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 07 Journal Excerpt: Page 45 July 7, 2017

Seasons come, and seasons go. With the seasons, the moments that we build can stay with us forever, like the seasons.

 

2012 was a year filled with seasons that were filled with memories that were built from moments that will stay with me for many seasons to come.

 

Wait a minute, grab a moment and build a memory. It’s as easy as 1, 2,

 

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Page 45

 

Through the cold months, my writing found a way to keep me company. The prompts, the assignments, the poems and short stories and essays helped to take my mind off things so that I may enjoy different trips through a kaleidoscope of characters, destinations, situations and reminders of my own life. There were days when I would write a whole chapter for my fiction story, and on those days, the amount of video footage that was running through my head was amazing. As the story played, the words appeared on the screen, and before I knew it, a chapter was staring back at me, often times to the tune of a dozen pages. I explained to the writers in my Saturday group how I was writing what was playing in my mind, and one of the writers told me that she remembered that Stephen King often wrote in similar ways during the early years of his career. I didn’t believe it at the time, but I heard the same from a couple other writers, which caused me to take a step back and try to figure out how to deflate my swollen head and ego back to their original size.

 

Writing for me became a form of therapy. It allowed me to travel through my visions, my thoughts, my personal perceptions in a way that nothing else did. The more I wrote, the more I discovered things about my past, my present, my family, my childhood, my hates and loves and usually at the end of the day, when I shut down the computer, I felt as good as I did during the summer nights, sitting in the living room in Little Falls near an open window, feeling the cool evening breeze whispering in through the screen. That same sense of purpose, of life came rushing through me, and as I walked out of the make shift computer room here in Clinton, the same one where I am right now, well, it was a transformation of time, and of emotions.

 

We were able to celebrate the winter season throughout those frozen months. As a family, my wife and I, along with our son and grandson tried to gobble up as much memory making moments as possible.Jack was 6, and when I was near him and I heard his laughter, I felt like I was six and a half. I remember one afternoon, we were all out in the back yard. There were paths that I had shoveled near the back of the garage, and the snow was probably 2 feet deep, or there abouts. Jack came running up to me and pushed me backwards, causing me to fall back into the deep snow. He was laughing, I was laughing, and my wife was hollering for me not to move. I asked her what the matter was, and she hollered, “There’s a clump of dog poop right next to your head!”

 

Well, needless to say, I didn’t move an inch. Matter of fact, I don’t think I took another breath. Our son, God bless his heart, and strong arms, came running over, and with the help of Jack, the two Lyons men helped pull me back up straight, and out of the doggy doo danger.

 

I’ll never forget that moment, and writing about it now instantly took me back to that great afternoon with three of the most special people in the world.

 

Well the snows came and went, the icicles grew long and dripped their way towards spring, and if I remember correctly, that spring was one of the warmest we had seen in a while. I was glad to see the spring come along, but it just didn’t seem to have the same feeling as it usually did for me. Not having the vision to go along with the warming temps really seemed to be robbing me of a certain characteristic of the season that I had grown to admire and cherish. I kept telling myself that the magic of the season was still there, and it was up to me to figure out how to bring it to me. Perhaps what I didn’t realize was that the more important ingredient of the recipe would be for me to go to it. Another mobility lesson that I never would have expected.

 

That spring saw me continuing the mobility climb with Rosemary. We had traversed our way through the winter sidewalks, and as we stomped the snowy slush from our shoes, the lesson moved along towards the next intersection, with the promise of a toasted bagel and a hot cup of coffee waiting for us on lower Main Street.

 

Sarge and I had formed a friendship that allowed us to talk to each other about the day, the week, the past month, family ties, individual obstacles that we found ourselves working through, and the level of trust and respect that had grown for me was something that you can’t put a price tag on. When I made an error during a lesson, I knew instantly that she was cocking her head to one side, but also that she knew I would be able to figure it out and work my way through it. There were though moments though when her guidance was crucial, and as always, was only a few steps behind me.

 

I think that with any relationship, trust and respect are two of the most important elements of that, or any relationship. Without them, an honest level of communications isn’t possible. I’ve always tried to give folks the best that I have to offer. The old saying that you never get a second chance to make a first impression is true, but after that first impression, the work is far from over.

 

Rosemary injected so many different things into my life. Facing my fears and finding a way to build confidence through it all did take a lot of courage on my part, but it also took a ton of guidance, of experience, of determination and devotion, all of which were part of my O&M instructor, Rosemary.

