2020 05 07 postcard

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Monochromatic self portrait of the author standing behind glass, looking into the camera’s gaze with a stalwart expression.

 

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May 7 2020
Broomfield, CO

It’s been 50ish days since shelter in place started and, for me, it’s been a slow crawl towards feeling any sense of normalcy or mental ability to adapt to a new daily routine. For the last month I have been staring into the existential void of uncertainty and watching the void stare back—if you have been one to stare into the void only to have that bleak nothingness stare right back, you know how deeply unsettling such a thing can be.

But spring is starting to take root, and hints of buds and blossoms are beginning to show themselves, and I have started to prepare our garden, letting my hands dive into soil – and in so doing – regained some of my footing.

It’s been 50ish days …

reset

I have been sick for five years. It feels like much longer, but when I sit down and measure the time from the point where my life could no longer go on as it once had the result is five years.

Five years of tests, and diagnoses, and new diagnoses, and round-about treatments but never cures.
Five years of educating myself and others.
Five years of being my own advocate.
Five years of “yes, I know, I don’t *look* sick”.
Five years of watching the typography of my life and the people in it deconstruct and reconfigure itself.

At first the changes felt limiting, even stifling. I grieved for the person I had grown accustomed to being because who I believed myself to be at a fundamental level had been stripped away and I was left without a road map, or even a common language. I had to make my own map, my own language.

I’ve learned who I am now. Or relearned really. Some of who I was still existed under the illness, some did not, and some of the old me I find I am better off without. New aspects emerged. I found a deep well of patience within myself; patience for the days I could not get out of bed, patience for the lack of support and knowledge offered by western medicine, patience for the slow path of my own rediscovery.

I also found a bottomless source of gratitude, because even in this vast struggle I had amazing support in the form of family and friends that walked those five years with me, who faced the frightening unknown by my side, and held the flicker of hope for me when I could not hold it for myself.

I learned (am still learning) how to be in this new body, with its physical limitations, its frequent muddy and labyrinthine passages to reach into my own mind and recover the worlds of creativity that still exist there. Illness altered my perspective on life, it transformed me, and it honed me.

I am here now, in a long plateau of health, nowhere hear the level I once enjoyed, but greater than the worst of my crashes, and I find myself grateful for the health I have, and ready to venture back into the world with this new understanding of self.

I am at a reset, if you will, eager to see what unfolds next.

Los Angeles
July 2018

summer country

this sky that goes on forever
this lazy, hazy blue
wedgewood, or eggshell
a polite blue soft as summer silk
resting over rolling hills
that turn from green to gold
that explode in a splash of color
when the wildflowers burst forth
only to transform into dusty, dry
hay bales peppered through arid fields
the soil of my ancestors
tilled and sowed
harvesting lives and linage
in the rich black soil
of lands we no longer own
the history of an old hickory tree
the stories i am too young to know
the people i will never remember
moss covered graves
down long country roads
no one seems to travel anymore
roads that claim lives in the night
the shadows of ghosts
too long without companions
roads that lead from no where to
now here, where ever here is
roads that lead home

 

Driving from Cottage Hill Cemetery
Fannin County, Texas
June 2018