Archives for the month of: September, 2008

One Step
Originally uploaded by Lynn Park

I have a pain in my right side. At first I thought it was a pulled muscle, but now I don’t think so. I think it may be a tiny hair-line crack in a rib, acquired I know not how, which is possible because I have osteoporosis as well as the osteogenesis that is the reason I use a wheelchair. “But I’m too young for little cracks like that,” I think. “That’s for old women; I’m only 63. I can’t start falling apart yet.”

It’s not a bad pain, nothing I can’t live with, mostly a wince when I turn or lift my arm in certain ways. But it’s there, in the background. I have an appointment with my orthopedist Tuesday, to see what he thinks. Maybe it’s time to go on Calcitonin, a medication to aid bone healing and reduce pain, that’s supposed to be good for the small fractures associated with aging.

I could have called my medical doctor but it would probably have taken longer to get in to see him and he’s rather dour, whereas I always feel supported when I see Dr. W. He’ll tell me if I need to see Dr. D, who might know more about the latest medications. I’m just not as comfortable with him. But at least I’m not playing ostrich. I’m doing something.

While I want to convince myself that this pain, and my concern about it, is a “little thing,” my own words come back to me:

FOURTH POEM AFTER RUMI

Get full value.
Don’t cheat yourself.
You are being called
to spend everything
for a moment’s bliss–
with no guarantee
that payment will ever come through.

Only fools hoard their heart.
You are no fool.
This grief and this longing agree on that.

Your love yearns to cry “yes.”
What option is caution
for the soul that would be free?

Finally the oyster knows itself
to be not different from the pearl:
soft flesh made precious in pain,
all a jewel in God’s fiery sea.

Note: The photo “One Step” appears in my photostream at Flickr.com.

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Early Sky
Originally uploaded by Lynn Park

Several years ago, on a cold, gray Sunday afternoon, I went to Border’s. I may have gotten a latte, a magazine or a book, but I was by myself, enjoying it, and not paying much attention to anyone else. When it was time to go home, I went back to the car.

Getting in took a while. First I positioned the chair by the driver’s side seat and placed a slide board under my bottom and on the seat so I could make the transition without having to stress my arms or shoulders. Once in, I put the slide board in. Then I reached to take out the seat cushion and remove the back pack from the chair.

Now “the contraption,” otherwise known as a car-top carrier, came into play. I pushed a button that opened the box on top and let down a chain with a hooked arm on the end. I manuevered this hook under the wheelchair seat, pushed the button again, and–ta dum, the chain rolled back up, folding the chair as it went and then slid the folded chair into the box on top, which then closed. All I had to do was close the door, put the key in the ignition, and–using the hand controls–drive off.

But before I could do that, a young man who’d been standing off a ways came up to me and said, “You demonstrate the indomitability of the human spirit.” I may have thanked him, I’m pretty sure I nodded (I hope I looked gracious), but I was not glad. I didn’t want to be an example of the imdomitability of the human spirit. How did that young man see me if that’s what he saw? I didn’t want to consider that.

And something is shifting, something I find myself investigating in these blogs as I explore the interface between photographs that have quickened new aliveness and the experience of living in this body of mine. I revisit that Sunday afternoon and have a better sense of what the young man observed.

Edna St. Vincent Millay burst on the literary landscape in the 1930s with “Renascence,” which contains these lines: “The world stands out on either side No wider than the heart is wide.” I’d add the eye that opens and the body that may have been misread. At least that’s how it’s coming to seem to me.

Note: “Early Sky” can be found in my photostream at Flickr.com.