Monday, January 6, 2014

A Sea That Never Freezes -

Last night saw the city and most of the surrounding small towns come to a grinding halt.  Wind chills in the minus 30's and heavy, drifting and blowing snow resulted in a suspension of legal travel within the city except for emergency vehicles and those seeking shelter. Out in the small towns, there is little movement, but there are those hardy souls that won't let frostbite and politicians tell them what to do.

I had the blinds and all curtains closed against the cold, this new construction rental about as tight  from the elements as gauze. Even with the little heater next to the desk, the chill eddy of cold licks in at my skin, as I go to get a warmer sweater and some thicker wool socks.

One needs to be prepared for such things. A few days ago it was in the upper 40's,  another sleight of hand from the greatest of magicians, Mother Nature. Machiavellians stroke on the part of that foe, a new battle towards which it channels ancient wounds, inflicting its grievance upon the land. It will likely arrive to do battle when you least expect it, when the prolonged blow of the dark and ice sinks through the skull and lays its claim deep on the bones of the winter landscape. It will not be a day and night safe for man nor beast.
Other than the scrape of blade in the driveway, a neighbor keeping my drive clear, in case the bat phone goes off. No birds, no clattering of cars starting up. Just the sound of  the incessant wind, a  long, broad hum, as if through wires. There was to be a wedding at the local church, I wondered if that had been called off. There is little noise or movement, but the whine of a snow blower, maybe a half block away, the sound sticking to the cold air as if snow on a branch.

It's funny, I'm perfectly fine holing up at home for days with nothing but books, a kitchen, and some tools.  But tell me I can't drive to the store or run to the library, and I suddenly get cabin fever, peering out the window every so often, like a bird from a cage that fidgets with feathered annoyance.
I also noticed something else, something a little nicer.  My knee does not hurt.  After the fall that tore out my meniscus and the resultant surgery and physical therapy, my knee still hurt.  After six months, it was bearable but always there, a twinge,  much worse in cold weather.  Now, two years post injury, with extra physical conditioning of the muscles that support it and dropping the extra pounds I had put on when I hit 40, I sit here and realize, it doesn't hurt. 

It's not the pain that bothered me, I've dealt with pain.  It wasn't not being able to run, to jump to MOVE, quickly and without effort. It was crutches, then a cane.  It was sliding back in time, back to when I wasn't confident in my physical abilities, when I was just a skinny, quiet  little kid who was picked last for dodge ball, because frankly, I'd rather be inside reading a book that the teacher would think was inappropriate for someone my age.

It wasn't the pain, it wasn't an injury hat in the grand scheme of things, wasn't  very serious.  I realized at this point that what is dire profundity to the very young, is usually just "been there done that" to those of us in middle age, which is still preferable to the six foot deep and eighteen foot square reality that faces us all eventually.
No,  it wasn't torn and missing cartilaginous tissue and the wobbly feeling I had every time I tried to use that leg.  It was losing a foothold I'd stretched so far and so hard for. It was realizing that we treat our bodies with a sense of entitlement we may eschew in other things as if breath was some plaything given to us just for our own pleasure. I look down on the small scars as if speaking to them. You will let me run, you will let me climb, you will let me explore and make mistakes and play. Now I can't walk up a flight of stairs. When our body fails us, it's like a personal betrayal

It's much as if seeing a beloved old building each and every day, an old church perhaps, the stones so study that time had not displaced it, could not ever displace it, not all of time could have.  Then one day you drive past and it's simply gone, razed and replaced by a shabbily built storefront that won't withstand a good wind.
I sat here in this spot, January two years ago, during another storm, crutches up against the wall, the curtains drawn, as the pain in my body drove for an instant upon me, the thorns of slain flowers.  On that day, I wished to be anywhere but here. The sky was spilling snow, the only light there was laying low to the ground as if held down by the wind itself, unable to rise and move away. It was a day in which I could only sit immobile as the wind howled, dreaming in an Arctic landscape of a sea that never freezes and a landscape that is forever green.

It's easy to throw a pity party, and I was on the verge on that day I realized I was in a motorized scooter in WalMart, one place I swore I would never be.  But in that same moment, as Partner smiled down at me, his having been with me without fail since I got hurt, I realized all that I had. I also realized that putting the small end of the crutch out in front of me like a knight's lance, I could knock the Billy Bass out of the cart of the guy with no teeth.  Oh, sorry, accident, really. SCORE!
I am who I am through hurt and pain and failures and because of them.

