The Color Scheme of Injury

“But he won’t let the pain blot out the humor no more’n he’ll let the humor blot out the pain.” ~ Ken Kesey

“The first step to the knowledge of the wonder and mystery of life is the recognition of the monstrous nature of the earthly human realm as well as its glory, the realization that this is just how it is and that it cannot and will not be changed. Those who think they know how the universe could have been had they created it, without pain, without sorrow, without time, without death, are unfit for illumination.” ~ Joseph Campbell

“Trauma is personal. It does not disappear if it is not validated. When it is ignored or invalidated the silent screams continue internally heard only by the one held captive. When someone enters the pain and hears the screams healing can begin.” ~ Danielle Burnock

Ack. I forgot to wear my neck brace overnight. My bad. The payment is under way. Ouch. Poor me, right? Yeh, I suppose. It is a prime opportunity to practice mindfulness throughout the day. This being a work day makes the mindfulness necessary, and there is always the hope that I might even find myself in Flow, the Zone, whatever. Whatever the case, I will have fun. Laughter is the best medicine. Say, does Reader’s Digest even exist anymore? Family Circle? Boy’s Life? Whatever. The truth is I could easily go back to sleep, even after two cups of delicious black coffee. Strong, dark, and bitter – I call it Ex-Wife coffee. Yes, I’d enjoy seeing her again. There are no romantic feelings; those left 40 years ago. But my inner Hopeful Romantic has been quite active lately, sometimes to an annoying degree. I do have a flesh and blood muse, but I have only seen her once since the stay at home stuff began. Though I may flirt with obsession at times . . . well, now is not one of those times. Now, it is time to get an early start at getting ready for work. I think I will wear my red paisley mask today. It will highlight both the t-shirt I will wear, and the lovely bluish purple bruises that encircle my left eye. Is there any reason that color scheme should not include a black eye? No, of course not.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

A Fine Line Between Positive Thinking & Denial

Rosie the Cat – my roommate for 16 years so far

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” ~ John Lubbock

“Summer was here again. Summer, summer, summer. I loved and hated summers. Summers had a logic all their own and they always brought something out in me. Summer was supposed to be about freedom and youth and no school and possibilities and adventure and exploration. Summer was a book of hope. That’s why I loved and hated summers. Because they made me want to believe.” ~ Benjamin Alire Sáenz

“July is a blind date with summer.” ~ Hal Borland

Tropical blood in my veins or not, I am really fed up with this high heat. 98º F yesterday. I’ve done hours of grueling physical labor in the tropical heat, during my days in the Florida Keys, so I can handle the heat. That’s not the point. I don’t like it and I don’t want it and I am feeling old and cranky today and this Summer stuff is a disgrace and a disaster the likes of which no one has ever seen before and I believe I am being treated unfairly. So there! I would go on with a bratty “YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!” except Mother Nature is like “ummmm, yes, I can”. Now, going forward, I’m finding plenty of beautiful scenes to evoke joy in me. My favorite of late was a female coyote poking about in the neighbor’s back yard a few mornings ago at sunrise. She knew I was watching, but it seemed she couldn’t quite see where I was sitting. And I was like all “I learned it from you, luv”. Indeed I did. A lot pf people go their whole life without realizing that we can learn from other animals because we are animals as well. We have things in common. Like some days my cat and I are just two mammals hangin’ out. This afternoon is likely to be one of those occasions.

Partly cloudy now. That made it so I could go out and gaze at the mountains for a while. Or space out. Or both. Depends on your perspective. Or not. Gotta wait until noon to make a beer run, up to Arroyo Hondo, seein’s how it is Sunday and they don’t sell alcohol Sunday mornings. Hondo is seven miles north. The drop down into the huge arroyo is at about the six mile mark. The view is spectacular! Here and now, my left eye, the one where the head injury is, is feeling puffy and yucky. It’s been a week now, and I’ve been trying to stay positive about it, but I now know the impact was worse than I thought. There’s a fine line between positive thinking and denial. Think about that.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Timelessness and a Cowboy Metaphor

Sunset from June 2009. The wildfire smoke was seriously thick at the time.

