Archive for November 27, 2010

Power to the Pupil

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As most of my acquaintances will tell you, through a weak and weary smile, I am all about lessons learned. Maybe it’s because I came late to viewing life through grown-up eyes, I don’t know. But I have an unfortunate zeal for spreading the benefit of my revelational experiences throughout a sometimes disinterested population of family and friends, and it does seem that life lessons pop up around every corner. 

My major writing project these days presents such surprises on a regular basis. I am rewriting journal notes I kept while assisting my aging father and stepmother from January of 2005 through June of 2006. Reliving the joys and frustrations of weekdays spent with them is a rewarding but emotionally draining exercise – and one that leads me to stumble onto insights that only become apparent when viewed from a distance.

In one recounted scene, a gentle therapist helping my stepmother deal with Parkinsonisms tells me to remind the patient to “look to the horizon,” rather than let her head fall forward and her gaze drift down. These days I catch myself, on my long daily walks, letting my own head fall forward and my gaze drop as I contemplate weighty matters beyond my control. “Lift your eyes to the horizon,” I remind myself, and I’m rewarded with welcome distractions: the peach-toned underside of a bank of silvery clouds; a neighbor’s color-burst front porch arrangement of fall foliage; the frisky antics of a pair of scampering squirrels, taking a play break from the work of foraging for winter’s needs. 

When the first wet, heavy snow of the season caused power lines to sag and we lost electricity for three days the second weekend in November, I had another opportunity to “lift my eyes” – first of all from my minor, into-my-chest grumblings about the inconvenience to see that the temperature outside was – thank the Lord – 40 above, and not 40 below. By the time it was all over, I had realized a thing or two about the imposed tranquility of not being able to carry the day’s work into the evening hours, and that the world does not stop spinning on its axis if dishes pile up in my sink or my blog is late getting posted.

What a luscious luxury to while away a few morning hours writing birthday poems and Thanksgiving cards in a sunny corner of the dining room, or to play a leisurely game of Scrabble by candlelight after the evening has rolled darkness into that same corner. Not being tied to the clock or to my chore calendar went from exasperating to calming as we lit dozens of candles for light and warmth and psychological comfort, and soaked up the restful quiet like grateful birds refreshed by a gentle summer rain. (more…)

November 27, 2010 at 9:37 pm Leave a comment

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