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Saturday, September 24, 2005

Through the night, softly

I have been helping my two youngest (twenty-two and twenty, if you must know) to move into their new quarters, not far from where I work, and going to meetings, and am exhausted. last month at this time, I was in very bad shape, and the doctor said things would not be back to normal for six weeks. Based on when he said that, I have four weeks to go.

So I sleep a lot.

At work, I go off and sleep for half an hour on a couch in the staff lounge (with the boss's encouragement, of course).

At home, I fall asleep around six or seven and wake up around ten, do some email, and try to go back to sleep, which can take until one o'clock in the morning.

This may be a goofy way to recuperate, but it seems unavoidable. I just drop off, in a chair or wherever, and when I come around it feels like it's been forty-eight hours, and I have trouble getting up onto my feet.

I'm also running into things and have nasty-looking bruises hither and yon.

Then there are the dreams. I'm having lots of them, in sepia or Technicolor; I wonder if it is a residual from the infection, which did reach toward the brain at one point.

I only remember one. In it, I was visiting an Army barracks (!!!), and the sleeping area was not bunks but raised platforms, as in Inuit houses or in a Zendo, where everyone slept side-by-side. I was berthed next to a tall (and wide), radiantly charismatic sergeant, who talked to me through the night, softly, about his life and times, leaning on his elbow. I lay on my back with my head turned toward him, and felt this tingling all through my body, expectation and happiness mixed, with a seasoning of dread. He leaned toward me --

No, I don't know. I woke up, okay???

:::

I went to the counselor and he says it is time to find the second counselor for the surgery letter. Yippee!

Back out on the street, still beaming, I was accosted by a driver who was eight blocks out of place, looking for directions (a lady of course -- a guy would just circle around right? -- but enough stereotyping).

"Ma'am ... can you help me?"

I could! I love conversations like that.

:::

This morning I was stressed because I had to drop off a carload of stuff for PFLAG's entry in the Eugene Celebration parade, then go to work (it's Saturday -- shortage of student workers at the beginning of the school year).

And the first patron was an older gent who needed to see some maps, which is ordinarily a little more reference than I feel up to right now.

But his request was easily filled, and then he stayed to chat ... and he turned out to be really interesting.

He lived in Alaska for awhile, and his house there, which he built, was damaged by an earthquake. He left the military in the sixties, and has pursued his own way ever since.

His own way, it turned out, was large format nature and portrait photography, as well as oils and pastels.

"What I like to do, is get a commission to do a portrait, and I spend some time letting them get to know me, so that they feel safe and supported to be themselves for the shoot -- so that it's for them, not for others.

"Sometimes I will do a photograph of water running over round stones, or the light just so in a tree, and make a poster of it, and just put it up in public somewhere and sort of watch to see when it disappears. I like to think that has made someone's day."

We compared notes on post-and-beam housing construction techniques, which I have also used, and springhouse construction and maintenance. A half hour well spent.

-- risa b

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