Darkness in the Gray of a White Cloud

I am gray,
I am the darkness in the gray of a white cloud,
one without a spark of color to  lighten a day’s gloomy mist;
where the spring of hope no longer beats within the cloud.

I am gray,
I am in the twilight of life and question a new day’s dawn.
Will rays at horizon’s edge salve the discontent of disquieting thoughts
or will the kindness and love of others assuage my unrest?

I am gray,
Within my mind’s gloaming, I conjure up a hand reaching out that beckons
me further into a blackness, a quagmire of thought and questions that surely
will absorb me, as well as, place stones before me so I trip along the way.

I am gray,
A story, a short tale; yes each stone glimmers with a moment to remember.
The stones pull me this way and that,  I bend for them to see into the illuminated forms.
Playing inside are fragments of my life, some seek atonement, others laughter or tears.

I am gray,
With hesitation, I pause to understand if what is shown is authentic,
yet I know that if what I see is valid then I should not contradict the sequence I see.
If I deny a scene I lie and to deny means I have not lived and sadness fills the heart.

I am gray,
Now each circumscribed step is within a blackness, one where hope is nil.
No ray of light can penetrate and help me to miss the darkened stones.
Ominous blackness breeds caution and I fear each step may bring a fate unknown.

I am gray
Further along, a light is coruscating from the intense blackness; the sparkle widens as I go forward and each infinitesimal piece glimmers in forming a Chrysanthemum.
Does this bright, mass bring goodwill or will it cause my gray to be a tightened cloak?

The Swirling, sparkling mass of shimmering light engulfs me.
The gray, like the cloud in a rainstorm,  breaks apart in swirls of light.
The deep darkness is pummeled by the light till nothing remains.

The fury of the lights quiet and all space is void except for the remaining lights.
Now my hands and body are hollow and dissolve in the sparkle of light.
What was, no longer is….I am gone.

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The Destined Path


Threshold
Heat transformed Nylon     1999

In my old blog, Within Crepusculum, my main objective was to understand the path that all life takes to reach its final destination.  Crepusculum (the ancient word for twilight) is the word I use during the time in life when changes occur leaving you less capable maintaining your life and it becomes necessary for someone else to help you with decisions and care.  This need, even though warranted, takes much of your independence and leaves you unsettled.

Even though I am not at that place, I often think about it and know a timeless journey begins one day and it will lead me through the twilight of life and on to the last darkness.  Many years ago I made a sculpture (the one above) that I named “Threshold” which metaphorically if the place where, without awareness, you cross and a journey begins.  The path may have unstable inclines and uncontrollable downward slides, its surface littered with stones along representing each physical or mental problem you have or will have before you take the last breath.  It is a season, one that can never be ignored, refused not changed and leaves no choice of day or time.

Sometimes the stone’s represent what becomes to difficult to handle in life.  Once M. said to me that the difference in aging between people is how ambulatory each is.  Hindered movements offer far less freedom and it impedes how your muscles continue to work.  A second major difference is the “mind”.  There are many forms of dementia other than Alzheimer’s and many find that their ability to process is less as they age and find that it is simply a part of growing older.  Regardless of the cause, it becomes worrisome to yourself and your family when you tell them it is difficult to deal with your finances or health issues.  When this happens the differences of how we age shows remarkably.

Every day I stand at the top of the stairs and hesitate.  I know if I am careless I will invite an accident.  Any misguided step can bring more pain to my knees and back.  These problems, including my lungs, are the many stones strewn on my path.  A “newer stone”, one that comes to me when in thought is a comparison of my life and my parent’s life at the same age.  My father retired farming a one hundred sixty acre farm when he was my current age.  Similarly, my mother moved to Arizona with me, lived on her own and enjoyed every day while living in an active retirement village.  No matter what, each year I become less tolerant of dealing with what was, what is and what will be.   

I rue the day that my next surgery will be.  The surgery is usually tolerable.  It is the therapy that follows.  I realize, now, that I must decide how long and how intense the therapy will be.  I have paid a dear price doing more than I should during the extensive required sessions.

When I compare the future to how I am today and then compare it to the recent past I am poignantly aware I am not the same as I was.  Regardless, I will not let go of the sparkle of iridescent colors of life until I must.  There will be a day I realize that medically there is nothing left that a Doctor can do   Then, I will be ready to move on down the destined path.

Patience and Acceptance–A Necessary Formula

The past few days, most likely because of forty-five minutes working in the garden, my side and a line following my breast bone returned to its former paining annoyance, as well as, having my sinus’ flare up at the same time.  My ice pack has again become my close friend .  If I do a little too much the annoying pain drops my energy down and then my sinus’ make sure I trundle off to bed for a nap.  Today, I napped more than the time I have been productive.

