Monday, January 5, 2015

Rod's Reflections for January 2015

As 2014 faded, I debated continuing the collection of posts made through the year(s) in what is known as "Facebook Quotes for 2011, 2012, 2013 and of course each respective month of the year 2014."   For those of you that follow my blog, this was nothing more than thoughts and reflections I shared on my facebook wall in ordinary writing.  I would then copy and paste them to my blog of Short Stories where so often I would add to and edit, with the help of a friend, the final content.  As the months passed, I realized that I was beginning to post more and more directly to my blog than to copy from my facebook wall. Thus I felt prompted to make an appropriate title change.   Rod's Ramblings, Rod's Reflections and my choice of title, Rod's Cogitative Prose for January 2015 were tossed about amongst a thrice of favored friends and I lost.  Should have called it Rod's Regurgitations and left it at that!  As the positioning among friends evolved, I began to realize that "reflections" really reverberated in my senses, so I surrendered "more technical" for "simplicity."  I still liked it though!  Cogitation: The ability to think and reflect!  Prose: Not poetry but ordinary writing.  Both words seemed to play off one another as I do think and reflect at my river's edge.  From those dawning thoughts, I write it down in ordinary words.   So, here we are as 2015 begins.  Hope you stay with me?


          First work day of 2015! My River greets me with her cold, yet beautiful self as a 22° chill factor embraces me as I sit on her shoulders. The full moon positions herself through the lift spans of my draw bridge as I watch her race to her disappearance in the west, southwest sky for the 31st time since I started counting. I smile as I remember the wise old Indian telling a cowboy of an event that occurred "'many moons ago." It was some black and white western I grew up with as a boy, Roy Rogers, King of the Cowboys, or Gene Autry, the Singing Cowboy! Who knows. It was many moons ago and I still use that phrase to refer to a time long ago instead of a date! Regardless of who, what, when, or where, the faces we know in our life flash through our memories like a collage of graffiti. We speed by as these faces of thousands, so many closer that most, become imprinted in our minds that last a life time! Yup. Think about that one person you have known your entire life. The helpless face of an infant, their cute toothless years in the first couple of years of grade school? Think about it! We grow into puberty, high school, and then take possession of our generation's world. Faces, thousands more of other people blending with those that were more significant to us than were others. My face is but one of thousands in someone else's life! Anyway, I'm rambling now. My dawn breaks red in my rear view mirror and my moon is a perfect field goal sitting between my traffic bridge uprights as the dark night gives us yet another day. My 37 year old adopted son took an ambulance ride to the hospital early this morning as he awakened with another spell of angina pain. Heart disease? Imagine that. I must attend an 80 hour training school the next couple of weeks conducted by the sheriff's department to authorize me to babysit trustees that are so helpful in maintaining city facilities. And that collage of faces? Maybe, just maybe when you find more love in the memories than you do in the person standing before you or dancing in your mind, do you realize as surly as the many moons mark time in its passing, another face and their memories join the blur of those many others that will become a blur as we speed by. On the 31st of December, I closed my 2014 blog telling the readers there was peace in my heart for this coming year we just welcomed. Now, so soon into its infancy,there are small, defining challenges announcing themselves so I might prepare for my part in its resolution. But, my soul folkses, this is starting out to be a beautiful day! So glad your face is so vivid and real!

Posted January 5 from my River

          On this gray, wintry mix, 31° January morning, I find my river seems to be displaying a temperament. She is higher than usual because of the "water" dumped into her all along her borders. Excessively cold and running a little faster, I can sense an "attitude" of indifference and determination as if to re-establish a new normal. But still her journey knows the final destiny as she feeds into a greater power. Despite her perceived attitude, she is still functional for and accessible to those man made creations designed to advance civilization and set mankind apart from other life forms.   A piercing spotlight shatters the early morning dawn from a distant northeast bend in her local geography. My drawbridge raises to accommodate a string of approaching barges being pushed by the source of this light as the captain of the tow searches the span to acknowledge compliance for safe navigation.  What was moments before a depressing adjustment to the awakening day was instantly transformed into a beautiful sight bringing me back to the reality of that moment!  I smile knowing that an hour from now this moment will be forgotten until that time I discover once again, this moment reflected in the pages of my collected thoughts, weeks, months and years from this point in time.  

