature have a go at it. I don’t like the feeling when I get in these moods, and some days, no matter how I try, I just can’t seem to shake all the crap out of my head.

Is this human nature? Is this me not being able to let go? Is this something that after nearly 55 years I still need to work on? How is that possible? How come after all this practice I’m not good at certain things like this some days?

I know, I know. Some of you are probably thinking what to write to me right now, trying to think what to say, thinking what golden nugget of experience you could slap down onto the table that would point me in the right direction.

Fact is, I would appreciate the hell out of any response that could find the magic potion, or remedy, or cure. Fact is, even if I had heard that profitable saying that did the trick, it would be like I was hearing it for the first time, even though I might have heard it a thousand times before.

I experienced one of these days just a few days ago. My insides were all bunched up into a tight little knot that would embarrass a boy scout for not being able to untie. From the early morning hours, I could sense that something was adrift and no matter how I tried, I couldn’t quell tide after tide of emotional swells that totally took control of me and drowned the ramparts with that unforgiving seawater that never sleeps as it eats away at whatever it touches.

That was just a few short days ago, and although I managed to find my pillow that night, I lie wide awake and turned over and over again the ravaged emotions that reminded me how human I am, and how much I have no control over.

I write a lot about how there is an opportunity within each hurdle we face. Inside days like those, with the bitter pills that I sometimes swallow are those carefully hidden sweet drops of nectar that keep my needle pointing north.

Now, if I could only remember if I’m supposed to be going north or not.

Thank you all and God bless every one of you. I always pray that I might keep paying it forward. I have received so much through my lifetime, so I’d better get on with it.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great night.

dp

 

2015 04 12 Poetry: So Much More April 12, 2015

Well it’s the 12th of April, and I’m still hanging in there. I hope there aren’t 48 days in April.

Umm, there aren’t 48 days in April, right?

Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m a blind billy goat looking for a blackberry patch to ramble through. They also know that I have had to learn a different way to live, and seeing how it’s five years later, you’d think I’d be through with all this learning and growing and figuring and tutoring and well I’ll tell you, the learning and figuring never stops. Never ever!

I have had to experience so many things for the first time that some days I feel like a perpetual beginner on his first day of school. If I were, attending my first day of school that is, I would like it if it was the fourth grade. That way I could go up for seconds at lunch time, like all the other bigger kids did, or still do. It was a turning point in my life the first time I went up for seconds on pizza day. I especially liked beets day, because not many kids liked beets, and they would come and dump theirs onto my tray. Beet heaven! I felt like Dwight Shrewt.

Ok, ok, I know a lot of you don’t have a clue who I’m talking about, and I won’t hold it against you.

Now, where was I?

Well, the following poem I wrote a couple hours ago. I didn’t do much editing, other than a few words and a couple typos, so excuse me for any inexcusables.

Did I spell that right?

Anyways, here you go with the April 12th submission for the National Poetry Month. I hope all of ya’s are doing good, and come back whenever you can.

Deon

***

So Much More

Never forget those searching eyes,
Never settle for the obvious.
Never overlook a new beginning.
When will we learn a new way to see?
How will we learn a new way to live?
Why will we learn new questions to ask?
So much more within our grasp.
So much more lies beyond.
So much more develops within.
So much more.
Close those eyes and look through the heart.
Open the mind and look through the soul.
Spread those arms and embrace the new.
The vision is born within the mind.
The mind is a magnet.
The world is magnetic.
The union is destiny.
The result is life.

 

2014 03 16 Unexpectedly March 16, 2014

Excuse me. Can you tell me where I’m going? I mean, half the time I don’t even remember where I’ve been.

Where am I? Is this my life? Am I inside my life? Is my life happening right where I am, right now? what if I wasn’t here right now? What if I was way over, there? Would my life be happening way over there instead of right here? How would I know if things were different? Ya ever wonder why there’s so many variables swirling around out there? Ya ever think that inside every fragment of every second of every minute of every hour of every day, anything could happen? It could, right? I mean, so many things have happened in my life that have seemed to drop right out of the blue, or gray, if it’s a cloudy day. What if it was in May. A gray, cloudy day in May? Oh you betcha.

It’s safe to say that so many folks plan for a rainy day, the unexpected, the variables that surround each moment. You can only plan so much though. Without knowing which unexpected happenstance will make its way into your world next, well, how do you know what to plan for?

I tell you what, I plan on being unprepared for every thing that unexpectedly creeps up on me and scares the billy goat bubble gum outta me. Is that good enough? Is it permissible to be unprepared for the unexpected? I hope so, because, here I am!

There’s just way too much going on out there to stay ahead of it all and prepare for all of it. Flat tires, broken dryers, a leaky pipe under the kitchen sink, a rotted mail box post, a wandering hub cap, no milk for the cereal, no cereal for the milk, the DVR didn’t record The Millers, a stuck zipper, a missing button, three left socks, one right, a broken shoe lace, ice covering everything in sight, a thin layer of snow covering the ice, a Patriots loss, and yes, another Red Sox ring. It’s all so unpredictable, and it’s happening all the time. It just never stops.

I’ve worked hard my whole life, except for those times when I didn’t. I tried to save and invest and spend wisely, but life just kept happening. Greedy son of a gun, this life thing.

Wherever you are, wherever you go, what ever you’re doing, get ready, because here it comes, and it’s heading straight for you.