Unfortunately, I am not able to finish the lined drapes I am making for someone.  I thought for sure that the project’s end would be one day before the weekend.  Now I hope that I can finish them by the beginning of next week.

Life doesn’t always go the way you want.  My brother-in-law is staying with us for the next ten days.  He no longer wants to live in the assisted living residence he is in.  Unfortunately,  he has Alzheimer’s.   During most of his days he is cherry.  Some days are better and some days confusion is paramount, but he keeps going, looking forward to another hour, or day that will be good to him and filled with the things he can enjoy.  Fortunately, he is well off and home, care now and in the future isn’t a problem.

My condition concerned him today.  While I was in the den he came to chat.  There are days chatting is hard, but today it was good for him and me.  While chatting he simply said to me that he feels one day I will be fine.  He also is quite aware of my monumental weight gain and once again spoke about understanding that to return to what I was will happen, that he, his family and M support me and their only worry is that I want it too fast to happen.  He has known me for forty years and has always been consistent with me, so when he  talked to me I realized that even through the mind of Alzcheimer’s it was important to him to show care and support for me.

Even though I am kind and helpful to him and available if he needs to talk or ask me to do something when he calls, it never occurred to me that regardless of his condition, the confusion in his memory and through the  daily degeneration he experiences, he still has compassion and concern for me and others.  More importantly, he has one of the most debilitating diseases we humans can get, yet he enjoys life and is patient  and accepting of his uncontrollable transformation.

A good example for me and other to see that we have much less to deal with in their lives than he does.

Patience and acceptance are most important in dealing with those pebbles we stumble over or the mountains that may erupt in front of us!  Adjusting ourselves to be patient and accepting is what I need to work on!!

The days pass, one by one, by one by one—

Each day passes more quickly than I would like.  I wish for the passage of night to be short, but by early morning, before dawn is even awakening, I toss and turn and feel that one more moment or hour in bed will be too much for me.  With each day I worry that I may be returning to old habits and old habits brought me into the depths of sleep deprivation.   So far I still am affected by the accumulation of little sleep, particularly when I get up early……..then I am most aware of how tired I can be.

Yesterday at dusk or during the crepuscular day, while working in my garden,  I wished that the dusk could last longer, but once the greyness sets in, the black surrounds us very quickly in Florida.  I also wished that the dawn of morning could also come earlier so the length of that new day light could last longer.  Within a moment I realized, probably because of  the heat of the day, that I wanted to work within the grey parts of  the day when everything begins to calm and feel more comfortable.    Juxtaposed to my life the real twilights and dawns, the times that signal the most significant changes in my day may be a lesson for me in life.

Rather than wondering and worrying about the days of Crepusculum, maybe I need to just start enjoying this time of my life like I enjoy the twilight and the dawn.  Maybe, being within my Crepusculum  can become as calming to me as the real world’s crepuscular times.

So, instead of worrying about my lack of sleep, my aches and pains, or always hoping for those particular times of the day, and stop always wishing the reality of my life to change, maybe I should take my Mother’s advice and stop evaluating today or yesterday and look toward tomorrow and smile as I anticipate just how wonderful it can be.

A Lesson Gained within My Time

To know what life is all about and
accept that all things may not be good,
paves the day when turmoil begins to disappear.

To know that what I do is for me,
is better than imprudent attempts to do for others,
who rarely understand my fire of intent.

To look toward tomorrow and its sunrise
brings a return of goodness to the soul
and when it comes then I can smile.

To hold on to what  is dearest to me,
to keep the memories locked in my heart each day,
keeps them safe from the will of others.

To speak the truth of what and who I am,
of recognizing and accepting my ups and downs
will make me as I would like to be.

To cry a tear, to laugh out loud, to be quiet as I wish
are choices I decide on and not within the realm
of others to change me as they wish.

To grasp the sunshine as I  can and
splash my  feet within the puddle from the  rain
is on the day can say “I am fine and I will not change!”

 

 

During each of these days–

Continually I am asked by the ones that are closest to me, “Are you fine?”  “What is the matter?” “No I don’t think that is the reason, so what is it?”  If I try to answer the first two questions, most likely I receive the third question in response to my answer.

This brings me to a point in my life where I ask a question, “Why is it when I say what is the problem, I am told that my reason is justified and that I don’t understand the situation.  The situation is mine I think and after all this time of living I should hope that I know what my situation is.  But, there is a difference.  When I was young I would never think of telling someone what was bothering me.  Now I do and I think that is the basic problem.  I was an expert at covering up what I was feeling.  Well, how could I tell them when my self esteem was even lower than it is now.  Back then I felt I could never be truthful because I felt that the truth would hurt me more than them.

