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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2015 12 02 The Bells of Winter December 2, 2015

It’s official, at least in my mind. Winter is here once again.

I know, I know. The firm, frozen grasp of the Old Man doesn’t really start until December 22 this season, but for me, the first day of December marks the first day of winter, and man, with all the frigid winds whipping out of the north east, with all the frozen puddles, with all the Canada geese looking over their shoulders as they tuck their tail feathers and trim the winds south, it surely does feel like winter already.

Each year we settle into our frozen solstice with different meanings. Depending what’s going on in our lives, we take on a seasonal glow, a snowy frown, a tempered tolerance for what’s in store, and although some winters it seems like a thousand years go by, before we know it, we’re beating the rugs of spring onto the doorsteps of summer, and once again the bottom corner is rounded and we head for that winter solstice once again.

Last year as we headed into the frosty window panes of winter, there was a lot going on in my life. With my own health issues cropping up, and with my lovely wife’s knee injury, I didn’t even really notice winter that much. There was so much out of the ordinary that I guess I never really paid much thought to the snow shovels, or the dipping thermometers that stared us all in the face. Winter just didn’t seem like winter, and as the holidays passed, The top of the calendar shook its head, folded its arms and smirked at me as it stretched its icicles towards spring.

Oh how I loved the winter time as a child. I lived to love the different things that the snowy season had to offer, and as I have written a few times, some of my fondest memories are piled high with the wintery drifts that captured the imagination of an energetic boy. I can still feel the frozen wind whipping past as I held onto the fastest Speedway sled in the world. Turning the corner to make the ascent down into the gravel pit and onto the ice covered ponds down at the bottom of the bowl was a sight to see. There weren’t many times that these stupendous sledding trips were able to be enjoyed, for the conditions had to be perfect. A freezing rain usually meant melting snow, but it also meant a frozen road leading down into a winter wonderland of fun.

Oh how I miss those days of my youth. Such fun. Such excitable fun, and only a frozen day away.

There were a lot of things I took for granted back then, because it was always there, especially for me. Everywhere I turned there was something that a kid could do, and do what a kid could do I did, until the knees of my already patched jeans were worn clean through. As I sit here and type, I remember the lengthy process of getting appropriately bundled up to go out in the Old Man’s winter playground. There were the long johns, the wool socks, the snowmobile suit, the knitted mittens, the scarf, the wool hat and those wonderful snowmobile boots. I felt a little like Ralphy’s little brother in A Christmas Story, but it didn’t matter, because I was a gladiator heading into battle against any man who tried to keep me from having the time of my life.

Hang on kids. If it’s snow you’re looking for, I’m sure you’ll get your share before Old Man Winter has had his last say. He has a unique way some winters of slowly piling it up until we can barely see out the kitchen window.

There was always something to do when I was a kid, and during the months of winter, there was usually a mile wide smile tailing close behind. I used to love those winters most of all.

As we move our way towards another round of holiday magic, I wish you all the wonderment of a million miles of lasting memories.

Thanks for stopping by, and while you’re at it, go grab yourself some.

 

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!