Friday, September 25, 2009
It was very quiet and dark on the second floor tonight. Only the gentle sounds of, seemingly contented souls, snoring gently, oblivious to the roaring chatter stampeding through his head. This was the second night that he had slept in a bed that was not his own.
He likes his own bed. The familiar smell of the brown, checked woolen blanket, the new red curtains, occasionally, brushing his arm as he tries to turn, the shufflings of the dog in the kitchen, as he attempts to make a comfortable bed for himself on the narrow bench. The monotonous tick- tick of the clock in the hall, chiming the hour and the half hour, relentlessly signaling the passage of each day and night. Sometimes, when sleep is slow to arrive, he finds himself counting the ticks, wondering if he will be able to count himself into a new day. His mind usually wanders and the shadows from the soft light in the hall, left on to light his way through the darkness of the night, throw up forms and shapes that spirit him to a world where he is the man he was, and still wants to be. The man who faced his world with an unquenchable enthusiasm, who charged through life with a gentleness of spirit, loved and loving, impatient with fools and foolish to the charms of children. Independent.
The night nurse, a petite, pretty girl, appears, silently at his bedside.
“Are you still awake Larry? Are you having difficulty getting off to sleep? Is there anything I can get for you?” she whispers.
“What time is it?” he says, none too softly. He has never really learned the art of whispering. The army life.
“Oh sure tis the middle of the night Larry, you really should try to sleep … have you any pain?”
“No, no pain …I’m o.k”.
“Alright then, just press the bell if you need anything, we’re just up the corridor .. Goodnight” she says softly, with a light pat on his arm and leaves the room as quietly as she had come in.
Angels of mercy, they call them.
How did he get here? When did he come to need other people to just live? He could feel the remnants of some age-old anger lurking in his soul. Raging against his God. Why him? Why not him? He wished he could still run. He dreamed of running . Of feeling his legs powering him forward, strong and unbeatable. King of his world. He hadn’t run for 20 years. He hadn’t walked independently for 5 years. The betrayal of his sleeping mind was unbearable. Since the first stroke, 15 years ago, his life had changed, slowly. Always, the hope that things would go back to the way they were. They never did. He watched himself become the man he didn’t want to be. Old. Dependent. He knew he was a lucky man. They kept telling him so. He had a loving, caring family, all his needs catered for, patience and compassion abounding. Why was he still alive? Did God have a reason for slowly stripping him of his dignity, his sense of humor, his capacity for enjoying life to the full? Was he too lucky?
Fifteen years is a long time to be learning new tricks. A long time to be wrestling with anger and impatience.
As he lay there, watching the morning light creeping through the curtains, he thought of the day ahead … What would it bring? Would they find anything in the scan they had planned for him? Or would it show up negative, leaving them scratching their heads unable to find a definitive reason for his inability to stand?
Apart from old age, that is.
He was tired now.
Tired of the struggle. The struggle with his body, his soul, his torment.
Maybe he should pray?
To a God he did not understand.
He yearned for the familiar sound of his hall clock.
Ushering in a safe new day.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
A friend of mine sent me this recently ... Enjoy!
Let's face it. English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?
How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.
English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible. Why doesn't 'Buick' rhyme with 'quick'?
You lovers of the English language might enjoy this. There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is 'UP.'
It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP? At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?
We call UP our friends. And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver. We warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.
At other times the little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses. To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special.
And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP. We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night. We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!
To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions. If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more. When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP. When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP. When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP. When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry UP.
One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP, for now my time is UP, so. Time to shut UP!
Oh...one more thing: What is the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do at night?
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Its been a while.
A hectic, mind-bending while.
A while of happiness and joy, of heartbreak and worry, of irritation and self-doubt.
But now its September, and as is my wont, I take myself aside at the start of this month every year, and give myself the luxury of starting anew. The self-indulgent luxury of thinking that I can change the way I am on this planet. That I can take the slightly less than meandering path through the maze of family, work, hopes and dreams and undergo the metamorphosis that is essential to my journey.
The cynic in me whispers "not again, why bother? Aren't you doing just fine the way you are? You can't change the world on your own."
But the relentless optimist roars in my ears, demanding to be heard. You can change. You can make a difference. You can be a better human being.
I can't hear myself think but I am listening. Intently.
I am also gathering my marbles, those that I can find, and I am preparing to play the game again.
I hope the gods are smiling.