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 26 Journal Excerpt Page 40 June 26, 2017

 

Some days I don’t feel much like writing. Other days, it feels like I didn’t write enough, or I didn’t write about the right thing, or I strayed to the left when I should have veered to the right. Through all of my time spent writing, I have built up quite an assorted array of essays, stories, poems, and a ton of other things that I don’t really know what to call. Through my fingertips a new world has arrived, and as I have read back through this journal, I’m glad I was chosen to create the text.

 

In a word, thanks.

 

Deon

 

***

 

Page 40

Fall 2011

 

During the month of October, I had the chance to attend my first white cane and guide dog walk of independence in Augusta. My wife, son and grandson Jack also came along, and again I had the chance to meet some people in the blind community of Central Maine. The day was perfect, with warm temps and sunshine flooding the streets of the capitol, and as the canes and paws made our way around the downtown area, I realized that when it came to mobility with my white cane, I wasn’t alone.

 

My retired VRC Leona McKenna was also in attendance, but she wasn’t able to go on the walk with us. She had just been through a rather difficult surgery procedure on one of her feet, but she was there 100 percent in heart and spirit.

 

I did get the chance to talk with another woman, Marge Awalt, and her husband Hugh. They had brought a door prize with them, a voice activated dog that reacted to an accompanying book being read. Did I describe that good enough for you to follow along? Anyway, it was a pretty cool door prize that Jack ended up winning.

 

I just talked with my friend Lynn Merril on the phone, and she remembers being there. By the way, I should remind you again that this page post differs from others, in that I am writing it right now, the 25th of June, 2017. I am gap solving with additional journal info that I never wrote about, until now.

 

Well, the fall was full of differences, as you can imagine, and that I never would imagine. A funny thing happened on the way to writing a short story for my Saturday online writer’s group. We were directed to write a short story for Halloween, and so I set off on a quest to do just that.

 

I didn’t end up writing a short story though.

 

Usually short stories consist of roughly ten pages or so. As I started writing my story, something inside me kicked into gear. I knew after a couple pages that this story wasn’t going to be a short story. Just the way the events started happening, and the way that the movie inside my head was playing, I knew it was more than a short story.

 

Well, Saturday came, and during the group meeting everyone started discussing their stories. During the week leading up to the meeting, members usually submitted their writing piece to the groups list serve, an email list only accessible by group members. This way, the writers had a chance to read the other writer’s submissions in preparations for the next meeting.

 

Anyway, the online meeting started, and the critiques started flowing. When the critique moved to my submission, I told the members that I tried to write a short story, but couldn’t find an ending to it, so I submitted it anyway.

 

Everyone seemed to like the 8 or nine page submission, which I had entitled, Chapter One. There was another writer in the group who decided not to write a short story, but instead continued with chapters of a lengthy story he was writing. Even though I felt a little awkward not being able to end the short story, I shrugged it off as a stepping stone for things to come.

 

And come they did.

 

During this time, my sessions with Mike Adams also continued. I was becoming more comfortable with using my computer, as well as web stuff, in particular, my blog. I had started the blog off with posts declaring my hate for cancer. I had named the blog “Surviving”, as a reminder that I was a cancer survivor, or as I like to say, a cancer conquerer. I hadn’t really thought that the name could mean so many different things, such as surviving blindness, mobility lessons, lawn mower repairs, one sock coming out of the dryer, and probably the worst thing of all, running out of chocolate. The word had so many possibilities, and with each possibility came a world of issues, of chances, of opportunities that could either set you on your ass, or pick you up and take you to the other side where the roses were handed to you in the winner’s circle.

 

Yes, the lessons with Mike proved to be very beneficial, as I had become very dependant on my computer. I communicated with people with it. I felt so comfortable with writing, and while doing so, I didn’t have to worry about maneuvering around my day. I did my maneuvering with the keypad and my fingers. The text that JAWS read to me became a world that I could control, and without the vision there were so many things that I was constantly coming in contact with that kept reminding me how much of my day was completely out of my control. I mean, how could anyone control what they couldn’t see? How is that possible?

 

So many times those slogans of AA came into play, Keep it simple stupid, Turn it Over, Let go, Let God, they all reminded me of the one true thing that I could always control, and that was me. Little old me.

