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 04: Journal Excerpt Page 44 July 4, 2017

That winter of 2012 introduced me to another group of people, but some were the same that I had met at the 2011 ACB fall convention. This new group of amazement made up the Blind Bowlers of Central Maine, and as a new found family collectively made their way towards me, a new sense of belonging found its way into my life.

 

I was petrified at the first thought of trying to bowl blind, and at first I thought it was a joke, I mean, how can someone who is blind, bowl? It just didn’t make sense to me, so I just sort of shrugged it off as a chance to get to know some new people, one of whom was a fellow by the name of Rolfe Frost.

 

I had met Rolfe back in the spring of 2011, when he gave me a ride home from the employment assessment testing I had done at the Career Center in Augusta. Leona had set me up for the testing, and Rolfe gave me a ride home. We instantly struck up a nice conversation that lasted the whole trip back home, and for me, there was something about this guy that put me at ease, and allowed me to feel completely comfortable as we chatted it up.

 

Rolfe is, well, it’s hard for me to find words to correctly describe him. He has a heart of gold, and I am blessed to have met him, along with this new family of visually impaired people, and many, many more.

 

Blind Bowlers of Maine. It sounded really weird back then at first, but as time went by, it took on a whole new meaning for me. As the Saturday event became something that I looked forward to, I realized that I was slowly becoming one of them, one of the Blind Bowlers. I had found an incredible place where I fit in. I had found a group of people that I had something in common with. I became a Blind Bowler, and it felt comfortably normal.

 

Now I have to tell you that through my life, I was a ferociously competitive candlepin bowler. The first time I picked up a ball and rolled it down the alley, I was hooked, and I instantly became good at it. From an early age, I waited for the chance to step onto the hardwood lanes and slide towards the black line, releasing the ball. As it made that sweet, unmistakeable sound of rolling down the aisle, it hypnotized me until it crashed through the pins. That crashing sound, that explosion of pin action was the most beautiful sound in the world to me, and I just couldn’t get enough.

 

The years went by, and the trophies piled up. Our whole family was very competitive, and we all loved to bowl. My sister Terri was the best of our clan, and I was always chasing her abilities.

 

Anyway, the first time I stepped onto the lanes being visually impaired, bowling took on a new meaning for me. The hardest thing for me was the feeling of embarrassment. The humility, the pride that I had to swallow was one of the hardest things I have ever done.I went from a championship bowler, to a blind bowler in the blink of a blind eye, and as another part of my past stood beside me, I tied my bowling shoes, stepped onto the lanes, fumbled for a ball, stepped awkwardly three times towards where I thought the black line was, and quickly rolled a speedy gutter ball.

 

Did I mention how I cringed? Did I mention the pang of pain that ran down through me? Did I mention the smile that slowly crept across my face as I stepped back and tried to find another ball? How about the fact that shortly thereafter I rolled another gutter ball?

 

Those trips down to Augusta during the winter months became one of the highlights of my life. I grew very fond of sitting at the tables near the scorer’s desk, and just listening to the sounds. The crashing of the pins, the gutter balls, the camaraderie, it all took me back to the reasons why I loved to bowl. A complete package of time, wrapped in friendship, family and fun.

 

I thank you Mr. Frost for your friendship, your dedication and for your kindness of heart.

 

Well the winter rolled on, and so did my O&M lessons with Rosemary. Trudging through the snow with a white cane sweeping in front of me wasn’t my idea of having fun, but what an amazing opportunity to gather in my senses. The sounds of winter crunching under my feet was an experience like no other I had ever been through. A white cane in front of me, a pretty lady ten steps behind me, an intimidating world wrapped tightly around me, it all led me towards my future, and although it seemed dull and hazy, it brought certain things towards me that I never knew existed.

 

There were many aspects of winter mobility that changed my perceptions. The snow had very sneaky characteristics that I soon found very annoying, and as the tip of my cane packed full of snow and ice, my worries and fears of the unknown were met head on by an unrelenting show of force by Her Magesty, Mother Nature.

 

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 11 02 My Toes Nose November 2, 2016

My toes hurt. My arches are broken down. My heels both hurt. My ankles ache. My right shin has dents in it. My left calf is killing me. My right knee locks up and hurts when I go down stairs. My right thigh aches by morning, and my left ass cheek has a permanent dent in it from my wallet. Both of my hips bother me and my back is hopeless. My spine isn’t straight and my left shoulder has one thing wrong with it, unlike my right shoulder that has three. My right elbow locks once in a while and my forearms bother me at night. My wrists are ok, except when they aren’t, and all of my fingers have been broken at least twice. My thumb locks up on my left hand, and my left pinkie hasn’t been straight since 1981. My neck creaks when I turn my head. My left ear always feels clogged, and my right ear always is. My nose has been broken about a dozen times, and my hair has seen better days. Don’t get me started on my eyes, and the scrambled mess that’s inside my head is a story in and of itself.

