Thursday, June 26, 2008

As Jimmy and I slept and dreamed, many came by to visit

Yesterday, I did make true progress towards telling the story of Jumper and Watson, the two cats that I met in Barrow, plus that of my injury and subsequent medical and jet ambulance drama that followed, but mostly what I did was sleep. This is how the day went:

I arose from bed, and Sunflower fixed me a good breakfast of oatmeal and walnuts, topped off with peach yogurt and a banana on the side. I then came out here to my office long enough to check email and to begin the download of my images from the previous day. Although I had not taken that many photos and my set-up is all high speed Mac, I was too tired to wait for the download to complete, so I returned to bed to take a short nap, and then napped for 2.5 hours.

I then got up again and Sunflower prepared a ham sandwich for me, which I ate on the back porch as Jim frolicked in the overgrown grass and dandelions. Normally, Sunflower makes it a big summer project to take out the dandelions and weed-whack and trim the wild grass in such a way as to allow the wild roses, daisies, ferns, fireweed and such to thrive, but this year, given her new baby-sitting responsibilities, the big Apache Sunrise Dance in Arizona and now broken me, the yard has so far been left to do whatever it wants.

After lunch, Jim and I returned to house, then to this office, where I posted yesterday's entry.

By then, I was overwhelmed with weariness and my afternoon radio programs were about to begin. So Jimmy and I returned to my bed. Very cautiously - he seems to know that something is not right with me and that he must choose his nap-spots carefully - Jim searched around the area of my lap (see top photo), found his place, then curled up atop my legs to sleep.

Then, as Terry Gross interviewed neurological researcher Jill Bolte Taylor about her new book on what she went through after a stroke wiped out her personal memories and she had to build a new life for herself, Jimmy and I dozed off. We would stay dozed off through the remainder of Gross's one hour Fresh Air, two hours of NPR's All Things Considered, and half an hour of Alaska Statewide News.

As I slept, soothed by Jimmy's presence atop my legs, it seemed that my consciousness removed itself from its normal place inside my brain and took up a position on the pillow right alongside my head. I could hear myself breathing, but each inhalation and exhalation sounded like the detached breath of someone else.

As my radio programs played on, people that I know drifted in and out of the room, always stopping to sit down upon the bed and visit for awhile. Interestingly, although I have lost a good number of family members and friends over the past few years, and though it is not uncommon for these deceased loved ones to visit me in my dreams, all those who drifted by during yesterday's dream number among the living. 

None of the people who have actually been physically present in my day-to-day life since my accident appeared. So Sunflower, my children and baby Wry, all of whom I see regularly, did not appear, but my brothers and sister, my nieces and nephews, Sunflower's siblings, mother, nephews, nieces and such, did. Mac, the tall one of my two twin brothers, the oldest of the Krackers, brought his beautiful new Taiwanese-American girlfriend, Shue, who owns two used car lots.

She wore the same red dress that she had worn when she posed in front of a snowy Utah peak, the very tip of which caught a sunbeam at the reception for the American version of Vivek and Khena's wedding.

Brother Rex appeared. I asked how his pig heart valves were doing. "Much better than yesterday," he echoed what he tells me each time we talk on the phone.

Poor little sister Mary Ann. She looked at me and wept, and I wept for her.

A full contingent of my new family in India drifted in and Vasanthi handed me a cup of her exquisite Indian coffee, which she served to me in a tiny, dainty, delicate, Indian cup. Murthy proudly showed me how he had framed the certificate he was awarded after I drove him across the Arctic Circle. Vijay and Vidya, who past readers have met in the Bangalore Magazine store, came too, to show off  beautiful baby daughter Vaidehi. 

Muse Soundarya came clad in the same golden sari that she had caressed the orange and white kitten against. Usually, when she appears in my dreams - and one's muse must appear in his dreams - Sandy wears contemporary, western-styled clothing, sleek and stylish, but now Soundarya was back in her Indian garments, sewn into beauty and grace. Also there was Anil, the man who on her bike drove her and crow to the vet, the man who she has chosen in love to marry, the man who loves her back and promises to take care of my most strong-willed and independent Muse through this life and beyond; Anil, long hair flowing past his shoulders, looking so strong, rugged, yet gentle, there with my Muse.

And there were many, many, other visitors who my readers have not yet met nor even heard of, from Eskimo whale hunters and families who smoke salmon upon the banks of the Yukon River, to a freelance science writer and editor who has served as a bit of an exasperated mentor to me. He was born and professionalized in New York City, but raised as a New England boy and he now lives atop a high hill overlooking the beach at Morro Bay, CA. There, he once walked me past a big rock that juts so strange and beautiful out of the sea. Tiny crabs clung to the lower reaches of the rock, waiting for the tide to rise and take them back into the water. 

He told me that the two of us are growing old, but admonished that we should do so gracefully, as hikers, fit and firm, who on the trail would blow past kids decades younger, but not so fit. He said that we should not do stupid and avoidable things, like break our shoulders simply to get a slightly higher angle on a photo that, really, at its best, would not have been all that spectacular, anyway.

"And what is this thing with cats?" he asked. "I just don't understand this thing with cats!"

And all these people came to visit me as I lay there upon the bed beside myself, listening to myself breathe, as Jimmy, my good and true friend, slept softly atop my legs. 

Come lunchtime, Jimmy heads for the back door. 

Jimmy during our lunch break.

Jimmy, Chicago and me during the evening news. Click on the photo(s) to see a larger version. Jimmy needs to be seen bigger than this. As for me, I am a fright to behold, but you will get over it. 

Pistol comes to join us. Afterwards, I spent some time working on the Barrow entry. Then, despite the massive naps I had taken during the day, I went to bed and stayed there for 12 hours, getting up now and then only to take my pain meds, to gulp down water and to pee.


Varsha said...

Jim is giving you great company! So nice of him :)

Butterfly said...

Well written article.