“The traumatized person is often relieved simply to learn the true name of her condition. By ascertaining her diagnosis, she begins the process of mastery. No longer imprisoned in the wordlessness of the trauma, she discovers that there is a language for her experience. She discovers that she is not alone; others have suffered in similar ways. She discovers further that she is not crazy; the traumatic syndromes are normal human responses to extreme circumstances. And she discovers, finally, that she is not doomed to suffer this condition indefinitely; she can expect to recover, as others have recovered.” ~ Judith Lewis Herman

“Most important thing in life is learning how to fall.” ~ Jeanette Walls

Back to work. The past three days feel like three weeks. Before the disorientation began, a few hours after the head injury, I decided to just cut loose the schedule and clock for the next three days. And feel into the pain, examine the wound in the mirror, sit as still as possible. I strapped on my medical-grade cervical collar because I could feel the trauma in my neck, which is never good on the best of days. Yeh, it’s been a long three days. In fact it has felt timeless in many ways. Last night was rough for sleeping, due to sensations around the wound. There is a headache, but the whole thing just feels creepy. All the things I did were not palliative, as such, I did them to make sure that a PTSD episode did not take hold. It was a success. That makes it research as well. As a trauma sufferer I think you oughtta be prepared for accidents, not if they happen or not, but what to do to keep a trauma reaction from taking hold – sorta like headin’ it off at the pass. Don’tcha just love them cowboy metaphors. And on that note, I’d best start getting ready for the workday, and all of the comments I expect to get about this big black eye.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Life on the White Line

“Behind every beautiful thing, there’s some kind of pain.” ~ Bob Dylan

“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.” ~ Pema Chödrön

“One of the challenges with pain—physical or psychic—is that we can really only approach it through metaphor. It can’t be represented the way a table or a body can. In some ways pain is the opposite of language.” ~ John Green

It has taken 68 hours for me to feel the desire to move. At all. It was a big help to have the Nurse Practitioner highly recommend medical cannabis as a muscle relaxant, in lieu of a pharmaceutical analog, which she cautioned against. Nuff said there; I was gonna do it anyway. It was the comment about her hair that endeared her to me. She had just gotten a haircut, to make a donation of her long ponytail to Wigs for Kids. It made it hard for her to figure out how to tie her hair back to keep it out of her eyes while stitching up my brow. Finally she said, “Oh, I’ll just tie it up top and look like Bam Bam”. She had let it hang loose again before I finally opened my eyes, so I never got to see it. Before beginning the suturing she said, “You look like a ‘fix-y guy’, so I’ll walk you through it”. And she did, along with her explanations to her nurse, a young Native woman who was just about as pretty as can be, a major part of her beauty conveyed with a smile that rivaled Julia Roberts. Listen, there is a load of healing force in beauty and humor. Nine stitches later . . . yeh, let’s just say that I left some skin on the white line of the highway in front of the store where I work – and jiggled my brain around pretty good. I’m okay. Lovely black eye as well. It was an accident, but I never got to confront the driver who had played large part in it. Oddly enough, he looked like Warren Zevon. He rolled his window down and said, “Are you alright?”. I flashed him a peace sign and silently told him to get the fuck away from me. Within maybe 30 minutes I was on my back in the examination room, with two women, one seriously funny and the other strikingly pretty. Today the shock is mostly lifting. I’ve got a gnarly headache. A need to do a small load of laundry. A throbbing soreness on my left temple. Of course there is also the fact that a head injury was how my PTSD was born in the first place. Don’t know yet how that’s going to play out, but I reckon I will have recovered my brain by the time I get to work tomorrow. Ouch.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

The Value of Retail Laughter

“The things people say of a man do not alter a man. He is what he is. Public opinion is of no value whatsoever. Even if people employ actual violence, they are not to be violent in turn. That would be to fall to the same low level. After all, even in prison, a man can be quite free. His soul can be free. His personality can be untroubled. He can be at peace. And, above all things, they are not to interfere with other people or judge them in any way. Personality is a very mysterious thing. A man cannot always be estimated by what he does. He may keep the law, and yet be worthless. He may break the law, and yet be fine. He may be bad, without ever doing anything bad. He may commit a sin against society, and yet realize through that sin his true perfection.” ~ Oscar Wilde

“What we thought of as personality was no more than the passing shape of one of the waves in front of me.” ~ Richard K. Morgan

Monday, Monday. Good coffee, good cat. I must admit I am feeling overwhelmed with the insanity (carefully chosen word) from the daily news. But it is a workday and I cannot must not let the events in the Bizarro World detract from my public service experience. Sigh. It’s what I do. I’m a cashier, but I also see the job as entertainment – not for me, for others – though I admit to being entertained frequently at work. If you work in retail and can’t laugh about it you are likely in for a world of shit. Laugh, out of humor or irony, but laugh. That’s my message for the day. At the moment it is time for me to haul the trash bin out to the road. It’s a Monday morning thing I do, and I have no compunction about using it as a metaphor. After the weekend take out the trash. That sort of thing. Thoughtful, right?

