Cold weather factually is weather that just appears to not be warm. It can be quite cosy in fact. The judgement ensued upon it’s character in my history book began with the Donner party who stupidly thought they could cross the Rocky Mountains in wobbly wagons with a few snacks. Cold weather did not cause their demise, their gobbling each other up or their legacy which ended in a rather unsavoury fashion. I defend Mother Nature’s call, her warnings, her bell ringing from the roots beneath and above us. In Vermont they know how to prepare for the most part, again for the most part. In Sweden the old adage that there is “No bad weather, only bad clothing” is more or less true. Suffer or survive. Despite the dark winters and below zero temperatures or my severe arthritic flares in the cold weather I choose to embrace each flake that falls, remain poised in gratitude for it’s not my call to take cold weather personally. Firelit mornings and hot coffee spark my creativity and I write much more than in the summer. Not everyone can choose to flee to Florida or southern Spain to avoid being cold. I am bound to stick it out, add another sweater and refill my cup with awe.
For some unreasonable reason I continue to believe I am graceful; I was an awesome dancer and prancer in the not seemingly so long ago days. With my variety of ailments and chronic pain issues, including osteoporosis one would think I’d be crumbled up in a fragile porceline glop. After a diagnosis of Chronic Repetitive Pain II and being evaluated from head, shoulders knees and toes I began balance training. I am now hilariously throwing balls of socks in the air then trying to catch them, tripping over large objects in clear view and pathetically trying chair yoga. Two weeks prior to my hospitalization I quickly turned getting out of my claw foot bath tub and landed on a small wooden foot stool which factually kept my head from bashing into the hard cement tiled floor. Two or three ribs hit a corner of the stool leaving me sprawled out awkwardly, howling naked in blubbering shame. My family came running to see their gracious antelope needing immediate emergency treatment. Rushed to our local E.R. I was given fast acting morphine and sent for an MRI to be sure my lungs weren’t punctured. The results were nothing was broken but they did see I had severe arthritis in my left hip and a tiny crack about a centimeter long on one rib. No broken bones despite my skeletal fragility. The pain was gruesome so I can’t imagine what a really good breakage would be like. I do know now I need a new hip. Huh, go fissure!
I don’t want to be awake. It’s been a perfect night for sleep, rain in Stockholm. Tin roof, comfy bed, the whole kit and caboodle. Real as can be, exhausted by additional pain from flying while disabled, I lie here wondering how will the special chronic repetitive pain syndrome diagnosis is going to play out. Later today I check into Uppsala universitet sjukhuset smartkliniken, that is Uppsala University’s pain clinic for a one week assessment. From this poking and prodding of both my mind and body it will be determined if a team of specialists will have me back for a month long stay. How does one rehabilitate chronic pain? I am too far gone to think about the entirety of it but will say, from what I have read, my brain is scrambled, the coding has been buried or tiny mice in my head have chewed through the wires. I am never free from pain, rested and refreshed or in the slightest comfortable. Hope is on the table and I want to be that kind of human who believes, ” change is gonna come, yes it is.” Lm attempts to move forward and cry the entire few hours and minutes I have left with fear and angst using the “why me spiel”. Rock is in place, ready for whatever comes next and has tucked Lm into a safe space for the time being. Real as it gets has taken center stage and I, the woman almost sixty years old will wrestle with fervor to let the rainy, dark morning give me some time for my eyelids to grow heavy, for my own purring snore to begin and perhaps I’ll be gifted a dream where I am unchained from my physical limitations and run a muck carefree.
“I really thought I’d lost my grip on you Lm!” Rock doesn’t sweat; he has kept a solid eye on Lm. “You’ve been out cold; this was your first setback in years.” Lm scoots close to Rock, leaning her weak frame against his rawness, his realness and stares blankly. Lm was triggered by chronic pain, severe non-stop agony, her attempts to keep herself together crumbled. She ran away from herself which is when the hauntings of BaDDaD and a feeling of distrust take control of her persona. She is edgy, frightened by her own meltdown. Rock pulls her up the dank stairwell and let’s fresh air in through the doorway to her soul. She inhales and shivers with small tears of disappointment. “I’ve been doing so well Rock, you are supposed to keep me safe! It’s your fault you asshole. You are an ugly piece of old cement, all dried up into the most pathetic piece of whatever. Who cares? Not me. Why do you scowl at me? Why can’t I lose you or better yet throw you into the sea where you belong. Stupid Rock! “I am part of you Lm, in fact I am you.” “Holy crap, now I’ve heard everything, you are me?” Rock is still and listens as Lm curses, throws handfuls of small pebbles at him and she pushes him down the stairwell. Rock is not hurt. He lies there in the dark while she rants and raves about what a fool he is. Finally she slams the door shut and bolts it herself then one step at a time she carefully goes to the dark, sad place where Rock is lying patiently. She lifts him up and stares at him. It’s a lonely place without him, the all knowing piece of her, the one that takes over the helm when she is wrought with pain, physical, mental or emotional. She wants to thank him but chews on her fingers instead. Her hair is a tangled mess, just like her heart. Under her breath she whispers, “I love you Rock.”
Sitting with my Grandma, “Shhhh! Now listen”. Her smile is remembered. Loretta Lynn singing on the small television, being interviewed and my admiring her long dark hair. My cousins were restless and sent outside with sweet tea, moon pies and I stayed beside her. The Grand Ole Opry! Being poor and working one’s way to the top is an achievement many country music fans, or mindful humans can appreciate. I didn’t feel poor or that life was a struggle; Grandma came from a very well-mannered family and kept us close, often saying,”not our people”, when I asked questions about others I was all in a quandary with. “Mind your business; we have enough with each other.” I always wondered how Loretta Lynn knew anything about coalminers; all dolled up with ribbons in her hair, long braids and frilly, detailed dresses she did not seem to me to be simple or wanting in anyway. It’s dark tonight on Sweden’s west coast and my days in Nashville seem light years away; I want to believe that Loretta is soaring above us, having a look at Mars, smiling and humming in peace. Women become strong through experience, fighting for their words to be heard and sung. I feel a warmth, a sense of peace knowing she had such a good life by just being herself. What if we all could just be humble, gracious, kind and appreciate of our lives? Wouldn’t that be something? I can’t play a guitar. If I could I would take my hidden wings, stuff banana and chocolate moon pies, RC cola and warm grits with butter and salt into my backpack, strap my Fender over my shoulder and rise amongst the stars. There I’d see Mrs. Loretta waiting and she’d pat the ground beside her, invite me to sit down and we’d sing with her long dark hair flowing in sync with eternity. Actually, I think she wouldn’t care whether I could play guitar. I can carry a tune. She may be our best example of “the salt of the earth”, now an iconic memory that changed music and hearts forever. Maybe Grandma would be there, too and I’d surprise her with all my southern goodies. We wouldn’t be tired, or sick or old. Just three strong women, free from adversity and strife sipping our cola, eating warm grits and unwrapping moon pies on Mars.