How am I doing?

How am I really doing? Oh, just fine.
Fine? Really? Fine?
Fine is a four letter word that is nothing more than a cover up. It’s a flagrant foul. It’s a penalty flag deep in the secondary. It’s not what I asked you, and some days it’s all I have to offer.

Oh how a lot of us wish we could have that kiddish outlook that we once possessed. Yes, it’s but a fleeting moment behind us, or so it seems, and yes, it has supplied us with wonderment and splendor amidst everything else that makes up who we are, who we have become and who we used to be.

I long for those days of old when we felt an urge and jumped all over it. Riding a bike, grabbing a basketball, running out through the field, heading back up through the field with a fishing pole in one hand, and a string of fish in the other.

What the hell happened to me? What the hell happened to you? What on earth happened to us?

I saw an old school friend at a local store several years ago. I initially walked right by him, did a double take, and walked back with a smile on my face and a hand reached out for a shake. We talked for a couple minutes ago, and as we reminisced, I felt a little uncomfortable. I kept wanting to ask him why he looked so old. I felt the question on the tip of my tongue, but my better judgment kept my query in check.

What did happen to him? Why did he look so old. The current year put him around 48 years old, but man did he ever look like he was sixty-five to me. I suppose one of the things that kept me from asking him the question was fear of what I looked like myself. With the oncoming gray hair these past twenty years, had I aged as much as he had? I know for sure that some days it felt like it.

By the way, that list of aches and pains at the beginning of this post isn’t real, or is it?

Oh how I wish I had the childish exuberance. I wish I had the hop in a younger step. I wish I had a tank full of energy, and a head full of the wonder of a boy. I suppose some days I still do think like a kid, after all, rarely a day goes by when I don’t pull up a memory or two from my childhood.

I remember a couple weeks ago. My son, grandson, wife and I headed down to the coast to celebrate a birthday. We stopped at Mount View high school in Knox, where there is a large playground. I slowly swung my cane side to side and strolled over to the swings and had a seat while I listened to my son and his son have a go at the yard full of equipment. As I sat and listened, it seemed only a short time ago that I was running after my son while he took in all the magic of a playground. I also remembered how short a time it felt that a young boy ran across a playground in Little Falls. Hands in the air, feet flying over the ground and a heart beating as fast as a heart can beat.

Can you tell what I’m thinking right now? I’ll give you a hint.

It includes some busted toes, a crooked nose and a big smile.

Thanks for stopping by, and have yourself a grand old night.

dp

 

2016 09 05 My Partner in Rhyme September 5, 2016

My Partner in Rhyme

September has come and summer is still hanging on. The nights are getting a little cooler, and the humidity seems to have dropped these past few days. I haven’t felt that surge of autumn fill my senses yet, but I’m sure it won’t be long now.

Last month I had another opportunity to fill my senses with another form of inspiration. I had the opportunity to join pens with a wonderful writer from just west of the Great Lakes. This Wisconsin writer has been a huge source of inspiration for me, as well as many other writers of a writing group that I belong to.

You can find some amazing works of writing skills at our group’s web address.

http://www.magnets and ladders.org

This collection of writers is comprised of a host of talent from sea to shining sea, and I am very fortunate for having crossed paths with them all.

Ok, I got off track. What I was originally talking about was my collaborative partner who I joined with last month to write a poem. This is our second poem we have written together, and like the experience of our first collaborative poem last summer, this poem was another milestone in my short writing career.

Our first collaboration, entitled “My Partner in Rhyme”, can also be found at the Magnets and Ladders link listed earlier in this post.

My partner’s name is Alice Massa, and she has shown me more about writing these past few years than I ever imagined.

I thank you Alice for the experience, for your friendship, Inspiration, guidance and for the unique lessons of life that you hand down without even knowing.

I’d also like to thank you all for stopping by, and I hope your summer supplied you with some spectacular memories.

Oh ya, I almost forgot! The poem! Grin

The poem is born from a discussion that Alice and I were having about rainbows. I had told her how as a gardener, while watering I used to occasionally spray the hose away from the late afternoon sun to form a rainbow. Before I knew it, Alice and I had a five stanza writing piece staring back at us. Her ability to jump on a creative opportunity amazes me, and I am grateful for the experience. The poem is styled in a unique format. It is constructed of a style that resembles how limericks are designed, five lines per stanza, with the first and fifth rhyming. It is also built on five stanzas, which is something that Alice and I agreed on. Alice has also posted this poem, along with a collection of wonderful personal essays, on her amazing blog site, which you can find at the following address:

http://alice13wordwalk.wordpress.com

Thank you Alice for helping me become a better writer, and for being my Partner in Rhyme.