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Mockingbird in a Mud Puddle

“Therefore, dear Sir, love your solitude and try to sing out with the pain it causes you. For those who are near you are far away… and this shows that the space around you is beginning to grow vast…. be happy about your growth, in which of course you can’t take anyone with you, and be gentle with those who stay behind; be confident and calm in front of them and don’t torment them with your doubts and don’t frighten them with your faith or joy, which they wouldn’t be able to comprehend. Seek out some simple and true feeling of what you have in common with them, which doesn’t necessarily have to alter when you yourself change again and again; when you see them, love life in a form that is not your own and be indulgent toward those who are growing old, who are afraid of the aloneness that you trust…. and don’t expect any understanding; but believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

“I want to be able to be alone, to find it nourishing – not just a waiting.” ~ Susan Sontag

Mockingbird joyfully bathing in a mud puddle. That’s enough beauty to get me through this whole coming week. I saw him at it yesterday, in the driveway, not 20 feet from where I sat. And he looked at me frequently, in solid eye contact, which indicated to me that we were cool with the arrangement. Mockingbirds are fierce defenders of their territory, so I was blessed to be in his immediate presense. This Nature sighting ranks right up there with the mountain lions and dolphins. Ah, the little things. Such as sleeping away most of yesterday. I don’t think it was fully exhaustion and catching up on needed rest, it seemed to mostly be a journey into the Dreamtime. I sense that some of the fruits of that journey will whisper and dance for me throughout the day. There have also been a few epic deja vus lately. Magic is afoot in the land. It’s a short workday today. Likely it will be an early bedtime as well, though I hope to stretch it out some. Moderation, and all that happy horseshit. I’ve sugar-coated the reason for sleeping so much: it is also from this friggin depressive cycle. I’ve remained mostly rational through the thick of it, but it takes a big toll nonetheless. But for now it is shower time, the getting on with this gainful employment think. Onward.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

The Other Grandmother

“Solitude is the soil in which genius is planted, creativity grows, and legends bloom; faith in oneself is the rain that cultivates a hero to endure the storm, and bare the genesis of a new world, a new forest.” ~ Mike Norton

“No one can possess a sunset like the one we saw that evening. Just as no one can possess an afternoon of rain beating against the window, or serenity of a sleeping child, or the magical moment when the waves break on the rocks. No one can possess the beautiful things in this Earth, but we can know them and love them.” ~ Paolo Coelho

“I am always looking for rainbows, literally and metaphorically, only that I am starting to think that I could learn more from my journey if, from time to time, I were brave enough to stay in the rain longer.” ~ Luigina Sgarro

Rain in the desert. The phrase has such a wealth of potential meaning, enough from which to pick and choose, but wet is wet. I just got back inside under assault from lazy, fat rain drops. Tis indeed a stormy sky in early morning. Would that I could I would place an order to have the rain visit on and off throughout the day. Not bloody likely, but I didn’t expect this morning’s rain. Weather can be so confounding. I’ll take what I can get. That’s the magic of rain: you take what you can get. Yet it is the internal force that matters beyond the pure mechanics, and flow dynamics, and wetness, and stuff. We are hardwired into a primal relationship with rain. As I finished that last sentence a fresh wave of light rain began, and now it is ending. Three dozen more times between now and sunset – that’s all I’m asking. Here’s some more, right now. Anyway . . . I’m nearing the need for a second cup of coffee. The need to feed the cat – – or so she tells me – – has been running strong for at least two hours, and I shall have to take care of that shortly, as well. Then it will be a grand day for a strongly introverted lad such as I. At least I shall feel like a lad if I sit stock still and watch some sci-fi, fantasy, whatever, on Hulu. Yes, I’m re-binging on The Librarians. Rebecca Romijn’s eyes alone make it worthwhile. But I need a good laugh, and to reinforce the need to believe that magic is primarily a force for good. President McMojo has sullied the Force. For now I listen to the Force whispering. The Goddess too. Yesterday morning my Grandma Florence visited me suddenly. I was delighted and startled. She rarely comes to mind, and a visit in spirit . . . well, it’s been a long long time. She was my paternal grandmother, and I have been leaning toward mom’s side for many years now, and . . . ummmm . . . well, Grandma Olive and I got drunk together one night – beer and sherry and cigarettes. That’s a bonding I do not experience with t’other grandmother. But it’s all Goddess stuff today. Full Moon and all. Magic and rain showers. Magic and beer. Magic and that distant smile that haunts me so.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Never Ever Far Away

“The French called this time of day ‘l’heure bleue.’ To the English it was ‘the gloaming.’ The very word ‘gloaming’ reverberates, echoes – the gloaming, the glimmer, the glitter, the glisten, the glamour – carrying in its consonants the images of houses shuttering, gardens darkening, grass-lined rivers slipping through the shadows. During the blue nights you think the end of the day will never come. As the blue nights draw to a close (and they will, and they do) you experience an actual chill, an apprehension of illness, at the moment you first notice; the blue light is going, the days are already shortening, the summer is gone. Blue nights are the opposite of the dying of the brightness, but they are also its warning.” ~ Joan Didion

“Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.” ~ Lloyd Alexander

The morning feels soft, nearly sweet. Hopefully the day will follow accordingly, but I have to run numerous errands in town today, so all bets are off. Yet . . . it all feels okay so I ain’t gonna push it, or let my cynicism get any kind of grip at all. Yeh, it’s laundry day as well. I guess the main stressor is that Taos is crawling with tourists, mask or not. My approach to all of this, taking into consideration my chronic fear and anxiety, is to kinda sorta roll with Fate and Destiny. Sounds like a plan. Cynicism and/or depression is always hanging nearby in some shadow or other – never ever far away. I don’t sense any danger though. At the moment I hear some bird chirping out at the feeder. The light overcast sky seems to be giving way to direct sunlight. I prefer the clouds today, but . . . oh whatever. Time to suck up this serenity and see if I can apply it to the practicality of the day ahead. Onward.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

A Plethora of Weirdness

“After this whole acting thing is over and done, you eventually have to be human. Some people are never human. It’s very weird.” ~ Joe Rogan

“Your imagination needs to be broken in, I think, to become anywhere near as weird as the world.” ~ Alexander Chee

“I’m quite aware of my differences. I wouldn’t classify them as weird” Sherman Alexie

Have you noticed how easy it has become to see the weirdness in the world? To see the world as weird? To see whatever? I’ve been finding myself, in the mornings, to be somewhat stunned by the rising tide of strangeness today. Some days it is nearly breathtaking. I’ve got the day off tomorrow, so if I choose I can just savor the weirdness. Or not. That’s the point. To simply turn and look away from what seems to be madness is not an option for me. I wanna watch. It’s that simple. Am I making sense? It has long seemed to me that way too many people talk about “I don’t have time for drama”. I get that. Maybe I am biased from PTSD. One of the truly annoying things about PTSD, for me, is that it is all drama. Every waking hour. You can’t avoid it. Time or not, ya gotta learn to live with it ’cause it ain’t goin’ away. I don’t know. I think I’ll just wander off into the sunrise right now. The morning air is deliciously cold. 1st of July and it is 45º. I love it. By doing a coworker a favor I ended up having the whole weekend off, which means I absolutely do not have to go into Taos at all. I mean, 4th of July weekend, tourist season, deadly pandemic, conspiracy-saturated society? Wow. A virtual plethora of weirdness. I can just hear the doctor now: “Make sure to take your Xanax, and try to lay off the conspiracies for a few days, k?”. Sure doc. But it’s indica for me tomorrow. And today it is gainful employment. There I go.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

You Have to Befriend the Dragon

“I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud. ~ C. G. Jung

“Maybe all the people who say ghosts don’t exist are just afraid to admit that they do.” ~ Michael Ende

“The terms we use for what is considered supernatural are woefully inadequate. Beyond such terms as ghost, specter, poltergeist, angel, devil, or spirit, might there not be something more our purposeful blindness has prevented us from understanding? We accept the fact that there may be other worlds out in space, but might there not be other worlds here? Other worlds, in other dimensions, coexistent with this? If there are other worlds parallel to ours, are all the doors closed? Or does one, here or there, stand ajar?” ~ Louis L’Amour

Monday morning. Good coffee, almost gone. Cat sound asleep on her bed next to my desk. Scant noise from the highway. High partial overcast, committing the morning to temporary grayness. I wish I could remember my dreams. It surely has been easy for me to sleep these days. No worries on that. There are memories being disturbed that would have been easier just kept down, like the dragon slathered across his pile of gold. But it’s that gold, that pay dirt. It’s an apt metaphor for the ages. As Stephen and Ondrea Levine were so fond of noting, we should treasure ourselves. I know full well the value of digging deep, rousing the dragon, then getting a look at the treasure beneath him. Tricky business, that. Those memories are locked up for a reason. The trick is to find that moment of grace when the reason starts to resemble a purpose. For that, to begin to find that purpose, or even a ghost of it, you have to befriend the dragon. I won’t milk that metaphor this morning. It’s friggin Monday and I gotta go to work. OMG town is crawling with tourists! A good many of whom are not wearing masks. I will don my mask and gloves, suit up – vest, walkie talkie, knife, pen, pocket notebook – I may even wear my company hat. Then it is step into the vinyl fishbowl I work within these days. I’m aiming for the Tao thing today. The walking prayer thing. The Beauty Way. There’s that one smile I hope to see, always first, no need to wonder or know why. There’s that one quip, blip of jest, nugget of wisdom. Then there’s the dragon . . . onward.

Hey! Check out the orb shooting out from beneath the door in the opening photo. Zoom in, it’s very interesting.

All is well. Goof gloriously.