Yep, September is Special

Being kind to oneself is the start of being kind to others, any other show of kindness is just show.

Tomorrow is the first day of Autumn.

Leaves are changing colors, Day light Savings Time will end.

I have begun my Halloween preparations.

This is Dystonia Awareness Month.  And to think you almost missed that…I have been aware of TD (Tardive Dystonia) for years now.

I have many things to be grateful for because of TD: My ‘Shedding “Spaz” status’ handle (I can talk to you here annd you’re not distracted by my spastic presence); I have saved a small fortune on dinning out, afraid to attract too much attention in restaurants (admit it, the people that are a little different always get your attention); I have become intolerant of unkind judgements of others toward the “imperfect”.

Not all aspects of Dystonia are the same.  Imagine waking up in the morning, getting out of bed, stretching and looking down at your toes…and that will be your pose…for the balance of your waking day.

You can be sure that the buttons of your shirt are well done, belt perfectly positioned…but unable to lift your head to look in the mirror; apply your makeup with the mirror flat on the counter, put on the finishing touches to a lovely face that no one will be able to see.  “Remember to make eye contact during the interview, hon.  Oh, sorry.  You’ll be great.”

That would be Cervical Dystonia…for some.

I have the distinction of being a lunatic and as such have been given “mood stabilizers”, “anti-psychotics” for years (read that decades) and I ‘suffer’ with Neuroleptic Induced Tardive Dystonia; at times I can’t talk, the vocal chords are constricted and don’t move, whereas my face doesn’t stop moving, my left arm and hand look as if I’m working on some elaborate chord progressions for my next ‘air-guitar’ concert.

Upshot, read the warnings on your Rx’s, talk to your doctor.  Some are born with Dystonia, some acquire it and like many motion disorders, there are treatments.

If you have been diagnosed with Dystonia, run do not walk to a neurologist that specializes in movement disorders and find someone (professional, friend, a chat room) and talk…self-induced isolation and demeaning oneself is not the answer.

There are times when I stop the jitters; when I sleep, when I’m concentrating on a project and when I meditate.

The best definition I have found for meditation is:

Sit softly in the silence between the noise of your thoughts.  This is meditation.  This is real love.

I have been away from WP for some time, caught up in my own muck and mire of depression and self-pity.  One of the “projects” that takes me out of myself are the few Vlogs I’ve done.  I have another to tape and post this afternoon and in honor of Dystonia Awareness Month, this will be sans the motion editing.  Be warned.

peace out pilgrims.

be ever so kind to yourselveskindness

Image from unknown photographer posted Feb. 2014, titled “Kindness”.  If anyone can identify the artist or the post please let me know so that I may properly credit and please, all, follow this person, he has the eye and the heart of a true artist.

Advertisements

My Clock

 

 

“Michael, you are going to have to look after Mom and Dad.  Gather your things.”  The SWMBO said in her most endearing voice.

She was referring to the ‘Octogenarians’; the Wicked Witch of the West (Mario) and he who does not/cannot/will not listen (John).

“Yes, dear.  How long will I be staying…just to be sure how many of “my things” I will need to gather?”  I said over my shoulder as I made some futile adjustments to my clock.  It is a two hundred year old case, mostly, with a great number of original workings; the balance found on “Stealitback.com” and canabalised parts from more contemporary clocks.  It runs 2 minutes, 38 seconds slow in any given 24 hour period; as close as I will ever get.

 Between 2100 and 2130 every night I Wind the clock and the chimes and set it just short of 3 minutes fast, every night that I’m home.  “How long do you think I’ll be there?”  I said a bit louder.

“Johnnie will be coming down to help out after his trip to Hawaii, he is going to need to get his things together; close the house, take care of his mail, visit the cousins…oh six to eight weeks.”

“They are your parents; you, John, and Chris…is Chris coming down to ‘help out’?”

“Johnnie’s doing all he can, Chris is just too busy and you know I have to hold down my department.  And you, you’re not doing anything…you’re retired.”  The SWMBO walked from the kitchen to the living room, TV remote in her hand, “Pack for a week, I’ll relieve you after that.”

 “Gotcha.  Hon, please remember to wind the clock.”

 Nine days later I received a rare call from the SWMBO, it was 1000, “Yes, luv?”  With the SWMBO it was always best to ask what she wanted first; the conversation was going to get there soon enough.

“I’m having a miserable day, everyone knows how hard it is on me, Mom having cancer, and with the chemo side effects, everyone thinks I should be with her.  Well, at least I’ll beat the traffic.  Make sure you have finished their back yard.”

“Its been three years since a self respecting rake would be caught dead in that forest. How do you expect me to have it cleaned up.  Did you forget I’m feeding your mother and father, arguing with both about any PT and carrying her up the stairs to bed.  You do know that she can walk up stairs perfectly well and all of this is just to torment me, don’t you?”