Now, it feels more important to me to tell the truth.  Yes I suppose I could sugar-coat it a little, but then usually these same people don’t sugar coat much for me.  One is M. who is so troubled with the way that I am, particularly in my reaction to acquaintances and friends, as well as himself.  Well, as two examples of his worry,  one friend has used up all the care and help that I have for her.  I have helped and helped and been there, and been there for her and what have I gotten in return is a plea for more help.  I just don’t have more to give since now I feel I must take care of me and so I stay away as quietly and politely as I can.  Another is a new acquaintance, who I thought might become a good friend.  When I realized that the “the sale–the job–the inevitable bit of money made” was more important than understanding what I wanted and dealing with it.  Yes I was the client, but it didn’t seem to matter much.  I was quickly told that I should understand that what I wanted to happen, (I had full rights to ask for what I wanted)  went against the grain of the acquaintance.  I understood in a moment that the commission in the sale was the most important.  Well, as I am known to do, the axe fell on this supposed relationship and now I am questioned why I made the decision I did.

I often think that this is the most appropriate time in my life to say what I am, what I want and how I see it.  If I don’t act now on my beliefs what am I going to do during that long journey with in my Crepusculum.  I can just imagine how my care can take quick turns that I don’t believe in.  That fact is catalyst enough for me to know I must grab a hold of my own life and start letting everyone know my wishes.  I just can’t sit in the quiet “corner” any longer.  This is all different to me as it is to the others who question me, but I believe this current life turmoil and questioning must be during my transition  from quiet toad sitting on the side of life, to a new, determination that makes people say, “Guess I can’t run over him any longer!”  Its not easy to change.  If you are  like me then agree  to  take a chance to stake out your independence.  Grab a hold of your wishes and sell them boldly to all you meet.  That little change will make you begin to see that it is possible to journey through Crepusculum with a modicum of respect and enjoyment.

Is it a question of attitude?

 

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.  It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think, say, or do.  It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.  It will make or break a company… a church… a home.  The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.  We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.  I am convinced that life is 10% of events that happens to me and 90% of how I react to those times!  Therefore, it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.  Charles W. Swindoll

When I first read this quote, I passed right on by it.  A few days later, I came upon it again, reread it, and finally realized what I should have seen before!

I stopped to think about my attitude and how my outlook for the day is formed and if it ever changes during the day, what either format means and if there was anything I should do about making sure I carried with me the best possible reaction to the events in my life.

Usually, I awaken in the morning very early.  This is a hold over from when my Mother was alive, but now I treasure that time because it is my time to think, write or do whatever I like on the computer.  It is a time that is always in the darkened room.  It is always quiet and affords me the ability to write in privacy!  While I am at the computer I have a small cup of coffee and if it is one of the days that sleep has eluded me then the coffee does no good, I still feel like sleeping, I nod often and soon realize the best thing to do is go lay down!

When I first awaken and during this private time, I am one of those that do not wake up to well.  Two hours can pass and I will still be in a cloudy state.  Yes, I can write and develop what I am writing, but if I need to really think, or function, I am not too good at it at this hour.  I have always been like this in the morning, quiet and possibly, you would think I was in a dreamland, which I may be.  Regardless, I feel I am innocent in premeditated actions because I just could not plan a thing until much later.  When I worked, I always responded the same way when I got up.  So often, then, I repeatedly told myself everything would be fine once I got in the car, because I knew I needed to face the day as soon as possible.  After arriving at work I still needed my time…everyone knew that and usually, unless a crisis set in, everyone respected that time.

At home, during my state of reverie I may go about straightening things up a little.  I may move a comb, a knife or a sheet of paper, all in grand innocence, yet those are the things that annoy M the most.  If I do move them, I am chastised and there fore, at that moment, my Attitude is negatively forned for the day.  Possibly, the phone may ring and the caller may also perturb me or even the cat can bring me from cloudy maze to arched eyebrow disdain.  These ill-received words received may cause my attitude to be less than stellar for hours.  I can, unintentionally, brood during that time.

When I finally read Swindoll’s quote I sheepishly thought, yes I do have a choice.  I can allow a sarcastic question/statement to send me lurking about in dark moments or I can tell my self that it is not worth having them affect my attitude for the whole day.  I think he makes sence wben he writes that events happen to you each day but they only comprise a small percentage of your life, as compared to how we react which can be a much higher percentage of getting it wrong.  So if life (my happiness and good will) is 90% of how I react to the events in my life then I had better start making respond positively, rather then letting my attitude travel south into a not so happy place.