 

Every once in a while I go back and read an old blog post. Often times I sit and laugh while reading, and I ask myself how I ever learned how to write the things I do, the way that I do. I’ve often said that my writing is sometimes like a ping pong ball bouncing all over the place. I just shrug it off, and consider that as long as all the words end up on the screen, then it’s all good. Most of the time, they do, but how the hell would I know? grin

 

And now, for those three little words,

 

To be continued…

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2016 04 18 Poetry: Impeccably April 18, 2016

April the 18th? Really? Already? How is this so?

Ya ever wonder why I start a lot of paragraphs with the words, “Ya ever wonder”? Man I messed up the punctuation of that last sentence, right?

Well, like I was saying, or like I was gonna start to say, so much has been written about noise. So many things have focused on those things that rattle our ear drums. Hardly a time goes by when we aren’t flooded with big, beautiful noise. It’s up there, around over there, under there, through there, and whatever you’re hearing right now, right this very minute, understand that no one else is hearing it quite the same way that you are.

Can you wrap your melon around that one?

I love noise, probably so much because it reminds me that I’m alive, and that I live in a big beautiful world full of every kind of sound you could ever imagine. I love the sound of instruments, voices, cars, trucks, babies, animals, thunder, rain, wind, phones ringing and my screen reader as the keys make their popping sounds under my fingers.

I also like those special times when it is quiet, like when I’m sleeping, when I’m contemplating, when I’m trying to concentrate on things, like school work, aarrgghh! Grin

Quiet has been written and talked about and sung about a lot. Probably not as much as noisy things have, but still, it has received its share of a fair market value, and then, the noise starts up once again and life goes on.

This is the 18th day of April, and below you will find poem number 18 of this, the National Poetry Month of, yup, you guessed it, April!

Pull up a chair, kick your shoes off, and thanks for stopping by my blog.

Please remember, and never forget, no matter where you go, there you are, and if you’re really quiet, you just might be able to hear yourself think.

Mind boggling, ain’t it?

Do take care, and keep well.

dp

***

Impeccably
A poem by DP Lyons

I sat on the front steps in the sunlight this morning
I listened to my own personal slice of the world

The blue jay sang out along the April morn
The cardinal called out in search of its mate
An airliner soared high atop the clouds overhead
A train across the valley blew its whistle as it rumbled to life
A woodpecker did exactly what you would expect a woodpecker to do
A lone crow hollered out from far across the field
A pair of sparrows flittered and chorused their way from tree to tree
A car slowly drove by the front of the house
The train’s whistle blew, once again

And then, slowly, surely, my slice of world went quiet

The birds all stopped singing their song
The train had rumbled its way out of town
The jet was still overhead, but somewhere else
The car had rolled out of sight, and out of sound

It was perfectly quiet
It was impeccably still

No noise
No sound
No cries
No calls
No whispers

A perfectly silent slice of the world
And it was all mine

 

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 04 13 Poetry: Fingertips April 13, 2016

If I didn’t know it, I’d say it looks like another April the 13th. Am I right? Let me see.

Hmm.

Yup! I knew it! Good old April 13! And how are ya doing my old friend?

I’ve seen a few of these, and the way it looks from here, I’ll probably get a chance to see a few more.

I’ve seen a few pages of text in my life too, with more than my share appearing under my fingertips these past few years. So many words, so many lines, so many different ways a piece of writing can move and flow. There’s no telling where my writings are gonna go half the time, and the other half, well, I couldn’t begin to tell you how they ended up where they did. Writing for me is an adventure. It’s probably more of an adventure than it is for those who read it. I’ve told you before that when I’m done with a piece of writing, and I go back and read it, it’s like I’m reading someone else’s writings, because it just sounds unfamiliar to me. Call me brain dead, and I’d tell you you may just be right, but it is what it is, and as I go back and read through the stuff I write, it’s like taking a journey down an unfamiliar, friendly road. Is that possible?

Anyway, this is poem number 13 that I am submitting for my poem a day challenge for the National Poetry Month of April.

I just thought of that Three Dog Night song, Pieces of April.

Man I love that song, and I thank you for stopping by my blog. Have a great rest of your day, and I’ll catch ya tomorrow.

Now, it’s on with the show, or the poem, or the submission, or is he ever gonna stop?

