The ability to toss ones life forward and have it return remnants of a love put on hold.
|My eyes open painfully against thick lids irritated by morning light, contractor grade beige paint and false lashes which may or may not remain in place. Vanity causes me to feel my way into the thatch of K-mart lashes and decide the morning has started out well enough. A mirage greets me as a familiar image begins to take shape sitting with his back against the big oak head board. I hear the sipping of tea and make out the familiar sight of the Iphone. The world has been dialed in and I feel completely disinterested. Sleep has always been my drug of choice. Dreams the sought after high and thrill which tempt me with the inexplicable sense of a perfect chaos. Most mornings I am able to choose that perfect escape for an additional two hours. Today is not going to be one of those days.
My mind begins to pull pertinent facts forward. My neck which unfortunately was broken some years back is aching as it was on my last check at 12:30 a.m. I will file it under can be managed. The tension headache is slight. Of course wishing it to be gone completely is the morning order. I hope that my body is in the mood to cooperate. Fatigue/ burn-out is the unmistakable sensation. Was it two or three hours on the conference call with our son's attorney, his R.N. and specialist from Kansas trying to decipher a medical emergency which has nothing to do with hospitalization of a family member. As the matter is of the utmost privacy I can only trust we have brought all our artillery and we can believe in a fair outcome.
Setting aside this latest life challenge I march to the coffee pot and am rewarded with just enough cold old coffee to prepare my iced, half-caf cinnamon, tumeric and vanilla 8 ounce reason for facing the first fifteen minutes of my day. My relationship with caffeine began in earnest during my 30th year. Two catastrophic accidents marred a celebration I intended to have marking the first third of my life without any serious incidents. Due to a major skull fracture to accompany my broken neck caffeine proved to be the only drug on earth that could bring down a headache I had endured for almost a solid year. Sensitivity and red hair often go hand in hand and after a brief dance with the sensation of caffeine and internal/external quaking. I found a nice kick mixing a bit of decaf with the real deal. After a couple of strong pulls through my straw I am present and can be accounted for.
My view is still unfamiliar to me. I am living in a nearly new home in a sub-division in Atlanta, Georgia. Beautiful hardwood floors and modern cozy furnishings surround me. My personal touches are obvious as whimsical colorful glassware, photo's and house plants are placed in perfect symmetry to enhance what was already here. Influencing the interior of our home came together with ease. The exterior I have for the first time in my life given up on. Not our beautiful fenced yard with outdoor fireplace, covered deck and fountain but the immense expansion of a city inhabited by six million people. In the day to day experience I am a middle aged woman driving a Mercedes while running an occasional errand. My companions for the day are a mini-dachsund and rescued silky terrier. Buddy and Dexter are happy for my company as I am for theirs. Aging as am I, not every activity is taken for granted. Accidents occasionally occur, begging for food was well ingrained before I recently arrived and being carried upstairs and down has now become a necessity for Buddy our little dachsund. We live and breathe for one reason.....our deep and unbreakable love for the man of the house.
Reflection is a word that carries little weight in our youth. Having been blessed with grandparents I can remember watching them sit quietly sensing that our experience together carried such value. I never understood how my presence could bring them such happiness.
My earliest memories were of incredible wilderness and beauty that robbed you of words to describe. I was conceived at a beach party in 1956 in Ft. Bragg California. My athletic tomboy mother had fallen madly in love with a new boy who had just moved to town. Carolyn Brown at the age of 15 had unknowingly become a mother and Joe Haggard at the age of 17 would soon become my father. This news was not greeted with great enthusiasm by my mother's parents. Several weddings later my mother was living in my father's home and had managed to make peace with her parents.
My father claimed to feel the need to have a large family. For some reason my mother never spoke up and finally after having seven in 10 years her body began to protest and steps were taken to put an end the to endless parade of babies every few years.
We were raised at two CDF forestry stations in the small communities of Laytonville and Covelo. My father was often away during the long hot summers fighting the endless forest fires that accompany the lightening strikes and errant campers which make the news and clean up the understory in this magnificent corner of the world. My world was made of summer fire crews sometimes to include convicts. Visits from Smoky the Bear and freedom to roam the mountains behind our single wide trailer a short distance from the CDF station.
I would swear that I could eat cereal for breakfast, dress and head out the door alone to wander the trails and creeks and wilderness without fear of any possible tragedy that might even remotely come my way. My memories flash images of drinking from creeks, sitting to watch salamanders slowly swim in the deeper holes sometimes climbing out to travel into the shadows of the redwood forests. I would often lean my back up against a large redwood and sense the quiet dignity and strength that pulsed through the old giants swaying in the afternoon breezes. How I wandered freely and safely alone never was questioned. There was a standing order to be home at lunch and dinner on weekends. During the school years afternoons allowed brief activities that did not allow me to stray far.
We had little in the form of communication. A party line which we were forbidden to listen to. Occasional disputes arose when a chatty person had to be reminded that there time was up. An old black and white TV that required tin foil and directional changes from the old antennae some how attached to our trailer. My father exasperated when one or both of the two channels was fuzzy and distorted.
We were often carted off to my mom's mothers home as another baby was on the way. My grandmother was a beautiful woman who had survived the death of her first husband and raising their two children only to remarry my grandfather and add two more. He had children of his own and their blended family was not on the order of the TV families popular at the time. For reasons unknown to me my grandmother suffered bouts of depressions and institutionalizing after bouts of shock therapy. I never knew this woman only the pretty grandmother with beautiful white hair in a messy bun and a smile that lit up a room. She was also a major hoarder so visits with her brought certain situations that we accepted as normal. We followed the path through her home, slept on the chesterfield as she referred to her couches and ate on TV trays. She showered us with love, chicken noodle soup, bakery bread and Neapolitan ice cream. I wished to live with her forever!