“Whatever, I’ll be there soon”

Not long after the garage door open, I was certain it was to the sound of trumpets sounding.

“Hello, Mom.  How are you doing?”  The SWMBO yelled out to the living room not looking for a response; from the corner of the couch a small, frail looking figure with very thin silver hair mumbled…something.

“I was going to talk to him about that right now, don’t worry.”  The SWMBO’s superhuman powers were astonishing (and not a trifle scary).

“I know you wanted to take your little fishing trip, after the chemo and all…”

“That won’t be for three or four months and I am taking “my little fishing trip”…and?”

“We’ve talked about that, and you’re spasms…you need to use your cane so much now…and your voice…well we, Mom, Johnnie and I feel you would not be safe, wading in streams, you could fall…and…and drown; we really can’t let you do that.

“Oh when you get to the house, the lawn is a mess; take care of that, walk Duchess and QVC has a Quacker Factory program at 6:00pm, I’ll need to be home for that.”

“Gotcha, back in five hours.”

“Oh, Michael, Johnnie’s been delayed another week.  Love ya.”

The garage door at the house squeaked a bit, I’ll need to lubricate that.  I walked through the door from the garage into the living room, my 18 year old puppy, the cats Poe and Callie were all asleep on the couch; Alix would be stretched out to capture the sliver of sunlight that escaped the blinds in the office at this hour.

The house was quiet, save Callie’s snore and the silence was ripping a hole in an already injured heart.

There was no ticking as the pendulum would have swung, back and forth; the dark wall clock, with the two  hundred year old case, mostly, was quiet.

The clock hadn’t been wound.

I took the ten minutes to properly set the time, wound the clock, set the pendulum in motion.  I watched the slow movements of the hands now set almost three minutes ahead.  Content that the world was right again, I shut and locked the case.

Image

“Duchess, baby”  I said as I scratched her ears and kissed her head, “Let’s go for a walk and I’ll leave the leash on so you’re not committed to chasing the rabbits.  And then treats…before I mow the lawn.

 

 

peace out, pilgrims

 

 

Weed Garden

 

I love my weed garden (there is not a single cannabis plant to be found).  I am the only human in the house that shares this sentiment.

Over the years I have planted trees, shrubs, annuals and perennials around the house and throughout the yard.  Digging here is much like anywhere in Georgia; there is red clay and there are rocks, rocks of every size, shape and mineral imaginable.  The rocks went into a pile; I called it, my pile of rocks.

On one particularly hot summer day, four years ago, I envisioned a rustic rock wall, along the culvert that made an eight foot deep cut into the little hill that is my back yard.  The culvert runs for about a hundred feet before sliding into the five foot diameter drainage pipe beneath the lane.

It was an ambitious plan and after careful thought and a chilled beverage, I scaled back my vision of a wall to about twelve feet.  Even so, it was still a lot of rocks to move.

As happens with many of my visions, things changed.  The wall I envisioned moved from the top of the hill; I carved instead into the bank and stacked the stones.

Just beyond the top of the wall was every imaginable natural, wild growth to be found in Georgia.  One year the rains carried blackberries, blackberries that grew in grand proliferation; to the delight of the neighbor’s children as they approached the brambles with buckets and visions of jams and pies.  The storms came and as storms are want to do, they brought change; the blackberries were soon replaced with fragrant honeysuckle (and poison oak, not the best year).

It was that year of the ‘fragrant itch’, in late spring the wall evolved, into a garden.  The pile of rocks all but disappeared and became three small, terraced sections, bordered by rough stone walls.  Taken as a whole, the garden was shaped like a leaf.

I turned the earth, that wonderful Georgia red clay, and added fresh soil and turned it again.  I planted… wild flowers. In a few short weeks, tall, gangly green plants had pushed through the soil and raised their heads of yellow, orange, blue and red to the summer sky; and then the fun started.  Bumble bees from three counties took up residence, along with a host of butterflies and by early July, the humming birds.

I took to having my morning coffee; sitting on the wet grass beside the garden, the new inhabitants took little or no notice of me even the feral gerbils that had burrowed their way in (chipmunks).

Today, once again, the SWMBO, informed me that the garden, like my unkempt hair was “unbecoming” and had to go.  One is going all too fast on its own, the other…not by my hand, if however she wished to disassemble it…

As it is every Spring Season, the garden is overrun with weeds and leaves from the old sycamore that had at last surrendered to the assaults of wind and lightening.  Vines of various types had worked their way up from the culvert and through the cracks in the wall; some moved the stone in sections and that part of the wall would be redone and others anchored the stones in place, like a living thing.

