Walking. Walking it down the cheek.

tear-cheek

1:32 am.

Halldór’s nightlessness and insomnia in all directions.

A new routine, and I’ve grooved it. To bed early, wake early, read to exhaustion, and back to sleep until sunrise.

I flick on the iPad, illuminating the dark. I get after it. The Journal. The Times. Apple News. Blog posts. RSS feeds in Feedly. A few late night incoming emails. And then to dessert, a chapter or two on Kindle, half-way through Lebedev’s Oblivion.  It’s 3:15 am, I’m turning pages on a title called Oblivion, now that’s something. You must sleep, or you will pay dearly.

I set the e-gear down, turn on the left side, and pull up the covers. Fragments of news, pages, posts, emails and today’s full day calendar are flitting by, churning, the mind workin’, workin’. Anxiety…A piece rises to the top. Begley: “A compulsion is at once psychological balm and curse, surface madness and profound relief…The ability of compulsive behaviors to quiet anxieties great and small is one of the greatest gifts our brains can give us.”

I pause, close my eyes, and marinate in this…if this is the greatest gift our brains can give us, I am fully gifted, fully loaded. FULL UP.

And, then, it stopped. The churning stopped. [Read more…]

Muro 128

rodney-smith-book-ready-upside-down

I’m freakish about putting anything near my eyes (and anything touching my Adam’s Apple like a turtle neck – I tug and tug and tug at it to Free Willy. Get it off! Get it off!  Or the mouth guards dentists use to take impressions of my teeth and the chalky putty sliding down my throat, the eyes tearing, the gagging reflex, the choking, God, help me…Jesus that escalated quickly.)

It has become a necessary ritual to solve the eye-thing: Recurrent Corneal Erosion triggered by the back story here: I need to read.

The right hand grabs the 2.5 inch tube of Muro 128 5% Sodium Chloride Ophthalmic Ointment. I’ve made the switch from the cheaper generic. Raisin Bran maybe, but generics with eye lube? Saving a few bucks on chemicals you’re pouring into your eye balls, really? Are you nuts?

I think about why it’s Muro 128 and not 130 or 100 as I squeeze the salve in the lower lid. The hands tremble like an addict. I need this. I really need this. What I need is, to pay attention to the trembling hands inadvertently driving the aluminum tip of the tube through the eyeball into my brain.

One dab in each eye before bed time.

I pause, the chemicals coat the eye balls, the world goes blurry, I feel my way to bed. [Read more…]

I feel like a minuscule upstart in their presence.

yellow-cedar-tree

Studies of coastal forests like this one reveal that exposure to wind is what most determines the age of trees. Whereas spruce trees in vulnerable stands live an average of two hundred years, those in sheltered, fertile areas like the Deer Meadow valley can live eight or nine hundred years. Yellow cedars, which are better able to resist wind, commonly survive for a thousand years. […]

Only a few raindrops and oversized snowflakes sift through the crown of trees as a squall passes over.  I’m grateful for the shelter, and I sense a deeper kind of comfort here.  These are living things I move among, immeasurably older and larger and more deeply affixed to their place on earth than I am, and imbued with vast experience of a kind entirely beyond my comprehension. I feel like a minuscule upstart in their presence, a supplicant awaiting the quiet counsel of venerable trees.

~ Richard Nelson, The Island Within


Notes:

  • Photograph of 800 year Yellow Cedar Tree in Cypress Provincial Park in British Columbia: Mick
  • Related Posts on Live & Learn: Richard Nelson

There’s the eagle’s world, and there is mine. Let’s Fly.

eagle-close-up-eyes-beak

As I watch the eagle rise above the bay, I let myself drift out beyond an edge, as though I were moving across the edge of sleep…I am filled with the same disdainful surge that releases him from his perch, feel the strain of air trapped in the hollows of his wings…The eagle sweeps away in great, lazy arcs, drifts against the corniced peaks, and soars up toward the smooth layer of cloud…At three thousand feet, the feathered sails flex and shake against a torrent of wind…I can feel the lash of gusts as the eagle planes above the mountain, gaze through his eyes at the fissured, snow-laden peak, and share the craving that draws him more deeply into the island’s loneliness…I have flown, however artificially, and have looked down over the island and the strait. But I can never know what the eagle sees with those blazing eyes, what are the shapes of mountains and shores amid the maze of detail that leaps into his brain.

There is the eagle’s world, and there is mine, sealed beyond reach within our selves. But despite these insuperable differences, we are also one, caught in the same fixed gaze that contains us. We see the earth differently, but we see the same earth. We breathe the same air and feel the same wind, drink the same water and eat the same meat. We share common membership in the same community and are subject to the same absolutes. In this sense, the way we receive what surrounds us is irrelevant: I have the eagle’s eyes and the eagle has mine.

