I wonder if I had monkey feet....

Last weekend....

I lie in bed.
On my back.
Arms by my side.
Eyes closed.

My arms begin to drift into the much-desired, temporary relief - an internal low vibrational whisper, like a light massage to my nerve vessels.
My arms begin to feel less heavy and less inflamed.
The medicinal herb is again working its magic.

I open my eyes and observe my hands as I hold them in the air above my chest.
I slowly move my fingers one at a time, touching each finger-tip to the corresponding thumb-tip.
I close my fingers attempting fists but not quite succeeding.
Still, my fingers are more flexible than fifteen minutes ago.
The pain upon straightening out my hands is a bit less too.

My thoughts drift, as I think about my limbs - present and future.

Why have my arms and hands been so exasperated this past week? 
I must have done too much with my hands. 
But it's not "too much" for someone with normal limb function. 
I don't know if I can make it until January 5. 
I guess I can call and move up my appointment. 
I just have to decide if the benefits of moving up the steroid injections outweigh the side effects. 
The side effects were evident in my recent tests at my physical.

I close my eyes.
I slowly inhale.
I slowly exhale.
The relief is welcome.
My thoughts drift.

My feet have been worse too, but not as bad as my arms and hands. 
I wonder if my feet would be ailing more if I had to bend them and use my toes the way I use my hands and fingers, like how a monkey has to use his feet?
I wonder if I was a monkey, if my feet would be in as bad a shape as my hands right now?
I wonder if I was a monkey, if the nerve damage would affect my tail? 
That'd be awful, if it disabled my prehensile tail.
Good thing I'm not a monkey.

I chuckle.

I have a new description for the tingling pins-and-needles type feeling that sometimes comes around.
My fingers sometimes feel like tiny little electric worms are wiggling and sparking.

My mind sees the tiny life forms, all colors of the rainbow like tiny little gummy worms, squirming and producing little electric sparks.
They look so bright and cheerful, all in my fingertips.

Another chuckle.

Now how can I better describe the bamboo or hollow metal feeling in my forearms where my radius bones are? 
It feels more like bamboo than hollow metal - strong yet flexible. 
Tiny little Mario men strap themselves with heavy duty ropes on opposite sides of the bamboo reed in each forearm. 
Each little mustached man in his colorful overalls and cap with knees slightly bent, presses his feet against his side of the bamboo reed as he holds onto his sturdy rope and leans backward straightening his back and then relaxing.
Each side of the bamboo has a row of tiny Marios pushing and pulling. 
That's what my forearms feel like. 
Must be all the inflamed nerve tissue trying to find space in there.

....I don't recall now if I went to sleep after my thought-drifting or if I sat up in bed and played Sudoku.


Samhain: Happy New Year

The past couple days I have been reading about Druidry.

According to certain histories, today (November 1st) is the first day of the Celtic New Year. The day is called Samhain; it begins at sunset on October 31st and ends at sunset on November 1st. (Click here for a link to the Celtic calendar.)

In what way do I resonate with Druidry?
My love of nature and Earth and life.

As far back as I can recall, I have always felt a kinship with nature.
In recent years, I have recognized the place I feel most at home is on the trail or in the woods.

The earth is filled with stories passed along to each generation.
In its soil and waters, the earth holds the blood of our ancestors, blood that continues to course through our veins giving life to cells that recall those ancestors.

In those aspects, I am a Druid at heart; not to mention the love for poetry and art and music.
There are other earth-based religions and philosophies that value the same.
I think of the American Indian.
I know I have Celt in my blood; perhaps that is part of the draw toward earth-based religions.
I'm not sure if I have American Indian in my blood.

Nature, the wild, life...these are my so-called gods.
By the word "god," I mean something that obeys no one, something of which there is no greater power.
Ultimately, nothing is more powerful, less merciful, more graceful than Mother Nature - the nature of our planet and the nature that is the cosmos.

She is chaos and order all at the same time.
She alone is a creative and destructive force.
She has my utmost respect and awe.

Is there a creative entity whom She obeys? I don't think so.
Is there an entity that created Her? I don't know.
Whether or not I believe or know, does not change whether there is or is not such an entity.

If not for the dis-ease currently inhabiting my body, I would be on the trail often, or at least as often as I could.
I may never physically heal from this dis-ease which has been visiting for the past three-plus years.
If I do, I will rejoice and celebrate.
If I don't, I will rejoice and celebrate.

In preparation of the event that my body does not physically heal, I continue to explore ways that will connect me with the trail, with my love for the earth and for the woods and its inhabitants.

To name a few...
The number nine.
AT-thru hike game.
Bamboo knitting needles.
Flush less.