Familiar earth, rich and black, turning easily, as a familiar shovel blade cut into it, weeds give up their hold, for a season.  Soon I’ll sit quietly in the grass and listen to the sweet music from my little weed garden.  And I’ll smile, a lot.

Peace out, pilgrimsImageImageImage

The Major and Darcy Weaver, Chapter 3

“My eyes were closed tight, hands behind my back and by my reckoning; I jumped, maybe 6 inches high, over a twig.  That was about a minute ago.  I was waiting to land.  I slowly peeked at where I was going to end up; and through my now opened eyes, I looked at all the stars…where a hall was supposed to be.

“STARS, they were all around me; in front of, in back of me…” the Major turned to his left, tilted his head up, then down, spun left, then right,”…they were on top of, all around me, they were even under me, stars and nothing else.  What happened to the hall, the hall that was on the other side of the twig?

“What happened to my clothes, in the light of a gazillion stars I could see that I was no longer wearing my 49s sweat shirt and jeans anymore.  The pants I was wearing were of a of a woolen type, a deep brown like the wet bark of a tree, a ruffled front shirt with lace sleeves the color of morning fog, braces of the deepest purple, a coat the color of a deep water lake collar rising up to my ears sleeves rolled back and draping to mid-thigh.  I felt a little chill around my ankles and saw…the sneakers, an olive green with orange laces and no socks.

“It was then that I noticed the hat.  A scarlet hat of felt, yards and yards of felt.  Something was tickling my right ear, like a bug buzzing to close; I went to brush it away and discovered it was a feather.  The hat seemed to be growing feathers, long feathers, short feathers, straight feathers, bent feathers, when would it stop?  I reached to the top of the hat; it stopped.

“I was standing, floating; spinning it was hard to tell in that space.  There were explosions of colors going on all around me, colors I could never have imagined.  Then colors collapsed on themselves, and music was in the colors, thousands of beautiful songs played at my ear.  I was somewhere between the beginning and the end, here and there…and then I knew something else…I WAS FALLING!”

The Major grabbed the brim of the hat and with a look of panic on his face.

“From out of nowhere, there were clouds and water and very solid ground below me (I was sure it was below me this time) and  I was going to die.

“The wind was tearing at me as I fell faster and faster, it pulled most of the feathers from my oversized hat.  I twisted the hat on tighter…and I slowed down, I tilted the hat right, and I turned right, with the hat over my right ear, the few remaining feathers flopping in the breeze, I was floating (again).  Floating over a land that was nestled in the warmest corner of the calmest sea (and I had seen them all during my rapid decent).

“There were fields, filled with every kind of flower imaginable; there were patches of the deepest red, blues and green bunched tightly together; colors that in the breeze looked like waves on the sea.  It was a splendid, enormous, impossible patchwork quilt.”

The Major extended his arm, with his hand open he gestured in a wave like fashion from corner to corner of the field he was in.

“laid upon the ground for a giant’s picnic.

“The splendor that was flowery field was dwarfed by the forest bordering it.  Populated by trees of stupendous proportions, with bases bigger than houses, trunks and branches rising so high above they separated the clouds like foam on the shore wraps around a stone.

With a look of delight and voice almost a whisper, he said:

“Why this could have been a model for the Garden of Paradise.”

“It was then that I noticed that I was once more falling, not as far or as fast, but FALLING.  In great haste I twisted my hat, tried pulling it over both ears and then my eyes and was just about to scream…when I stopped, I landed.”

“’It took you long enough…just had to gawk.’ Charly said.  ‘Pull that thing off your eyes and lets us take a stroll.’

“’Well, Master Quickstep, what do you see?’

The Major tilted his head up as he spoke, shifting his gaze as if talking to a much taller person.

The Major stood silent for a moment, he slowly turned his head from left to right, his mouth opened his eyes grew wide as he said,

“Beautiful…colors, flowers, trees and grasses…beauty…sir”

“’Charly,’

The Major’s head tilted up and left,

‘Come, into the Wood.’ The Major said in a voice deep and pleasant.

“As small as Charly was he moved very very quickly and it was a struggle to keep up and as I started to break into a run, he stopped, turned and faced me, fists on hips he looked at me.  I was going to run him over or if by some miracle I could stop my feet from moving I was going to fall face first into the mossy ground or on top of Charly.  My olive green sneakers (with the orange laces) held their ground as if glued to the forest floor, my woolen trousers grew ridged and it was the very purple braces that kept me from flying out of those same trousers as I waved back and forth like slinky on an incline.

“’Are you always this slow?  Why ever do they call you, ‘Quickstep?’  Charly stood in a one of the scattered shafts of light that made their way thru the dense canopy above.  Charly gestured toward the ground around him, as if on cue a breeze shifted the trees and the pin points of light danced through the forest.  ‘What do you see?’ he asked.

