I didn’t really feel the scope much. It was a tiny tube and there were expert hands guiding it. The camera transferred the images to a screen in the doctor’s view and to one on the other side of the room where I could watch.
There is always something fascinating about health care, especially when you get objective data. The pictures on the screen wouldn’t lie . . .
It’s been five years now since I “retired.” My career ended a bit more abruptly than I had planned, but silver linings – always look for those silver linings. It was the beginning of another re-birth. A transformation. Another recreation of identity. And part of this one meant losing one or two altogether.
I can’t say what all has evolved in this time. I’ve hit the road, again, and I absolutely love it. I tried to transmit the amazing images I was seeing through words on this blog. Oil painting with words I call it. Some were enjoyed, a few stolen.
But conversation? Where was that part of intimacy? Of looking someone else in the eyes and speaking of the Great Mysteries of Life?
Well, what happened was there was simply fewer and fewer people to actually talk to. No longer were there work associates beating their way through my office door. No longer did I have the combined friendships of my ex and I, as they had simply slipped away as that half of me died. I had switched careers and many of those former connections had long been lost. Some colleagues have passed on from this physical existence. And to top it all off, I had physically moved to nowhere land, when I wasn’t going mobile that is. I had no community.
And then COVID hit.
Even those passing acquaintances on the road were evaporating. I could no longer go to a random drinking establishment after my ten-mile hikes and trade stories with complete strangers. Strangers who could share their meaningful journeys. And I paid them in kind.
My voice was becoming obsolete. Cobwebbed over from lack of use. And after repeated clearings and squeaky, piercing falsetto grumblings, I might squeeze a few words out, but they were sounding less and less like me.
Who is that person?
I could no longer maintain the Chi Gong organ healing sounds or sing through a line of verse without gulping for air. Yet I was not short of breath in anyway.
My words went to paper and then my hands put away the keyboard. Why? Many distractions swirling around establishing some type of physical base somewhere. And various age-related degenerations were settling in. You must draw your sword and go to battle with those every single day, least you continue to lose ground.
I am no longer the young man climbing the mountain. I am now descending into a vast and unknown territory. Much of this trek is solitary. Much of it has to be that way.
One cannot lean on others as they make an inward journey. To a place of greater expanse than any mountain I’ve hiked, any desert I’ve crossed, or any ocean I’ve swam in. And I was no longer telling the tales.
Where was my voice?
Finally, at a gathering of like-hearted strangers there came a time to speak. When I finally got my words out, they actually resonated in that tone I used to know. A dear heart commented that it was good to finally hear it, and I had to agree. I hadn’t heard it in a long time myself. And I was speaking of gratitude.
Maybe that’s why that familiar voice came back to me.
But this was not all a mental or spiritual journey. There were actual mechanics at play.
At one of my doctor’s visits, the physician noticed my voice was hoarse, so she sent me to a specialist. Next thing you know, there I was, sitting in that chair with a camera on the end of a flexible tube visualizing my vocal cords.
Interesting to see inside. There was obvious inflammation, and not so obvious changes in structure. That’s what the expert was there for.
It seems that my vocal cords have actually atrophied. They have been shrinking away leaving an opening that allows air to escape without noise, and when sounds are attempted, those cords no longer stretch into position to hold that deep resonance they once did.
At least there was no cancer. No growths obstructing my airway.
Life is very circular at times. Other times, such as these, there are parallels. Not only were my words vanishing figuratively, but they were also quite literally becoming difficult to emit.
Time for speech therapy.
As for my written word, I am trying to awaken the muse that lives inside me. Shake it from its slumbers. Bring it out of the Dream Lodge. Motivate it to channel those thoughts into those images. Into all of the colors, the sounds, the smells, the touches. All of the feelings that words should carry.
Words allow the mind to breathe. The heart to sing. The soul to speak.
Words are life.
Feature Photo: Those who follow me know I like to tell a second story or two about the pics I post and why I think they are relevant. This one represents the art of words – that oil painting I was talking about. The underlying image was me looking out through a window at the Huachucha Mountains in Arizona during a Monsoon Rain. The rain would be pouring down over the cabin I was in, while Grandfather Sun bathed the mountains in the distance with its warming rays.
A little bit of photo editing magic, and a picture become a painting. A little magic with words, and the image lies in our minds and not on paper, or in computer graphics. We can feel them 🙂