Hmmm...I don't do much physically to connect.
More often, I connect within.

An awareness of life in times past, in the present, and in the future.
An awareness of our place and function in that time upon this earth.
An awareness that time is and isn't, and that time may be an illusion.
An awareness that our actions and words, our intentions and dreams, our blood and breath, matter.

Always, I am in awe
of Nature's majestic seasons and cycles;
of Her indifference toward favoritism;
of Her continual striving to regain and maintain balance;
of the tiniest cell to the vast swirling spirals of the universe.

Compared to the universe, I am a tiny cell.

Happy New Year!

'three autumn trees' by lise winne 


Absent Reserves

The fatigue gets overwhelming.

My attention span for detail is crippled. My threshold for assimilating detail is lowered; the effort required can leave me exhausted.

My creativity wanes as fatigue waxes. It's difficult for me to communicate fully and richly.

My capacity for relationships shrinks as fatigue swells, taking up the space within that capacity.

I told Hubby sometime in the past couple days, "It's like I have no reserve."

But then I realize that isn't totally true. The truth is, I have little, not no, reserve.

Sometimes I think that others may think that I'm just not trying hard enough to push through for the next task. Or that I'm selfish, only thinking of Carol and her needs. That if only I had more will power, somehow that would give me motivation and then my fatigue would abate.

But the reality is that others mostly think about their own lives, not my fatigue or selfishness.

More likely, it is myself thinking to my self that maybe if I had more will power and push and motivation, that my fatigue would lift.

I'm still learning my new limits. If I overdo on any given day, I pay a price for the next three to five days.

Like the wedding I attended Saturday night. The ceremony, the festivity, the dancing, the music, seeing old friends. What a joyful and rich few hours were had by all. But then, I couldn't ride my bike for three days; my mind and body were dragging.

I find myself talking to my self out loud, helping me through my next task.

I find myself saying, "I am so fucking tired."

And then I remind myself, "Carol, all you need to care for are the four things, and the maybe-plus-one."
  • 1) Move, just keep my body moving. Ride my bicycle on the Greenway. When the weather gets cold, visit the warm water pool at the Y. Move. Gentle movement, easy movement, simple movement. Just keep moving. 
  • 2) Rest. Color a mandala. Work Sudoku. Watch TV. Sleep. Sit; listen; look. Be aware. Laugh. Rest. 
  • 3) Keep the bills paid. Once a month, pay the bills. 
  • 4) Take care of my pet sitting business. I love my animal friends. They are my healers on many a day. They listen to me and I them. They have cried with me and laughed with me. They have walked with me. The have loved me. Ironically, I get paid for their service to me. 
  • Maybe-plus-1) If I have energy left, do some laundry. 

I seldom ever cook or prepare food anymore. If I do, I have to trade out exercise or pet sitting for the energy involved in cooking. Most of the time I cannot cook because of the weakness in my hands and arms.

With any endeavor, I have to measure my energy account and figure the costs.

I miss hiking. I still grieve that loss. But I keep a golden thread of hope.

Oh my, all that sounds so dreadfully dreary...and I didn't even get written what I had thought to write, which was about how fatigue feels, about how my head wants to drop into the dinner plate.

And even though days are filled with fatigue, my life isn't dreary.  It still unfolds with serendipity every week, almost daily.

Maybe I'll have energy later to write the story of the male, nude sunbather I saw last week along that small footpath off of the Greenway. That incident kept me grinning for three days.


A New Place

prompt or not: a new place
aww ~ october 8, 2014

Every day,
I'm in a new place.

I awake to the sunshine,
for that day.

The bright beams
dispersed from over 92,000,000 miles away,
make landfall to each blade of grass
upon this rock of earth and water
crawling, streaming, galloping
 with life.

there is life.
Some still undiscovered by us human creatures
who roam this rock.

The giant star 
warms our skins.
It lights our paths.
Our bodies and the earth
respond to its life-giving pulses.

As I move through the day,
I am in a new place
each second.
That space is new
for that momentary ruffle
in time and space.
All the ruffles
then cascade and ripple
making a river of time,
gorging renewed
places in history.

If I had a door
through which I could pass back and forth through time,
would I change the past
and thus the present and the future?

Or would I be like the sun -
simply rise and set,
yet sustaining the life that is present
in that moment.

I know the sun can be deadly too.
Its indifference is austere,
like the rest of nature.
Stark; naked; raw.

Science estimates that Sun will burn out
in another five billion years.

Unless our indifference
kills Sun sooner.

I think though,
Sun would kill us first.

~roan highlands, january, 2014, photo by elijah & friends~



September 22, 2014

I love riding my bike along the Greenway.
I am addicted...and it is good.