I would like to dedicate this poem to my son Matt, and his son, my grandson Jack. You two guys continue to put the hop in my step.

And away we go!

***

Rainbows Rising
by Alice Jane-Marie Massa and Deon Patrick Lyons

Little child, little child, do you want to make a rainbow?
Do you want to know how?
Just wait for a sunny day;
then, with your back toward the sun,
let the water from the hose arc into a powerful flow.

Little child, little child, let the wonder begin.
Red, orange and yellow, stretching awake inside an Autumn morn.
Green and blue, splashing atop an ocean so deep.
Indigo and violet, snuggling down into a bed of iris.
Replace those aimless frowns with colorful grins.

Can your tiny hand touch the rainbow?
Which color can you hold?
Can you feel the mist of wonder
where sunlight breaks through a raindrop?
Can you wave toward the arc of indigo?

Open your eyes to an Irish tale.
Gaze out across a clovered field.
Stand on your toes and stretch towards the clouds.
Fill your pockets with a fistful of magic.
Chart a course as your rainbow sets sail.

Little child, little child, why are you standing there akimbo?
Ah, you look just like your grandpa,
glistening like his shining star;
but your glance is so afar. Naptime!
Little child, little child, sleep well and dream a rainbow.

 

2016 07 30 A Littler Me July 30, 2016

What would I say to a littler me? What would I say to a young boy with eyes as wide as the skies? What would I tell him about the world that lay in front of him, edging him on? How could I admire him, inspire him, praise him, thank him for bringing such life into my life?

 

This young boy, with such an eager and inquisitive nature had so much potential. He had desires, passions, questions, and yes, he had many wondrous ways that were unique to him. He laughed a lot, cried a little, frowned and smiled, shrugged his shoulders and raised his gaze towards a future that belonged to no one but him. He asked about things he didn’t understand, reached for things that he wanted to hold, jumped up onto the next step, traversed an obstacle or two, and dashed towards the finish line as quick as a cricket. He learned from his mother, was taught by his father, inspired by his brothers and sisters, admired his aunts and uncles, wrote on the chalk board, sat on a bus, stood in line, kneeled and prayed, helped his little brother up and ran after his older sisters. He idolized his older brother with a furied frenzy. He wished he could play baseball like Carl Yastrzemski, basketball like Willis Reed, ski like Jean – Claude Killy and have a come from behind kick like Dave Wottle. He dreamt of a roaring crowd, a monster that was catching up, an endless field to run through, a wild toboggan ride, pitching a no hitter, floating to earth and jumping to the moon.

 

What could I say to this inquisitive young lad with a sparkle in his eye? Would I be able to explain where he is headed? Would I be able to show him all of the miles ahead of him? Could I teach him something he wouldn’t learn on his own? Should I warn him of the hurdles, the obstacles, the fears, the worries that would spin around in his mind? Should I guide him to the left, or veer him to the right?

 

This young boy was the biggest part of me. He stared at a line of stepping stones, just waiting for a chance. He was all of my questions, all of my wonders, all of my joy and all of my hope. He was all of the things that would lead me to here, and although he didn’t know it, he was the creator of a life full of lasting memories.

 

What do you tell a boy like this, like me? What could I learn from him today? What questions would I ask this little man?

 

So often I have thought back and pictured him in my mind. I wonder how he came to be in a slice of life that defined him. I rack my mind some times, trying to remember all that I can about him. The Red Ball Jets, the Super Balls, the Hot Wheels, the cards in the spokes, knee patched jeans, the nights staring out the bedroom window, the Christmas Eves, the cuts, scrapes and bruises, the smiles on his face and the tears in his eyes. I search for hidden gems of his existence, but I usually fall back upon those same memories that have kept me company through my years.

 

Amazed and enlightened, I keep moving forward, as did he. With each step, I remember a young boy on a sting ray bike, pedaling up a hill and down the road of life. The momentum of this energetic little fellow found a way through a world that challenged him, taught him, amazed and bestowed upon him a talent known only to him.

 

What would he say to me today? If he could look ahead into his life, what would he think? Would he be happy with where I am? Would he be thankful that he wound up here with me? Could he begin to understand all of the choices he made? That I made? That we made? Would he be as proud of me as I am of him?

 

This young boy, this young man is all that I am made of. I wouldn’t be, couldn’t be me without the gifts that he possessed. I owe him everything that I am, and as I move on, I can only emulate the heart and soul of this young, courageous savior of my soul, for it is a powerful soul indeed.

 

What would I say to a littler me?

 

I would kneel down, clutch his shoulders, look into his eyes, and while trying to fight back a surge of emotions I would only be able to say one thing.

 

Thank you.

