I was flanked for a time by the Blue Knights Motorcycle Club.
I pushed my Forester of a Certain Age to 85 and kept pace with them for a moment and,
just at the instant that, their lined faces beautiful and suddenly young again with delight,
they roared ahead to fade into the dusk,
the moon, just one night shy of full,
made its twilight shift from transparent ghost to glowing pearl
and the fireflies as if to answer turned on their luminescent show and,
at least for those last few minutes driving home through the sparking dark,
I knew myself no more and no less than a letter in a syllable in a haiku
written in the language that is spoken by the World.
A week from today, I will be in India!
It is interesting to watch people who have not met mom since the stroke or who - like my aunt - process her condition. Before you see mom, you have to find her in the nursing home. You enter through a main lobby and then walk through a couple of halls. You will pass people - staff and residents - some there temporarily doing physical therapy and others who are long term residents like my mom.
A nursing home, however hard the staff tries to make it nice - is more a hospital than a home. It's just the way it is. The very first impression that most people have is one of scent - the smell of industrial strength cleaners, perhaps cooking smells from the kitchen and the inevitable and unpredictable odors that attend people who, for a myriad of reasons, find themselves living there. This is very, very hard for most people to adjust to because it strikes them on a very visceral level. In many, many people it actually triggers a flight response. You may have to force yourself to continue deeper into the nursing home. It may not be easy.
Tonight there will be a Super Full Moon. Hope that the sky is clear so that I can see it. :)
16 ounces fresh button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced thickly
1 can of black beans, rinsed
1 can of Manwich Bold Sauce
1/2 cup of cooked rice
Butter, and do not stint on it, my good man
Fry the mushroom slices in a large skillet over a medium high heat in a few tablespoons of butter. If you are in a patient mood, fry them in batches so that they are not crowded in the skillet. If you can let them get a little crispy it is most delicious. ( If, however, you have had a long day and need to eat ASAP, then just dump them in, swish them around until they look cooked and hope for the best.)
Spread the cooked mushrooms on a large plate so that the steam they release does not make them wet and mushy. Put black beans and rice in skillet and heat through. (If you are tired, just dump the beans on the top of the mushrooms.)
Add the can of Manwich sauce and reduce heat to low. (Or, not so low if you don't plan on wandering off and getting distracted by a TV show.) Simmer till the sauce is thickened, stirring gently to ensure that it isn't sticking and burning.
Serve on a nice Kaiser roll. (Or whatever bread you have lurking around.)
Here is the nutrition info for the whole batch. (You will have to adjust the fat content for however much butter you decide to use to fry the mushrooms and the carb/fiber content for whatever bread item you put it on.)
1,018 0g 0mg 6,704mg 198g 79g 21g 24g
If I were suddenly granted immortality, I think that I would spend part of my never ending days learning all the living languages of the world.
When I read haiku and tanka, I think the same thing...wondering what subtleties and entendres I am missing, for haiku, so exquisitely brief, exist, when they are very good, on several levels - dimensions - at the same time. A poem about morning glories twining up an old well may also be about the desolation of losing a young child. A butterfly resting on a flower pot is just that, but also may be a summation of the very nature of Buddha. A decrepit hut with shadowy, unswept spider filled corners is, again, just that, but also the literary avatar for the poet himself.
It is part of the charm of haiku that they exist with so many facets and depths, offering one gift for the casual reader, one for the scholar and another for the poet.
May all the every day cloudy things that happen to us have slashes of silver woven through them and may we have our eyes open that moment when they catch the light and shine.
knows her way around
is going around
And so she does.
Always looking for a door
or better yet
She's ready to go home
And the nurse says
the next day.
She's been there seven years.
She tells me she is glad to meet me
asks if I know who she is.
and shake my head
and let her say
My mother's stroke in December made her world contract to first the inside of a hospital room then the inside of a nursing home. So much of what she was before was swept away by the damage that the stroke left in its wake and by my step-father's death shortly afterwards. And she is left now to piece herself back together as best she can with the scattered and broken bits left behind.
Nobody can tell us what will happen next. The speech therapist has said that she may never regain her speech. The physical therapist said that she may never regain full use of her right side. The doctors say that she may have another stroke. Or another heart attack. Or another fall. But, all of these experienced and caring professionals also say that they really do not know.
Since her memory can be foggy and time seems to flow differently for her now, she lives very much in the moment. This is both a gift and a curse. It is easy for her to concentrate on the NOW, but it's also very hard for her to look backwards and see how far she has come since the stroke. She gets discouraged sometimes seeing how far she still has to go in the recovery journey. So, I find that I have become the chronicler of her life. I tell her the story of her life from the stroke on. I remind her of where she started. I tell her the story of how when I first saw her a day and a half after the stroke, she couldn't swallow. Of how for months, she was virtually bed bound. Of how she couldn't sit up on her own without falling down. I map for her the path that, step by faltering step, she has traversed since that December night.
And, I remind her that I know who she is has not changed. She is still Nancy. Still my mom.
I am not blind to the change in her circumstance, of course. Her physical therapist counts her progress in steps. Three steps with much assistance after the broken hip. Fifteen steps with minimal assistance weeks later. And, when I was able to observe therapy the other day, twenty-one steps and that after the therapist asked her if she wanted to stop at fifteen. She kept going. She wanted me to see that she was working hard and did six more steps than the day before. And I could see it. I saw that every step she took was bitterly hard, bitterly painful and I saw her take them anyway. The determination shone through the exhaustion and pain etched on her face. Yes, I thought. You are still you. You are still you.