Surviving

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

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

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2014 02 17 Hide and Seek February 17, 2014

It seems as though I have been doing a lot of shoveling these past few days, and low and behold, it’s supposed to snow again tomorrow. It’s almost as though I can feel the anticipation building in my bones.

 

I finally got the shoveling all done from the past two storms. The first storm packed a heavy snow, and this morning, when I was finishing up clearing away the snow from the second storm, it dawned on me that I’ll probably be doing the same thing again tomorrow.

 

Shoveling for me these days is quite a chore. It’s not that I’m getting old, although I am, but it’s more that I have a hard time shoveling, not being able to see. Oh I can catch a quick glimpse of the maple tree on the north side of the drive, or the ash tree on the southern side, and yes, I might get my bearings once in a while if I can look back and see the contrast of the maroon van against the snow covered driveway, but as quick as a cricket, the visual cues come, and they go, and there I am, trying to figure out where the heck I am, in my own driveway.

 

Quite a few times, I have found myself standing still at the bottom of the drive, leaning on my shovel, or my scoop. I lean, and I listen. I listen for any sort of audible clue that may snap me back on track. A passing car, the tangled Red Sox wind chimes hanging from the corner of the garage, a faint whinnie from one of the horses across the way, and sometimes, there just isn’t any sound at all. Those are the times that try a blind billy goat’s soul. Those are the instances where I am forced to once again, try and find my visual cues that are scattered around my murky, fogged up world. Instant O&M lesson? You betcha! The pointed top of the blue spruce, the dull line of the porch roof, the rear bumper of the chevy van, the dark strip at the bottom of the porch door. They’re all my best friend when they show themselves, but there’s those times when they play hide and seek, and I can’t seem to find gooze.

 

Sometimes it’s very hard being blind. Sometimes it’s a never ending, non stop action adventure through a blank page full of one sightless scenario after another.

 

I was sitting in the van the other day, being my usual annoying, disturbing self, when my wife, kidding around, pulled down the front of my hoodie. I have a habit of wearing the hood up, especially on cold days as it keeps my head and neck warm. Anyways, she pulled down the hoodie over my eyes, and I said, “Hey! I can’t see what I can’t see!”

 

There I was, sitting in the darker than usual darkness, again.

 

If I could explain to you just how little I see, you might get an idea of what it’s like for me to get around. I used to tell folks that my vision was like looking through a cheese cloth, at dusk. There ain’t much I can see, but what I can make out, well, you wouldn’t believe how much it helps me get around. A sliver of this, a slice of that, a smidgen of whatever that is over there, and voila, I’m shuffling across the floor, through the doorway and into the next room. Blind billy goats on parade.

 

Well, now you see them, now you don’t. The shimmers are fading. The contrasts are growing dim. The light from the window is, at best, a gray, pale outlet to the rest of the world. It’s my world, and I know full well that it’s right there in front of me, but without being able to see it, it seems to always be just out of reach. Putting your hands on something is a wonderful sense. The touch, the feel, the texture, shape and characteristics are a gift. Notbeing able to see what it is though sort of builds a wall between you and whatever it is. The first thing you do is search your data base to try and find a close facsimile to what the object might be. And peoples faces? Well, that’s a horse of a different color, and a face of a million possibilities, circling around inside a mush melon full of unfinished sketches and scattered snapshots.

 

I can’t see your face, but I can hear your smile. I can’t see your eyes, but I can feel your gaze. I see so many different things these days that I never knew existed. A new view to the world, a fascinating look into a world of blacks and grays, mixed in with an occasional faded blue, dull yellow and a darkening orange. Once in a great while, I actually see the skin tone of my hand, and once in a wonderful blue moon, I catch a glimpse of the color of my wife’s face. Those are the visions I cherish most. The ones that take me back and help me to remember.

 

The skies are predicted to darken again tomorrow. I hope it doesn’t snow, again, but if it does, I’m ready for it, and so is my snow scoop.

 

I think it’s blue.