I drink in the...

and freedom.

My legs and feet turn the wheels round and round propelling me forward.
My senses take in the grandeur of the moment.
Any pain I have at those moments, goes by with nary a notice.

I am reminded of the hills and mountains that I love so deeply.
And my heart sings.

I picture the highland balds of Roan and of Grayson.
And my heart soars.

I recall backpackers and hikers I've met in the past along the trail.
And my heart warms.

I imagine climbing rough terrain, conversing with other backpackers, setting up camp for the night.
And my heart wonders.

Another world, a world in which I feel at home.
A world where I feel I fit.

And I think....
Maybe. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe someday I'll be able to hike long distances again. But, if I never make it by foot alone to Mt. Katahdin, I'll at least take a visit by vehicle ... someday. 

~grandpup yerba along the roan highlands, 2010~

~salem lake trail, near peterson benches, 2014

~my bike, olivia, 2014~


prompts or not

prompt or not: lovers
AWW ~ 09/10/14


Blank paper.
Blank screen.

What has bitten your tongue Carol?
What has stifled your voice?
Why do you allow it?

Is it a phase...this avoidance of writing, especially putting out anything of depth on my blog or anywhere online?

When I publish a piece on my blog or elsewhere, I don't want to explain the piece or feel that I should explain. I don't want to necessarily engage in discourse about what I might write.

Today as I felt my inner self-doubt gremlin, I closed my eyes and lay back on my and Hubby's bed. It's a king size, tube, water bed that is in much need of a new mattress shell. The current shell slumps toward the middle, so Hubby and I usually sleep on the far ends of the mattress where it is more level, less slumpy.

Hubby is usually the first to retire in the evenings, between nine and ten o'clock. I follow between ten o'clock and midnight. I seldom close my eyes right away. I usually turn on my night stand light and read from my smart phone or from a hard copy book, or I work Sudoku puzzles from a paperback book. Lately I've opted for Sudoku over reading. When I successfully complete a Sudoku puzzle, I draw a smiley face on the top of the puzzle page.

I wonder who created Sudoku; who figures out all those different puzzles?

On July 20, for medical reasons, I started vaping marijuana. Sometime in August, I pulled out my Sudoku book thinking that playing Sudoku will help keep my mind sharp, in case the herb would try to dull my thinking and calculating capacities, not that the herb will dull my brain cells. And Sudoku may not really exercise my neurons, but it can't hurt. I enjoy playing, especially the "easy" puzzles. The number nine is a fascinating number; I think it is my favorite number. But it's not a prime number, and I like prime numbers.

Prime numbers stand alone.

Today as I felt my inner self-doubt gremlin, I lay on my bed, face toward the ceiling, my eyes closed. I focused on my heart area. Carol, can you somehow thank this self-doubt, this anxiety you feel? Thank it and ask what its purpose is?

Almost immediately, my mind's eye saw a young adolescent girl. Shivering. Alone. In the rain.

These internal images I get seem so stupid.
Quiet, Carol...just go with the image.
What would you do for a young girl, alone, in the rain...especially if it was someone you knew and loved?

I gave a coat to the young, shivering girl in my mind's eye, placing the coat around her shoulders. It was a long, dark coat, like a trench coat but not jet black. I wasn't sure as to what else to do for this young woman shivering in my heart.

The shivering was the most notable characteristic of the girl.

She wasn't shivering due to the cold; she was shivering because she was afraid.

My front doorbell rang. I continued to lay on my king size bed. Maybe it's UPS delivering a package, and they'll just go away.

I did not want to talk to anyone if I could help it.

Then I heard banging on the front door.
Knock, knock, knock!

I got up and walked across the hall into my son's bedroom, though my son doesn't permanently reside there anymore. I walked over to the window and peeked through the closed blinds looking across the front yard and out to the street where a big, white, flat bed, delivery truck was parked. There was a large box at the back of the truck. A man walked through our front yard away from our home and to the back of the truck, stopping to look at the large box, and then walked around the opposite side of the truck and climbed into the driver's seat.

Inside the house, I walked back across the hall to my bedroom. With a sigh, I strapped my black, Teva sandals onto my feet.

I walked through the upstairs hall noticing the tenderness in the soles of my feet reminding myself of my new normal. I held the banisters as I carefully descended the two sets of stairs. Once on the ground level, I walked though the den and through the office and through the laundry room and through the garage to the driveway. I walked down the driveway toward the truck. The driver was on his cell phone, talking, as he got out of the truck to meet me in the driveway.

He was delivering a mattress, and our address was written on his delivery slip. But neither Hubby nor I had ordered a mattress.

I really should buy us a new mattress soon.