Notes From A Tripod

(Another take on my knee injury a couple posts back…)

The doctor reviews my MRI and informs me it’s a wear injury- a polite way of saying you’re getting old. The cartilage in my knee has worn thin from age and a simple turned ankle on a hike tore the meniscus which led to a stress fracture to the head of my femur.   “Stay off your knee for 4 months, non-weight bearing- crutches.  Watch that left hip.  It shows low bone density.  Don’t gain weight.   We’ll go from there.  No surgery, no easy fixes. See you after the first of the year.” Appointment concludes.  Crabby surgeon departs.  I remain in a state of shock.

What the doctor didn’t tell me is how to cope with this loss, this massive change in my life- no walking and no clear path to recovery, no dangling hope. All he sees is the injury and not the humanity surrounding it.  The quick fix laparoscopic surgery I expected disintegrated into months of recovery with no clear resolution.  My world shrinks from a universe to the size of an orange.  Will I get to walk or hike with my friends again?  Will I ever again see the tips of my cross-country skis cut through sparking snow?

Every day humans are faced with diagnoses, injuries, and other nasty things that upend their lives instantly.  It can be a lonely path to navigate.  Every day you’ve got to stave off the demons and keep on going, reframe your life, lower your expectations.  For me being a highly creative person and very goal-oriented, this is a challenge.  My big native plant garden project? – canceled until further notice.  Travel?  I don’t think so. Grocery shopping, housework?  NO. Cook?- barely.  This is my first major injury in six decades of living.  I am such a beginner

After weeks of flapping my wings against my cage, I’ve had to revise my life.

Focus on what I can do…

Get a new doctor (check)

Write

Draw

Read

Watch movies

Sing

Play guitar

Swim

Ride my bike

Get outside

Clean out some drawers

Breathe

Meditate

  • I have to remember to ask for help (hard).
  • I have to permit myself to pamper myself- hire a housekeeper, get a massage, buy audiobooks, get a therapist. (hard) 
  • Be humble- I just ordered a wheelchair as my back aches from weeks of crutches.
  • I have to allow myself some days of just being pathetic even though I know things could be worse. (easy)

I emerged from the doctor’s office that day feeling my mortality diminished

but still, I felt a pulse

and I had to drive home to beat traffic.

Said the tree to the sky

My limb is broken

I will have to find a new way

To dance with the wind

Artwork and poetry by the author

See my other blog on sustainable living at OneSweetEarth.blog

Have a “Wanderful” New Year

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This curious little book caught my eye when searching for a book on spiritual practice in my local library.  It was called “TheWander Society by Keri Smith.  Flipping through this img_1738book like a combination of discovering a little cache of buried treasure and opening a door into a world of mystery and intrigue.

The author stumbled upon the existence of The Wander Society quite by accident as she was perusing a used bookstore in her town. She picked up a worn copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass from the shelves.  In it were hand notated references “WW will show you the way,” “Solvitur Ambulando,” “The Wander Society,” along with other underlinings and strange symbols in the margins.

This is a book about Keri’s subsequent research into the “Wander Society” – which actually exists, taking inspiration from the life of Walt Whitman.  Then there is information on how to be a wanderer and her handwritten written underneath the type in how her practice of wandering was changing her life. Anyone can be a member- however, but there are img_1736certain requirements…….

I’m not going to spoil the fun.  Go out and read the book.

I must say, this little volume sort of upended how I’ve been thinking about my life.  Of course, I’ve been in one of those places where I was on the verge of being upended, like the big earthquake we have been expecting in Oregon. This was a catalyst.  I have always been a doer.  That’s what our culture demands of us- achievement! productivity! Branding!  But maybe there is another way to look at things that is…..

much

more

sane

At the dawn of 2019, I am going to strive to be more of being than a doer,  a wanderer more than a seeker.

Wish me luck

Hope you will join me

Happy New Year to all of you.  Here is a poem from my favorite poet, Mary Oliver to close out the year…..

Continue reading “Have a “Wanderful” New Year”

When Scrolling Was Not a Verb

smartphone-2454611_1920“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
― Albert Einstein

 

I wake up every day still wondering about the changes in this world since I came of age…..

SCROLLING

Name, address, telephone number

Birthdate

Index finger poised I scroll down the years

Down

Down

Down

 

Down past generations xyz

Down before we were gray

And our faces etched with lines

Down when our backs were supple

And our knees strong

Continue reading “When Scrolling Was Not a Verb”

In Praise of Autumn

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” 
― L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” 
― Albert Camus

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The Fall Equinox has passed and I am absolutely thrilled to be deep in the autumn colors.  This is the season where I am released from the obligations of tending to biomass.  Living on acreage in W. Oregon we have our share.  We have a big garden, an orchard, lawn and flower beds.  It’s a place where plants like to grow.

The rains have begun, the garden is torn out, the flower beds are mulched for the winter, and the firewood is in and stacked.  This frees up more time to concentrate on my artwork, writing, and music.  I sing in a women’s choir and we are getting ready for our 40401429_1888497791198499_407333225178857472_oholiday show.  Additionally, I play the bodhran, an Irish drum and am learning to play the tenor guitar.  Travels are finished for the year.  It’s good to be home.

Continue reading “In Praise of Autumn”

We Matter

img_0324.jpgHow did it happen that the U.S. government has forgotten the well being of its own people?  I watched the “March for Our Lives” rally broadcast this morning from Washington D.C. heartsick hearing the Stoneman Douglas student speakers express their pain from the mass shooting at their school.  Equally heartbreaking was hearing their frustration from the lack of response from leaders who have done virtually NOTHING after the myriad of massacres that have occurred in schools and public spaces across the US in recent time. I substitute teach part-time in high schools.  It’s sad that every time I walk in the door I feel I am not in a safe place anymore.  Students feel that every day.

There was a pivotal point in one student’s speech where he said we should “arm teachers.”  I sucked in my breath saying to myself “oh not this.”  The student went on to say, however, that teachers should be well armed with pencils, paper, books and good enough salaries to teach.  The crowd roared. As an educator, I know how underfunded our education system is in this country.  We fund wars across the globe, give tax breaks to the rich, but neglect the safety, education, healthcare, & mental health care of our own people.  WE MATTER.

If anyone can make a change in this country, these kids can.  They have started a movement and I am right there with them.  For now, all I could do was write a blog post & make a picture (but that’s what artist’s do).

 

Goodbye 2017

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The year 2017 slunk away

Like stray cat that lost a fight

Leaving bloody tracks and tufts of fur

In its wake

 

The flood waters have receded

Fires still burn to the south

Refugees across the globe pray for safety

The homeless seek shelter

And the men still beat their chests in Washington

Shouting over truth

 

 

But if you are very still and listen

You can hear the sound of the peoples’ drum beats

Pulsing

Building up strength and timbre

Beneath that thin veneer of chaos

 

Power is as ephemeral as a passing storm

Blowing  itself out with the  passage of time

Give pause and consider

For 365 days the sun rose and set of its own accord

The tides ebbed and flowed

And one day in August

the moon crowned the sun king

With a corona of light

Wrapping us all in illuminated smiles

 

We are still here

With our lives

Our memories

Our dreams

Celebrating community

Beauty and love

Between the lines of a script

We did not write

 

There will be a new story

Starting tomorrow

We have the choice

to change the outcome, beginning with ourselves

And we will all be there

To feed the fire of hope

To light our way through the New Year

Of  2018

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Wishing you all the best in this New Year,

Alanna