Posted January 9 from my River

          And on this day, I celebrated my 64th year of life.  It was, for the entire day, heavily overcast with a steady cold wind.  Most of January has been like this and the onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder is beginning to play that persistent chord of depression across one's mind as we are still not that distant from the Winter's Solstice.  I have defined throughout the first short story I wrote, "The Mockingbird... Why It Is So Real In My Life," the four seasons of a person's life.  For simplicity's sake, I correlated these life spanning years into Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.  These of course are 20 year seasons.  1 to 20 for the spring, 21 to 40 for the Summer and 41 to 60 for the fall?  That would leave 61 to 80 for the winter season of my life.  Anything beyond 80 is lagniappe, Okay?  So with this definition, I have two (2) more years to spend in the Winter/Spring of my life before moving into the winter/summer??  Truth is, we actually begin counting those years from the time we take our first breath at day one (1).  With this truth applied, the spring of my life was 20 complete years from birthday through 19 years of age.  Summer began at age 20 through 39, with fall being age 40 through 59.  You must understand that with every season one lives, there is another "season" following for you to undo and correct the mistakes or decisions you have made in your life.  Except for the Winter Season. That is the last one.  So under this obvious rule, if I/we/you are left to fulfill the remainder of our projected demise, then the first five years of that hopeful 20 year span, I will refer to as the winter/spring of my life which started at age 60. then 61, 62, 63 accented by todays 64th year.  This of course is the fifth (5) and final year for me to spend in the winter/spring of my life before moving into the winter/summer. I am truly hoping that when  I do reach that winter/winter season of my life, I still have my mental and physical abilities still intact.  Understand?  Good!  I can imagine at least one good friend, that if she is still reading at this point, is probably pulling her hair out by now!  Anyway, my health seems good, I exercise at a regular cadence, I take enough medicines that I could stabilize the Titanic, I've lost close to 90 pounds in the last two years and except for that scare with Bell's Palsy a year ago, there seems to be no immediate threat to my continued existence.   Those of us that have taken our parents place in the "we are next to die" natural order of things, also acknowledge our past.  We have come to accept  those real life lessons and mistakes where the paint was grossly smeared  on what we wanted to be that perfect canvas of our life.  Even with those times so deeply rooted in our memories,  time seems to correct those flaws that were so visible to the human eye and the judgments of mortals.  With that said, let me ask you.  Do you remember the Willie Nelson song, "Ain't It Funny How Time Slips Away?"  It is funny in an amazing, collective sort of way.  However, in our hearts,  that time gone is sad.  It is those wonderful memories and friendships that cushion the hurt of reality... and time still slips away...  My thanks to the many that remembered me on this day of celebration that is now yesterday past.  Your acknowledgement of my birthday strongly implies your acknowledgement to keep me as a part of your life for a while longer, yet to be defined.  I do like that and it makes me smile from the bottom of my heart as I look forward to yet another gift of life our God grants us, that we call today.

Posted January 13 from my late evening home

          It was one (1) year ago today that I had my unexpected introduction to Bell's Palsy.  I actually kept a blog of those events for a few weeks until it slipped from its bond of dominance over my life and I realized I was actually going to return to a sense of normalcy.  How do I define what level of recovery I have made?  I will say this.  Where I am today is more than acceptable compared to where I was this time last year.  If you have kept up with my blog, you will notice a normal progression back to who and what I once was.  If you could keep track of my mental adjustment, you might see I am back to where I was in some respects, before this "affliction" date.  But what really does that mean?  Everything is still in perfect orbit in universal tones, yet in the small timeframe we exist, sparing as intertwined interactions continue with those that structure my life into acceptable social harmonies.  In the far distance a beautiful Super Nova has acknowledged the end of time as another light fades in the star lit night skies leaving traces of stardust invisible,  somewhat similar to ashes poured from a golden urn into a running river.  Almost as if on queue,  a memorable comet high and visible in 71' and 72' appears in this millennium to do what comets do.  Appear just long enough to apologize for choices made only to disappear again for another 43 years.  I smiled acknowledging forgiveness, shaking my head at what possible travesty might have occurred in that unknown journey that made it focus its attention on me after so many years.  I pray that this brief digital exchange was consolation enough as again that slingshot affect spins the memories of that encounter into another dimension that will exist through natural death.  I am satisfied that peace was resolved after so many years.   As I regain focus of these last 365 days, looking at what gains were accomplished, I count my loss insignificant as my only regret is a simple dysfunction of vocal cord synchronization.  I cannot sing like I once did.  That is the noticeable difference between before that event and now, one (1) year later.  So, am I say, 98 or 99% back to where I was?  Again what you might perceive, let us acknowledge, maybe 99 or 100%.  But knowing what is gone, what I once knew and now know that I cannot use again, maybe I am at that 50% recovery.  Regardless, trust me, this is far better than the unknown I was wrestling with in my mind while sitting in the emergency room of Cabrini Hospital this time last year.  Now, if I could stop time and exist for a life time in that perfect moment, where oh where would I stop time.  Or would I?  What song will be music to my ears when the Gates of tomorrow's Dawn breaks?  Maybe that would be the time to spend the rest of my life in, if I could stop time.