Because of that I know what is important. And that is all the endurance of which mind is capable, of which the flesh has appetite for. That has kept me going on nights when all I could do was sit and hold a small faded photo, eyes, tightly shut, as if the light was diminished by its own grief, leaving only a lone huddled shadow upon the wall, pale and fading. That has kept me going when fate swiped a paw at me and I swiped back, harder, EPR's steady, left hand tight on the yoke, planting that craft on a piece of hard ground as small as my fear.
I get up from my chair and open the curtains up.  I'll have a higher heat bill, but for now I want to look out, and up.  I look at the sun I've not seen in two days as the fierce wind hollowed the remaining light out of the sky, the light now holding a quality beyond heat and illumination.   In the distance the sound of a church bell, a deliberate note blowing free, like snow from a winter branch. Somewhere within, a priest lifts the Host in a series of shimmering gleams like warm rain that falls from the sky as vows are spoken, and what is broken is healed.


  1. I am glad you knee pains you no longer. I wish I could say the same of mine. Despite all my cycling over the last 2+ years, it still is not happy. Oh well. I will just have to deal with it.

    Your comment of being with Partner at Walmart, and knocking Billy Bass over reminded me that MY partner and I drove all the way to the Wichita gunshow once, a mere 2 days after my first knee surgery...Crutches and all, (all the pain meds!) was fun!

  2. You are a treat always! As a migrated Hoosier, I can appreciate most "local" references. I do appreciate your turn of phrase.

  3. I think healing is a thing of God, as is life and death. I've seen your ruination and raised you my whole pot. Even heading back to health hurts, sometimes more as awareness kicks in. It pleases me, in no small way, to see one find their way back to a health they once had, and gladly albeit, taken for granted. Especially one who had worked so hard for it.

    I'll say a fine little prayer that your health, and joys, are blessed. Be well, in choice and effort, and sometimes suffering.

  4. I know that you are equipped with at least one cozy blanket...

  5. It's been 2 years already? Jeesh time sure does fly by.

    Stay warm and dry all (of you back east.) I think a ton of snow is easier to handle than some of the temps this storm has brought.

  6. That frigid blast is reaching down to us in Virginia tonite, so I'll soon know whereof you speak so eloquently. As to your knee, dunno if you're aware of the healing powers of turmeric, but I've been taking 500 mg twice a day for about a month now, and the arthritic pain in my left should, which was so bad I could barely lift my arm, is nearly gone now. Here's a link to the Web.MD discussion on turmeric, in case you're interested:

    Good luck and stay warm!

  7. Monkeywrangler - Other than the PT the only other things I do is take an Advocare supplement for joints, and their omega oil supplement and fiber drink with priobotics and as Mathew down below suggested, 500 mg a day of tumeric and either tart cherry juice for breakfast with my yogurt or a 100 calorie cherry snack bar from (cherry is supposed to be very good for inflammation and the bars are tasty) I have to say, I noticed I felt better after starting the supplements.

    denny turner - welcome, I'm glad you picked up the references scattered around. I have a home in two states, but I'm still a Hoosier at heart.

    Doom - you are wise indeed, and thank you always for the concern and prayers.

    LL - probably, but Barkley is probably sleeping on it at home while I'm stuck here as I can't get to work.

    naturegirl - hard to believe two years. It's been two wonderful years, despite the knee.

    Mathew - thank you for that! I already take it but just half that amount. If it flares up again I'll up the dose.

    I'm glad you are feeling better.

  8. Good God, the words! The imagery here is great, and it made me want to appreciate my limited abilities in life before they're gone...

  9. Katy - Welcome! You will find good, kind people here, and many more words. I hope you will enjoy and visit again.

  10. My knee does not hurt.

    I remember two years ago, you on your crutches but not alone. That not-alone-ness was a good thing to have.

    May that be your (and all of our) future.

  11. I am glad you are safe and warm. Take care.

  12. As we get 'older' we pay for those years of 'fun'... And I'm glad you're back to no pain, and not the know pain side of the equation...

  13. You never cease to both amaze and comfort with your words, Brigid. In Central IL we've had at least one fellow who abandoned his car in this weather, a fatal mistake. I have almost always had a job that requires getting to work, from EMS to ED RN. As to the knee, I blew mine wrangling a patient in '79; I'll try some of the suggestions I see today. Thank you, as always; be safe and warm.

  14. Snow storms, the dread of cold, bitter biting ice yet it also gives one a moment to pause and reflect. What is so important to go out, it is better to hole up an d take care of self rather then become a statistic. Yet growing up in the country, one had to get out and tend to the animals, get them water and feed. Otherwise sit there, steaming coffee cup on the table.

    Glad the knee is mending, perpetual pain is not endearing.

  15. If the books get boring, Netflix added "Big Trouble In Little China" to the streaming selection this week. :)

    I have an "obsolete" Kindle with the 3G Whispernet connection. Unless cell service is down, sample chapters of books are always available 24/7, and I even buy one occasionally if the sample really catches my interest.


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