The dancing lights showed the brilliant greens of the ferns, the tans and greys of clusters of mushrooms, discarded branches and leaves, a rabbit, squirrel and the damp moss floor.  I mentioned all that I saw, overwhelmed by the balance, the perfection of it all.

“Charly laughed more of a chuckle as he led us, (at a more leisurely pace) from the heart of the Great Wood back into the sunlight.  ‘Take that thing off your ears and listen.’”

The Major pulled the hat off of his ears and set it high on his brow so that it draped like a head dress and tilted his head as if listened to a distant voice,

“I listened and listened and then I began to hear them; all the voices, some were grumbling, some were unkind, some frantic and none were happy.

“All of the flowers seemed to be…well vain.  This is what I heard  ‘I have the true red’ said one red rose; and ‘Only I have grand stance’ said the iris.  Among each and every flower boasting of its splendor; there was unhappiness, for it seemed that flowers have the very softest of voices.  You doubt me, hold your ear as close as you might to any flower any flower you chose and tell me what you hear.

“So brag as they might, they couldn’t be heard by even their nearest of neighbors.

“Now they did have guests that stopped by I saw; the oh so busy bees, butterflies and the occasional aphid.

“The bees arrived in a flurry of rapid movements and even more rapid talk.  ‘The buzzzz queen said buzzzz buzz and buzz, gather-buzzz-ing buzz buzz, and buzz.  Good-buzzz.’ The poor soft spoken flowers couldn’t get a word in edgewise.

“The butterflies arrived and sipped a cup of dew off the flower’s leaves and gracefully danced across the colorful flower petal and listened to all the poor vain flowers had to say about themselves.  And they listened and listened and listened…a never said a word.  One daffodil referred to it as ‘…talking to a rock.  It would be so nice if once they would agree with how beautiful I am.’

“When the aphids arrived and they often did; they never listened, rarely spoke, except to say, ‘Very tasty.’  A complement the poor flowers really didn’t relish.

I listened as a Wisteria vine, wrapped around the branch of monarch of a fir tree shouted as loud as it could; of all the woes of the flowers, into the tree’s ear.”

The Major pulled himself up as tall and straight as he could and in the most commanding voice he could muster.

“You think flowers have problems.”  The tree’s voice boomed over the top of all the meadow, through every path in the wood and out to the sea; “I stand as tall as a mountain and as strong and all I do is support a nest of birds, be a playground for a family of squirrels.  A waste, just a waste.” And the tree’s voice trailed off, his eyes closed and he seemed to drift off to sleep.  But the same lament was echoed by every other tree in the wood.  Then the trees once more stood tall, ridged and silent.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something moving in the wood.  It rustled a few leaves, had no voice of its own…and then I saw it clearly…a little dust devil.  As it twisted and darted its path through the deep wood; it was drawing ever closer to the sun lit meadow and it was carrying something, something very small.

Defining My Writing

I have wanted to write since my early teens.  I thought I was passionate about writing; I may have been wrong.

Using a word over much tends to muddy the definition; I looked up the word Passion:

  1.  Strong feeling or emotion (singularly vague)
  2. The trait of being intensely emotional (drama queen?)
  3. Something that is desired intensely (I’ve many desires, not all good and it sounds like I am taking away rather than giving)
  4. An irrational but irresistible motive for a belief or action (irrational…Webster read my stuff)
  5. A feeling of strong sexual desire (refer to #3)
  6. Any object of warm affection or devotion (I’d rather it be hot than warm)

French from Latin passio (suffering), passus (suffered), pati (suffer) (again, they’ve really read my stuff).

I have dropped passionate as a descriptor for writing (verb).  Instead, I find enthusiasm more appropriate.  It is defined thusly:

  1. A feeling of excitement (on the rare occasions I can successfully string two sentences together, I do get excited)
  2. Overflowing with eager enjoyment or approval (you know how you feel when you finish a piece and its almost good)
  3. A lively interest (if writing isn’t this, why write?)

From Middle French-enthousiasme, from Greek-enthousiasmos, “be inspired” from entheos, “inspired, possessed by a god” from en-“in” theos-“god”.

May you always be Enthusiastic about your writing and may the madness of your “possession” carry you to heights and wonders, as yet, unimaginable.

True Success

Today I became aware of a valuable life lesson.

While cleaning up after a four day long winter blast; single digit temperatures, 25 mph winds and 2-3 inch precipitation, and many fallen branches and trees.  I became acutely aware that, at my age; if you do not have the strength, stamina to complete the required tasks without the aid of an oxygen tank or lack  the discretionary funds to hire a younger person to do them…you have not arrived.