Posted January 25 from my late afternoon home.

          Yes, I am aware this photo is very similar to my profile picture. But, if the lens of an iPhone camera could only capture what my eyes behold on some mornings, you would understand. I wrote on my blog last evening I was anticipating another display as the Gates of a Dawning day pushes the dark night to the other side of the world. The dark red hues that are becoming visible under my high speed traffic bridge helps frame the deciduous wood line against the rivers cold surface. If I could stop time, maybe it is here for a while I would stay. Wait? I did stop time in a simple digital print! Surely a song will rise to help navigate my participation in the unknown events of the coming day.  A Shreveport friend suggested Morning Has Broken, by Cat Stevens.  Within 15 minutes, Pandora shares one of my all time favorites, Fields of Gold, by Sting.  Both songs seemed to work as I drifted back where times past comes alive in a frozen picture.

Posted January 26 from my early morning river

          Let me see now.  Where was I this time last year on this day?  That telephone call that reminded me it was my generations turn to say goodbye to each other.  My oldest sibling, Diane Ferguson Panzico Coleman, passed away at 12:15 or so on this day.  It was not an unexpected passing, but a passing still the same.  She is where nothing can ever take her away from us again.  That is where I was on this day of last year.  Reflecting back, I reached out to my sister's beautiful daughters and sent them this message:
          Wanted to let all three of you know that you are in my mind, heart and prayers today. My how time passes! Has it really been a year? Realize where we hold her now, she will never leave us again. And the beautiful thing for me is I see her still in all three of you, especially your children. Cindy? Lori? LeeAnn? I truly love all three of you.

          There was snow that day.  I had to polish a short story about her I had written years before that she wanted read as an Eulogy at her funeral.  Then as I checked back on my facebook wall, my three nieces left their response(s):

Cindy Panzico Linstrom:  Thank you, Uncle Rod. That means a lot to me. I love you dearly :)!
Lori Panzico Smith:  Thank you, Uncle Rod ! My heart is heavy too ! I can't believe it's been a year either. I so miss her ! I love you !
LeeAnn Panzico Shows:   Thank you so much Uncle Rod!! I went to bed with her heavy on my heart, woke in the night thinking about her, and first thing this morning:) Happy and sad tears:) Although more happy, because I can only imagine how this past year has been for her :) :) :)
          So you see, my sister is where nothing can ever take her away from us again!  Her memory is forever etched in the hearts and minds of those she loved!  As will your memory remain in the hearts and minds of those you loved.  I contemplate my remaining years and wonder about my legacy and how I might be remembered?  Maybe we all do as we stoke the warm fires of our winter months and years.  I downloaded a beautiful saying off someone's facebook wall that resonated so well within my head.  I may post it on here if I can find it, but I certainly can remember what it said. 
                                                                "Nobody can go back
                                                            and start a new beginning,
                                                            but anyone can start today
                                                            and make a new ending."
And with the known mistakes every one of us have made in this life as we pass through, no words could ever be truer.  We simply cannot erase the mistakes we have made.  It does not matter if they were acts of coincidence, accidents,  or a deliberate act of hatefulness against another.  Oh Dear Lord, how I wish I could make right with so many, some of the things I have said and done.  But I can't with some as they have now departed and with others I know not where to seek them.  So if the opportunity for asking their forgiveness never presents itself,  I truly pray that for their sake they desire the same resolve for peace of mind in their hearts as do I!  We all need to find in the depths of our souls just how to resolve our past failures and chose that day to start that new ending for that final door we pass through.  I love you, Diane.  See you soon.  
Posted January 28.