Some things I wish would happen again, but that never will:
Clipping onto the lifeline on Stella Blue and reefing the main in a blinding storm.
On a calmer day, trimming the sails perfectly and riding at the bow, pretending not to have a care in the world.
Leaning hard into a mountain turn on the Harley, then hitting 110 on a two-lane straightaway.
Getting another piece of art into the Virginia Artist Biennial at the Virginia Museum.
Holding a loving woman in my arms.
Believing that I would leave behind something that has value and meaning.
There are more, but why be boring?
One thing that WILL happen:
Outliving Hannah by 3 days, so she won’t always look for me and wonder why I left her.
With the rare exception of an occasional cigar, I’ve been a lifelong non-smoker. After my recent near heart attack experience and subsequent stent implants, I decided to quit them altogether. Not a difficult thing, since I only smoked one every few months. Then yesterday my doc called regarding the results of a test last week that revealed 80% blockage in a carotid artery. So now I have an upcoming appointment with a vascular surgeon, and am thinking WTF difference does it make?
I’m 65 years old, and there is going to be no reversal in my body’s inexorable descent into entropy. I’m not happy about it. I’ve always been pretty thankful for my good health. Had a few accidents over the years, which I figure don’t count. Even after prostate cancer and surgery in 2001 I’ve considered myself generally healthy, at least physically. I did fall into a pretty nasty situational depression after the heart thingy, but had been feeling better for the last week or so.
Now I’m mad. Walking around the house slamming doors and drawers. Thinking WTF a lot. I don’t want to slip down this long dead end road millimeter by millimeter. Death from a heart attack is one thing. I can deal with that. The prospect of a debilitating stroke is another thing altogether. And wondering what might be next, and when, is yet another. Yep, I’m mad.
I thank the universe for my sweet little anchor to this world, Hannah the Beagle. It’s probably an unfair burden to place upon her, but I doubt she’s aware of it.
More to the point, the country will never again change the way it did during the two great protest eras of my lifetime, the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War protests. In both cases, there were huge constituencies who were willing to assemble, march, fight, disrupt, and even die for what they believed in. Governments became terrified. Presidents declined to run for second terms, or resorted to outright criminality in desperation. The silence of the Silent Majorities grew deafening. Change happened.
Nothing of the sort will ever happen again, as long as we all remain fractionalized and absorbed in our own individual causes, no matter how just, or how fervently we believe.
I scroll through Facebook and I see folks whose personal crusades include dog rescue, Monsanto and GMOs, health care reform, animal rights, Tea Party outrages, fracking, tar mining, global warming, the environment in general, media bias, poverty-level wages, NSA abuses, Wall Street excesses, and plenty more. Good causes all, and deserving of our awareness and attention, and also deserving of our individual efforts. My friends who work passionately and tirelessly for dog rescues are a good example of good people making a difference.
My point, though, is that to expect any meaningful change to come about as a result of “good government” is to have our collective heads stuck firmly in the sand. There’s too much money arrayed against most of these “causes”, unless we are finally able to create and mobilize a collective resistance. How long would the practice of fracking for natural gas persist if half a million people marched against it in DC once a month, hounded every politician mercilessly, and every city in the country experienced impassioned demonstrations against it continuously?
I “demonstrated” at my congressman’s office during the government shutdown. There were fewer than 10 of us. One man had a sign favoring statehood for Palestine, one had a sign stating exactly which government programs he was in favor of keeping shut down while opening the rest, and one gentleman my age, who should have known better, spent all his time exhorting us not to cause a disturbance or block the sidewalk. I SO badly wanted to explain to him we were not there for a fucking play date.
Why the photograph? Because it’s depressing, and that’s exactly how I’m feeling right now.
I’ve been having something of a hard time adjusting.
It’s not that I feel like I need a heart, like the Tin Man did. They told me at the hospital my heart is quite strong. The problem was just the blocked arteries. And they are all repaired and good to go.
It’s not that I’m afraid of death. I’ve looked at it square in the mirror, and come to an agreement with it.
I don’t think it’s the residual pain I have. Oddly, I feel much better while walking, yet worse while resting. Doc says it can take the heart awhile to “revascularize”. A fun new word to know.
I don’t even think it’s the new “heart healthy” diet I am supposed to be adhering to, although I secretly think death might be the better option of the two. We southern boys NEED grease and fat in our food.
Obviously it’s hard to “adjust” when one doesn’t even know what one is adjusting to. Fortunately I’m seeing my therapist tomorrow. She’s pretty good at sorting out this kind of thing.
I did, right into Room 758 at Roanoke Memorial Hospital last Thursday. At the advice of a good friend who is a nurse, I had mentioned to my PCP that for the last few months when hiking, riding my bicycle or even just walking around town I’d occasionally experienced chest tightness and some pain that radiated into my shoulders and down my arms. He sent me to a cardiologist, who booked me for a stress test for Thursday. When I went in I was told he’d read it the next day and I would probably hear from him today (Monday). Instead, amid lots of talk about “highly unusual results” and spritzes of nitroglycerin under my tongue I was loaded onto a gurney, shoved into a transport vehicle and driven a whopping two blocks to the hospital, despite all my protestations that I could simply walk over there.
It took 24 hours to get an opening to have an angiogram done, which showed 95% blockage in two arteries, which resulted in the immediate implant of two stents. This was followed by 24 hours of intense monitoring, the scope of which probably only Edward Snowden could comprehend, and then I came home.
Only afterward was I told, in stark layman’s terms, that my stress test was “downright scary” and that blood work done immediately afterward indicated I might have possibly even had a very minor heart attack, or come close to it, during the stress test.
I still say I could have walked to the hospital, though.
If anyone out there is contemplating or facing a similar procedure and wants some first-hand knowledge of what it’s like, just FB me and I’ll be happy to provide details.
Here they come again, peeking not so tentatively over a once pristine hillside. They follow the guardrails of the nation, and will only stop when they get to them, because there is nothing to eat after that except asphalt.
I want to take an enormous can of spray paint (well, realistically a whole bunch of regular cans of spray paint), paint a line around every single thing that’s ever been built, and say “OK, that’s it. That’s enough. We have all we need, in fact we already have more ‘things’ than the planet can tolerate and support. No more. Period.”
We need to start subtracting, making smaller our collective footprint. Somehow, some way, we need to get back to that place where living creatures existed in harmony with the Earth and one another, instead of continuously taking and destroying.
It’s a simple enough concept, as we or our children are about to discover.
This is from a FB post. It’s a perfect example of someone ignoring basic facts about how the government works, and instead parroting her puppeteers on the extremist fanatical right.
Ruth Ann Ferguson
I’m laughing at Obama and the libs right now. They put up cones to block cars from driving by MtRushmore. They succeeded for about 12 hours. But two things. First it is a state road they are blocking. Blocking access to homes for people. The governor made them remove them. Then God did something we all need to do. He had a storm hit the black hills A blizzard that dropped up to 3 feet of snow. It is still snowing tonight. It is supposed to be 60 on sunday. Go figure. Anyway – lol- the cones had to be moved for snow plows too. Besides that the folks out there are not going to tolerate the idiots running their lives. Just like Obama tried to block folks from Mt. Vernon. It is totally private and funded privately. Didn’t stop dumbama from ordering those roads closed too until they were informed they were trespassing. LOL Love it Love it. I am ready when any one else is to head to Washington and let those fools know what we think and that we support the republicans in fighting for our freedoms and not let Obama murder our country and our rights.