Grin

dp

***

Fingertips
A poem by DP Lyons

A monitor stays dark.
A screen reader comes alive.
The keys slowly begin their mystical chorus.
Letters quickly find their way, their place, their meaning.

Fingertips dance effortlessly across the sea.
One line of text forms quietly, complete.
A second line collects in the shadows, following close behind.
Margins begin to rise and fall with the rolling tide.

Merging with text, definition begins its methodic pace.
Punctuation falls into place with calculated precision.
Consonants carve through the trade winds, unfurling those ancient sails of script.
A story has begun.

 

2016 04 11 Poetry: So Much, So Many April 11, 2016

Happy April the 11th.

With vision loss comes a unique array of emotions. With each emotion comes a journey through the past, followed by a quick glimpse of today. So much to think about with so many options involved. So long are some of the days, yet so quick the nights.

Oh my! That sounds like a poem, right? I better cut and paste while the cutting is good. Grin

Anyway, like I was saying, vision loss, blindness, teaches the senses a perspective untold with sight. It becomes an instructor, yet at the same time, it is the student. I imagine with a different vision these days, and I lie in bed at night arranging my dreams, for they are becoming such a vivid and descriptive movie in my mind.

Life doesn’t seem easy sometimes, or fair, but it does allow for an opportunity with each new day.

I don’t know where I’m going with this, but I’m starting to learn where I have come from, and where I am.

This is the eleventh poem of the month, and thanks once again for stopping by Surviving.

And away we go!

dp

***

So Much, So Many
A poem by DP Lyons

Frustrations build from deep within
A past darkened by night
Clinging tight to yesterday’s song
With hopes of finding the light

I searched for your eyes, for your voice, for your touch
I gazed where you once used to stand
I remembered that smile that lit up my room
And the footprints we left in the sand

In the blink of an eye, at the drop of a hat
As quick as a cricket can be
Everything vanished without a trace
I was left with my fears, and me

So much of my past came flooding in
, so many memories rushed by
So badly I wished I could open my eyes
And look up at an endless sky

I longed for the hue of a morning’s dawn
I pined for a rainbow or two
I craved the shadows dancing about
I missed the morning dew

The dandelions painting an endless field
The majestic mountain views
The rolling waves as they crashed to the shore
So many visions to choose

I flipped through a book of a world gone by
A hint of what once used to be
I whisper out loud as I lower my head
I then close my eyes, and I see

 

2016 04 10 Poetry: Empty Bucket April 10, 2016

And so it goes, on this, the 10th day of April, 2016.

I am blind, as a lot of you know. I have been through some difficult days, weeks, months, and yes, years. I have seen, and then, I have seen nothing. I have tried not to ask for pity, although the pity lies inside of me, and me alone. It’s a strange feeling to lose something you take for granted. I suppose that through my years, I failed to appreciate the many gifts of my life, body and soul, and when the vision fell slowly away, what I was left with was faith and love.

This poem below is one I just wrote. I don’t know why I did, but its content is something that will stay with me until my days here are through. I have come far from those first days of blackness, and as I clawed my way back into my life, these feelings will always be welcome, for they are my story, and many chapters have been written since.

Blindness affects so many of us, and each of our stories is unique. I have found so much without the use of my eyes, and I continue to believe that with a little work and a lot of effort, there are many gifts that still await me.

It’s up to me, and although there are many days where I have to dig deep to find the energy, the energy still waits for me.

Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for inspiring the hell out of a goat, on a ridge, on a big beautiful blue marble that I am glad to call home.

God bless and keep well.

dp

***

Empty Bucket
A Poem by DP Lyons

Kidnapped by the keeper of a blackened hell
Gut wrenching spiral down, down, down
Shades of yesterday’s light, lost forever
Bartering with a devil doesn’t seem out of place

Out of reach
Out of sight
Out of time
Out of control

Unwanted cane screams out with haunting tone
Unprepared passions lie empty inside a hollowed heart
Unchallenged torment lays claim to a wilting rose
Unimaginable burden bears down with fueled rage

Weathered woe casts aside yesterday’s dream
Body blows pummel the innocence within
Hopeless fate rains down on a barren land
The bucket from the well rises empty, again

Fear from helplessness
Anger from Hopelessness
Pity from untruths
Pain from never ending doubt

Starless night
Sunless dawn
Disappearing smile
Fading passions of a gazing child

Blindness begins

 

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