~ Richard Nelson, The Island Within

Notes:

Every stub. Every whisker. Every mole. Every freckle. Every eyelash.

bald eagle

The bird cranes his head down to watch me, so the plumage on his neck fluffs out. HIs head is narrow, pinched, tightly feathered; his eyes are silver-gold, astringent, and stare forward along the curved scythe of his beak. Burned into each eye is a constricted black pupil, like the tightly strung arrow of a crossbow aimed straight toward me. What does the eagle see when he looks at me, this bird who can spot a herring’s flash in the water a quarter-mile away? I suppose every stub of whisker on my face, every mole and freckle, every eyelash, the pink flesh on my eyelid, the red network of vessels on the white of my eye, the radiating colors of my iris, his own reflection on my pupil, or beneath this reflection, his inverted image on my retina. I see only the eagle’s eye, but wonder if he sees down inside mine. Or inside me perhaps.

~ Richard Nelson, The Island Within

Photograph: Fairy-Wren

No more tears. Here’s to good outcomes.

tear-drop

It’s a ritual before bedtime.
Nightly.
Now running for 14 months.

I stand in front of the bathroom mirror.
Take a deep breath.
Raise my left hand to pull down the lower left lid,
Raise my right hand to apply a thin stream of the prophylactic.
And if I had a third hand (and was a Believer),
I would make the sign of the cross, look to the heavens, and whisper:
Work your magic. Please.

Sodium Chloride Ophthalmic Ointment.
Generic Brand.
40% cheaper than the Name brand.
Found and bought on Amazon.
Produced in Lake Forest, Illinois by some unknown bucket shop.
You are one strange dude. You don’t think twice about the risk of a no-name eyeball lube bought on the web but refuse to buy generic Raisin Bran cereal at your local Stop ‘n Shop.

Apply every 3 to 4 hours, or as directed by Doctor.
Ophthalmologist’s instructions were nightly. And nightly it is.
For temporary relief of corneal edema.
edema: the collection of excess of watery fluid.

But that’s not the real pain point.
Which is… [Read more…]

Damn well need to see

blue eye

One year ago, almost to the day, my post was titled “I Need to Read.”

Six months ago, my post was titled “See.”

The immediate thought was that the cycle was shortening, and the pain was increasing. (What happens at three months? Could this be the reason for the frequency of your posts increasing? Shudder.)

But, we’re not going there.

Rachel (daughter) prodded me to share my story about my visit to the ophthalmologist on Monday.  Love my girl.  She loves to see her big, tough Daddy in vulnerable positions. (Her Dad, meanwhile, wonders what possesses him to reveal “these” stories on social media.) [Read more…]

Three Drops*

dry eyes, eyes,

Three drops.*
Fall asleep wondering if this is the solve. (Please.)
Amygdala firing up on ailment. (See.)
Doc said there may be issues later in life because of trauma. (Has it arrived?)
One month of angst. (Eradicated. With three drops.)
One could ask why did you wait so long. (Or, one could avoid asking.)
And one wouldn’t have a good answer.


* Disclosure:  Turn your eyelids inside out? Heresy.  Wear contacts? Nothing touches my eyes.  LASIK surgery to correct nearsightedness?  Don’t come near me with your surgery solution.  Apply your own eyedrops?  Can’t do it.  Keep eye open so drops can be applied for you?  Impossible.  Squeal like a baby when drop splashes on eye?  Absolutely.


Image Source: LetsBeConnor

See

eye blinking gif

Start your day with anxiety. First thing. Every morning for last month. Sharp pain for 75 seconds.  Then poof. Gone.  Until the next morning.  I google it.  Up pops Just Answer. Eye with a customer question describing the identical experience:

I wake up every morning with a sharp pain in what I believe is my optic nerve. The pain is so bad that it sometimes makes my eye water when I try to open it wide. It is also painful to press on my eye when closed.  The pain is always in my left eye and there are some days that I wake up without pain. My eye does not seem to be more red or bloodshot than normal. The pain does subside as the day goes on and I haven’t experienced any vision problems.

I quickly close my eye and pain subsides. Water fills the vacuum.  (The human body is.  All on its own. Repairing.  Soothing. A miracle.)

I open and close several times. Blinking.   (The body is a miracle.  The mind, my mind, on the other hand, can be a torture chamber.  I need to see.  I need to read. Heart begins to race. Relax pal.  Just Answer Doc said it’s just dry eyes.  Yes, that was the first line.  And the rest? What about the rest?  This will right itself by itself.)

What if?

Mind quickly shifts gears to Sunday’s paper.

You are four years old.  You run to answer the door bell.  Life from that moment on changes. For you.  For your family. Forever.

Josh Miel, you define courage.  You define perseverance.  You are an inspiration.

(On the other hand, you pal, have dry eyes.)

[Read more…]

I need to read…

eye blinking - human - cat

It happened in a blink of an eye.  More than 25 years ago.  My collegiate hockey career, for what it was, was long behind me.  This was a pick-up game.  A lazy Saturday afternoon.  I should have been watching the Michigan Wolverines on the tube.  Yet, if you know a hockey player, you can’t take the game out of the player. (If one could only roll the tape back and bend the story a wee bit.)

It begins and ends with coolness – Real Men don’t wear face masks. Right.

I could hear the defender chasing me from behind – his skate blades cutting the ice. (Swoosh right.  Swoosh left. Swoosh right.  Swoosh left.  All moving in slow motion now.)  He was closing in.

I went down.  Fellow player, Doc Lovell, bent over and  said “Lay still Dave.”  I shouted back: “WIPE THE SWEAT FROM MY EYES, DOC.”

[Read more…]

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