 

Thanks once again Sarge.

 

To be continued…

 

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2016 12 14 Christmas Poem: Two Steps Back December 14, 2016

Two Steps Back

He stands as still as a nutcracker soldier
Arms at his side, his eyes move up, and down, and up again
His attention focuses in on the detailed brilliance
Way down deep in his footy pajamas, his toes start to dance

Taking two steps back, he regains his soldier’s stance
With a wandering gaze, his eyes grow wide
He starts to reach out, then quickly pulls his hands back
The mesmerizing brilliance is reflected in his curious hazel eyes

An ornamental story unfolds before him
Hand crafted whispers cast down their spell of seasonal magic
Nestling in deep, the colored lights illuminate his inquisitive soul
The gaze of the brave young soldier starts to move up and down again

Closing his eyes, he inhales the holiday scent
With careful precision, he slowly reaches out
Holding his breath, he gently caresses a mirrored orb
With a rush of emotion, his hand slides back down to his side

Again, his eyes dart back and forth
He breathes in deep
Slowly stepping back, he stares up at the lighted star
Breaking out in his patented smile, he turns and dashes out of the room

With a dazzling brilliance all its own, the Christmas tree smiles back

 

2016 12 13 Over the Hills and Through the Years December 13, 2016

Over the hills and through the years, the faces of Christmas change, but their message brings home the same joyous feelings of the season. Though I have changed greatly in appearance, manners and beliefs, my perceptions of Christmas, though seen now through the eyes of an older man, are still met with an innocence of youth that runs up and walks along side me. I am grateful for each season of the spirit, no matter what it holds, no matter how bright the shining light.

My son and grandson came to visit the other day, and as I sat and listened to my two favorite men over a wonderful dinner, and finally a competitive game of dice, I heard in their voices those same echoes of my past that continue to replenish my heart and soul. Although I couldn’t see it with my eyes, whenever my grandson smiled, I could feel it from my toes to my nose. It was the same feeling that I received when my son, his dad, used to continuously hand directly to me, for what seemed a thousand years upon a very special day.

I write often of Christmas. I remember as I write, and oh how those memories choose to nestle in and keep me company. From my childhood, to the family that felt so much a part of me the other day, I wonder if it’s all meant to continue with a story, my story that with each year that passes by, keeps reminding me of how uniquely all of the ingredients of the seasons mix and blend themselves into a story that keeps gaining in momentum.

Try as I might, I can’t seem to shake the feelings of family through the season of Christmas. Try as I may, the tides of emotion seem to grab hold of an older man and shake the life back into him. It’s something that I can’t avoid, and it’s something that, at times, I feel compelled to write about. Passages and phrases and metaphors can’t do it the justice that it deserves, but I continue to write, none the less.

I remember as a child sitting by the picture window in our living room on a snowy winter’s night. Sitting next to the simple colored candle lights in the window, I would gaze out across a field of twilight magic, and as a winter’s snow tumbled quietly to the ground, a calm feeling of peace crept over and down through me. Focusing on the amazing colors of the waning day outside the window, to the reflected images of the Christmas tree behind me in the living room, their competing brilliance was outdone only by the story of the season at hand. Once again, it’s hard for me to describe this feeling, except to say that whenever I’m able to catch a glimpse of it these days, I’m instantly transported back through time to a moment in time, a passage in time, in my time, when a young boy didn’t have to worry about the need to describe it. All he had to do was sit back in his chair, close his eyes and just continue being a young boy, innocently caught up in the pure magic of the moment.

I wish I could think of different words to describe the feelings. I wish I could figure out how to phrase the emotions and memories so that everyone in the world could know what was churning in my heart. I wish and wish and then, I am reminded once again that the best part of these feelings, these emotions isn’t how I might be able to describe them, rather the most amazing part of it all is in effect, born from the simplest ingredient of all. Love.

Something that you can’t describe as a child, continues to be indescribable as an adult. No price tags, no monetary value, no hidden disclaimers or sales pitches, but a straight to the heart word that carries with it a magic that I hope you all are able to grab hold of this, and every season forward.

I feel, I write, therefore, I write what I feel.

May the joys of the Season keep good company with you all.
From a snowy ridge in Maine.

DP

 

2016 02 19 White Knuckles February 19, 2016

White Knuckles

It’s Thursday night, and the wind is calm. The mourning doves have settled in for another winter’s night, and the wind is blowing easy out of the south west. It’s been a fairly mild winter thus far, and believe it or not, I’m looking forward to mud season. I guess in my getting older age, the winter doesn’t hold any magic for me anymore.