I’ve learned so many things the hard way, which a lot of us probably have, that when you have some sort of advanced notice of something wicked this way it be heading, duck! Run! Avoid direct contact and for God’s sake, warn as many unexpected folks as you can. Then again, when something good comes along, reach out and grab it with both hands and hug it tight. Pretend like it’s the last good thing you’ll ever see. A full package of Oreo double stuffs way in back of the top shelf of the pantry, a Dairy Queen large Blizzard with chocolate ice cream and peanut butter cups. Don’t forget the hot fudge sauce on top. A smile from a friend, a hug from a grandson, a drooling giggle from a little baby, a baby duckling swimming just as fast as a baby duckling can to catch up to its siblings and mother heading across a pond. There’s just as many good things out there as there are not so good things. Probably a heck of a lot more, if you look hard enough.

Plan for this and receive that. Save for this and dish out some cash for that. Fill your freezer with this and then go out to dinner and order, that? Are you kidding me? Really? No arugula please!

All I’m saying is what I’ve probably already said, and I can’t remember most of it, so go out and get some unexpected stuff for yourself. Take a step through the door, climb over the next rise, run up the stairs and open the window. Shout out as loud as you can, “Why did I open this window!?”

It’s all good, and it’s all yours, that is, if you dare to take on one of those unexpected invariables.

Have an unexpectedly great day.

 

2014 01 09 Changes and Choices January 9, 2014

I received a comment on my blog site this evening. It was on a blog post that was from back in July, 2011. It was from a woman who apparently is going through some significant vision loss struggles. In her comment, she asked me what I kept telling myself as I was in the midst of losing my sight, and how I managed to get through those first few months of change.

 

I haven’t received a comment like this before on my blog, and it spun me around in my computer chair and positioned my fingers on the keys. It also got my head churning and smoldering, and so, I went back and read the post that she was commenting on.

 

Two and a half years have gone by since I wrote that post, which concentrated on those thirty days in June and July, 2010 when I lost my sight, regained it, then lost it again. It told part of the story of a man who faced adversity head on, and without blinking, started his new life. It told of a frightened soul who gained so much, after losing so much. It was a single post, from a single moment in my life. A single moment that I will never forget.

 

My life became instantly new back in the summer of 2010. My life changed directions, and I held on for dear life. My life became something that I had no idea what to do with, but grabbed it and did it anyway. My life became my own, to do with as I chose, to have at it with all of the courage I could muster. It was my life, after all, and it presented me with so many possibilities and choices.

 

In the blink of an eye, I went from a 25 year regional sales rep, pounding away in a delivery truck for sixty hours a week, to a confused, petrified billy goat who couldn’t see his hand in front of his face. I changed, and everything around me changed with it. Probably the thing that changed the most was my attitude, my perceptions, my outlook and my determination. The change I went through actually handed me several options and asked me to choose which ones to stuff into my pocket, and where to go with them.

 

That’s all life is, really. It’s a myriad of choices, surrounded by their consequences and outcomes. With each comes opportunity and yes, with each also comes struggles. Character building if you will.

 

What did I tell myself back in those days? What did I do that helped me get through each day? How on earth did I manage to pull myself through some of those early days of vision loss? I sure as hell wouldn’t like to have to go through those days again, but I am fortunate that I did. You see, I wouldn’t be where I am today if I had not. I wouldn’t have met some of the most amazing individuals I have ever met. I wouldn’t have rediscovered the importance of my family and friends. I wouldn’t have built my inner core of strength and determination as I have. I wouldn’t have been re-introduced to one of my life long passions, writing.

 

There are so many things that have happened to me since losing my sight that probably would have never happened. I have written a few times that I am right where I am supposed to be, right here, right now. I have written how it appears to me sometimes that it was necessary to lose my sight, so that I would gain my insight and learn how to see. I have written of so many things, about me, from inside me, and it has helped me to get to know so much about a guy that I hardly knew.

 

For anyone who is going through the struggles of vision loss, try to keep it inside today. That’s all you’ve got really. Not tomorrow, and surely not yesterday. Just today. You will grieve. You will struggle. You will cry and shout and holler and pound your fist and ask why oh why did it have to happen to you. You will try to figure out why it happened, and you may even think about making a deal with the devil himself to regain your vision. You will ask forgiveness, and you will pray for strength. That’s another thing that helped me so much. I needed strength, I prayed for strength, and I received enough strength to handle the torment and pain and questions that never stopped.

 

I told myself back then, as I still do today, that this new life path came to me, and no one else. It was all mine, and it was my choices that have brought me to this point, today. I struggled with the mind set of, “Why me?”. I wondered and pondered and contemplated all of the reasons why it might have happened to me. But then, a clear thought entered my mixed up mind. I began asking myself, “Why not me?”. I asked myself why something like this shouldn’t happen to me. Why should this happen to someone else, other than me?

 

I raced back and forth, around and around with so many queries and questions back then, and I still do today. I pray and I question and I find a way to realize the blessings that I have. Through it all, I have so much to be thankful for, and although I sometimes forget the reasons, they are all still there, at the end of each day, waiting for me as I lay my head down on my pillow.

 

I was fortunate to have folks around me that instilled in me the belief that I would be ok. They kept telling me that everything was going to be ok. No matter how close to the end of the world it seemed some days, as long as I kept moving forward, everything would be ok.

I have moved forward. I have pulled myself through some of the most difficult days I have ever known. I have also found inspiration, faith, determination, drive, and love.

 

I hope that by living my life, by meeting the challenges head on, by continuing to keep moving my feet forward, I am able to give a little bit of it back.