seasons

come up for air

mtshasta

Step 1. Upload pictures from camera to computer. Wait, where is the camera? I can’t remember the last time I took a dslr photo. Battery is dead, of course it is. Charge battery. Step 2. Scroll through several months of pictures, since last upload, since last blog entry, and wonder ‘is there anything here I can write about?’ Step 3. Not really. Pull a random picture and write anyway.

There is this thing that happens in early Spring in the Pacific Northwest: you start seeing people again. We live on a street that gets plenty of foot traffic in decent weather; we’re a few blocks from our town’s “main street”. The walkability, the proximity to lots of useful stuff, was the number 1 reason we bought this house almost seven years ago. And while some people are walking for efficient transportation all year round, the frequency of passers-by increases so much once we start having warmer, drier days. Uly likes to stand on his little stool at our front window and announce, “man!” or “lady!” when he spots a pedestrian.

The last two Springs were rough. Two years ago, Ulysses was tiny and we were on the heels of his first open heart surgery and I was busy growing thicker skin. Last year, we were dreading another heart surgery and then dealing with a complicated aftermath. This year, I’m just busy. My skin is plenty thick now. I still notice dumb stuff people do and say, but anticipating that dumb stuff doesn’t consume me anymore. This year, I’m back to being annoyed by crabby Gladys Kravitz next door. This year, I am planning a garden again. This year, I have a two year old who cannot yet walk independently but wants to be as active outdoors as any two year old. This year, I feel a great disconnect between what I want to be doing and what I am able to manage.

If I have passed an acceptable age of being ridiculously moved by music, nobody told me and I don’t care. It was fun to see such positive feedback on my winter playlist I shared in January. I had started working on a Spring mix, but I got waylaid by one perfect song. I want a list of this one song ten times in a row. I want to sing it to everyone who walks by my house. I want to sing it to myself, “Get outside, get all over the world You learn to love what you get in return It may be a problem and it may be peace of mind Put your head down down and breathe one breath at a time.”

(are you like me? do you like to read the lyrics of songs like you’re sixteen again and cracking open the liner notes in a new cd for the first time? I wouldn’t want to be sixteen again for anything, and my own teenaged daughter does not experience music in the same intense way I did, but I do still like to read through the words of a good song.)

“Miracle Mile”

I was supposed to do great things
I know the road was long
But I wasn’t raised to shoot for fame
I had the safety on

I cut my ties, I sold my rings
I wanted none of this
If you start from scratch you have to sing
Just for the fun of it

I’d be alright, if I could just see you
Come up for air, come up for air
A miracle mile, where does it lead to
Come up for air, come up for air

I feel the air upon my face
Forget the mess I’m in
Hold me again, don’t count mistakes
I lost track of them

I’d be alright, if I could just see you
Come up for air, come up for air
A miracle mile, where does it lead to
Come up for air, come up for air

I was in the mud, I was in the dirt
Went underground and I found what I was worth
All alone and I know I cant stay
But we’re walking up and down the streets to stay awake

Come up for air, come up for air, come up
Come up for air, come up for air, come up
Come up for air, come up for air, come up
Come up for air, come up for air, come up

Get outside, get all over the world
You learn to love what you get in return
It may be a problem and it may be peace of mind
Put your head down down and breathe one breath at a time

Come up for air, come up for air, come up
Come up for air, come up for air, come up
Come up for air, come up for air, come up
Come up for air, come up for air, come up

I’d be alright, if I could just see you
Come up for air, come up for air
A miracle mile, where does it lead to
Come up for air, come up for air

I’d be alright, if I could just see you
A miracle mile, where does it lead to

(photo is a roadside capture of mount shasta from our road trip to southern california last fall. last fall! i have taken almost zero good pictures in months. check my instagram for more current phone snapshots.)

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good thoughts

sunbeams

I shut the curtains now before 5 pm; any pretense of hanging onto some delusional fragments of summer ended more than a month ago! I held on for as long as I could, pretended that the warm lazy limbo was limitless, although such a freewheeling season is largely an idea, not reflective of real life. Even summer has its stresses and obligations.

I did not realize I was actively dreading Fall until it was upon me and I remembered, Oh! I’ve spent significant time in hospitals the last two Novembers. No wonder I’ve felt a vague sense of foreboding as the leaves changed colors, as the rain settled in, as the temperature dropped.

Today is the sixth of November, one year exactly from the date of Uly’s leg amputations. One whole year since I consented to having part of his body cut off and discarded. It was the right decision. It was not an easy decision. A  year ago, he was in such pain, he had complications from surgery that made recovery slow and difficult. He had to go back into the operating room several times; his skin was dotted all over with evidence of so many IV pokes.

But now? Now that little elf zips around like a speedster with the aid of his prostheses and a tiny walker. (not all the time yet, or even most of the time. but we aim for “leg time” every day.) Our daily life is a cakewalk in contrast to a year ago. I have nothing acutely worrisome on my radar, and yet I still feel jumpy! I guess 2 nerve-racking Novembers in a row is enough to set a subconscious pattern of troubling expectation.

I took an intentional, lengthy break from this blog. I’ve taken a break from writing much at all, because my brain used all of its energy in keeping the regular stuff going and that has been good enough. It had to be good enough because that’s all I had. But now I have a little bit more again, or at least the gumption to keep at it. No duties have been allocated elsewhere, and no long-term concerns have disappeared, but I had some time to figure out if this blog is helpful (yes.) and if it matters at all (I decided that it does.) and whether or not I want to continue writing here (I do. even as I need to make writing elsewhere a priority). And I don’t mean to imply that it’s been all woe and worry in my life lately. It has not! I think I do a pretty good job of keeping on top of things, enjoying the good stuff and weathering the rough. And by “rough” patches, I mean the regular daily wheels, nothing unexpected gumming up the works. But it’s amazing how the regular stuff can ooze all over every minute of the day and not leave much space for anything extra.

Since the last time I updated: we took a few quick, nearby trips, the husband and I acknowledged SEVENTEEN years being married to each other, we went on a terrific road trip to southern California and back, I had a birthday, and Uly was fitted for his second set of legs.

And now we’re leaning into a steady Fall routine. And now I’m feeling grateful that we don’t have any hospital stays planned, and that I have this grinning sunbeam in my life:

Untitled

(the top pic was a phone shot from last January; if the kitchen chalk wall isn’t full of a grocery list or a chores for the kids, I try to throw a thoughtful quote up there. this one is a favorite. and the bottom pic is a recent one I pulled off of instagram. hashtag super uly!)

Categories: amputation, gratitude, seasons | 6 Comments

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