Life out here on the ridge doesn’t change much for me. One day sort of blends into the next, and before you know it, here comes another day, barreling around the corner at a rate of speed that would make Steve McQueen’s knuckles turn white.

Over the past few years, I’ve experienced a few white knuckle moments brought on by my blindness. I suppose you could chock it up to life in general. I’ve been writing about it, talking about it, feeling it, hating it, growing from it and accepting it, or trying my best to accept it. I’ve written the word, “I”, often, and I suppose it’s for good reason. I’m sure I’ve bored a lot of you with my recollections, my inhibitions, my beliefs and my outlook, but it’s all I have. It’s all any of us have, and it’s what I have chosen to do.

I’ve had a lot of support, a lot of guidance, been faced with a ton of anxiety and have been rapidly knocked back a few steps, sometimes by the words of others. One way to look at it is that it’s all happening for a reason and through it all, the good, the bad, the ugly, the fascinating and the truth, I’m right here, writing another blog post.

Following one of my recent posts, I received the comment suggesting that I should just get over it. Nothing has ever hit home quite like these three little words did. I have pondered on them more than I care to, but I have also dug in deep to their meaning.

I’m a creative writer by nature, and through my descriptive phrase, I have settled in, more than not, with an ongoing theme of personal survival. I guess I named this blog correctly back in 2011. Such a long time ago, but such a quick journey. I don’t hold praise to the fact that I do feel sorry for myself at times, but I also don’t like the fact that while doing so, I have pulled a lot of people into my situational pity. It all happens so fast though, and before I know it, I’m wondering what the hell I’m doing.

I jokingly tell people that I’m the first blind person I have ever met. It’s true. I never noticed, or had the opportunity to encounter a blind person before 2010, and I’m sorry to say that I wish I never had, but oh, how I’m glad I did. Boy, is that a tug of war statement or what.

I’ve seen so many different things since my sight loss. I’ve met some of the most amazing people on the face of the earth, one of whom I just happen to live with. I’ve been surrounded by love, affection, hope, despair, inspiration and an element of mentoring that I would have never known if not for becoming blind.

I’ll just say that with all I have been through, there’s still much more to my existence. There’s more than meets the eye, and there’s more that I need to learn, to live and to love.

People tell me that I am a form of inspiration. They tell me of how far I’ve come, how much I’ve grown and how confident I look.

Boy if you only knew how much I don’t know, how much I am frightened of, how much I wish things could have been different, but they’re not.

I am grateful though. I’m grateful for the lessons I have learned, the harsh teachings I have been afforded, for those are the most useful. I’m thankful for my God, for my family, for those who throw three little words at me, and for this inner strength that keeps me moving forward. All of these things make up who I am, who I have become, but more importantly, who I might become.

Get over it. It’s a simple phrase that holds so many truths. It’s a three word phrase that has spun me around and caused me to take a deeper look at my own perceptions. Yes, I tend to fall back into that little boyish way of thinking from time to time, and my wife is usually the bearer of my own selfishness, but as long as I can realize it and learn from it, hopefully I can package it up and mail it back to where it belongs.

My mailbox is getting a little full, so I’d better get to work.

Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for listening to the ramblings of a blind billy goat, on a ridge, on a road, on a journey that still awaits me.

Bye for now.

dp

 

2014 04 22 Poetry: Or Am I April 23, 2014

Or Am I

I lie awake in morning hours
Stepping out from cluttered dreams
Dusting out the cobwebbed drawers
Waking up, or so it seems

It’s hard sometimes to separate
My reality from my sleep
The perceptions of my waking hours
And my wandering slumber’s deep

Countless skits of searching steps
Closely looking for a clue
Wrestled down by an unseen foe
With goals to carry through

City scapes and country roads
Take me far away
Amidst crowds of unfamiliar face
Not caring what I say

Endless tasks that seem at hand
Surround the piercing day
Breathless ending to a hurried start
Transforming lumps of clay

Memories from the twisted night
Blend in with simple ease
Blazing trails for setting suns
Cast out for open seas

Not knowing if it’s night or day
I stumble ‘cross the stage
Guiding hands and friendly tone
Help me find the page

Pull the shades and shut the light
The spinning day is through
Thoughts and visions lay me down
As dreams come into view

Casts of characters wait in line
The tasks are all at stake
Have I somehow fallen off to sleep,
Or am I wide awake?

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DP Lyons