 

 

 

2016 01 20 Amazing Memories January 20, 2016

There are certain things that I will never remember, and there are certain things that I will never forget. There are those things that are etched so vividly in my mind, and there are those things that I seem to only remember bits and pieces of.

I started a list a couple years ago of things that I’ll never forget. The document has turned into several pages of things that I recall. One of them was what we in my childhood neighborhood called, the 4:30 whistle. A factory down town rang out every afternoon at 4:30 with the end of shift whistle. No matter where you were, you knew what time it was, right then, and right there. Right on time, every day, just like old faithful.

I mentioned this to my sister a few months back, and for some reason, she doesn’t remember anything about the 4:30 whistle. No recollection, no memory, nothing at all. I couldn’t believe this, and at first thought she was pulling my leg. I mean, how could she not remember this most prominent staple in our childhood? Surely she had to have been joking, but she insisted that she wasn’t.

It’s funny how our minds gather and process information, events, moments in our lives. From the most important moments, to those instances that don’t really have any bearing on anything, there’s no telling what our minds are going to do with it all.

I’ve had certain things pointed out to me by my sister that I can’t remember at all. What was important to her, might not have been to me, and vice, versa. How do we distinguish what’s important, and what’s forgettable? How does our marvelously amazing brain pick and choose where information goes, how to store it, how to label it, how to recall it?

I often think that I’m at that point in my life where if I haven’t thought of something when I was younger, I never will. I feel that if I haven’t recalled it up till now, it’s forgotten forever. I think that there’s a good chance I will never recall, recollect, remember something from my past that I haven’t remembered up until now.

Gone forever, in the cobwebs of time? How would we know? How would we tell?

There’s no better feeling than when you recollect something from your childhood. The sights, the sounds, the feelings deep inside, the smells, all of it, bundled up into one neat little package, just for you.

No one can remember things quite like we can. Our own slivers of the past, saved to savor, stored to adore, categorized within our brains to catapult us into our very own stories of the past, built for especially us.

Things that have happened since 2010 seem to take different roads. Some of the memories seem like they happened a lifetime ago, while other morsels of memory seem like just a moment ago. Has six years gone by so fast, or is it just another mind trick along a magician’s timeline of information?

I remember when I was a little kid. I remember thinking that I would never be as old as those older people I saw, especially the really, really old ones.

And here I am, nearly as old as those who I thought of as really old. What happened to the time? Don’t you think that with all the years, all the people, all the events and special times, each adding more and more data into our memories, where to put all that information?

It probably would have been great if I could have invested in a brain upgrade with a larger hard drive and more ram. Virtual memory with a quad core processor.

What would have been convenient has conveniently turned into something else, and it’s all mine.

Thanks again for stopping by. If you can remember something new today, grab hold of it and try to remember those unique feelings that went along with those amazing moments of your past.

Stay warm and healthy out there.

dp

 

2015 04 14 Poetry: My Old Friend April 14, 2015

Well we’re nearly half way through the month of April, and to tell you the truth, it seems like last week when the new year started and Old Man Winter came rolling in with a smile as big as Mount Katahdin. Although he’s relaxing on some beach in Daytona, I’m pretty sure he’ll be back next winter with his same old shenanigans. I’ve had so many years getting to know the old doddering popsicle that you could say he is like an old friend.

The following poem I wrote a while back isn’t about Old Man Winter, but it is about those most important memories of our youth, and how they grace us through all our years. Like a dear friend, they settle in and make themselves at home with everything that makes up who we are, how we feel, why we love andhow we select our futures.

Thanks again for visiting
Surviving, and I wish you a lifetime full of those same memories that can’t help but make you smile.

Deon

***

My Old Friend

My, oh my, I can’t believe it’s you!
You’re looking really well.
How on earth have you been, my dear old friend?
Sit down. Let’s chat for a spell.

It doesn’t seem quite possible.
I mean, really, how can it be?
Has the time flown by as quickly for you,
As it seems to have for me?

I remember way back when we were young.
The smiles, the fun, the joy.
The way we ran and jumped and laughed,
As though life was our very own toy.

I remember that brook out behind your house,
Where we caught cray fish and chased all those frogs.
We rode our bikes for hours on end,
Being chased by all of those dogs.

The Cub Scout meetings, the bottle drives,
Playing ball for hours on end.
Hide and seek ’til it was too dark to see.
Having you to call my best friend.

Did it all really happen, or was it a dream?
Was it all just too good to be true?
So much wonderful stuff wrapped around magnificent fun.
There was just always something to do.

I can’t believe that you still look the same.
How on earth have you been, my old friend?
You’re still married, right, with grandkids of your own?
Would you do it all over again?

I hope we see each other again real soon.
I’d like that more than you’d know.
Take care my old friend, tell your wife I said hi.
May you find peace, wherever you go?