Everyday Enchantment

We’ve had several days where the temperatures have eased into 80 degrees.  All the trees have grown out their spring leaves, flowers are budding everywhere.  I sit on my porch more often.  My friend helps me plant flowers in the yard and in pots on the porch.

20180628_101910

I’ve had a bout of fatigue for the past month, but it seems to have abated (as much as chronic fatigue ever abates), and I feel myself unfurling like the plants around me.

I don’t know if everyone with a chronic, degenerative disorder does this, but I often make plans for myself that I could only do if I was in a former body, the one that could walk, that could get up if she fell.  I see myself kneeling in the garden, pulling weeds, planting seeds.  I see myself sitting on the porch steps and transplanting a root-bound flower from one pot to another, then standing up, brushing the dirt from my clothes, going inside to wash my hands.

I see myself  hanging pictures in the apartment, standing on a stool, getting things just right.

I see myself going out on these warmer summery nights, dancing maybe, with someone who catches my eye and returns a smile.

But I can’t do any of these things.

My roots are bound.

And most likely I’ll only get transplanted to smaller and smaller pots.

It’s a kind of dissociation, I think, seeing myself doing things I can no longer do .  And it’s not a new or unexpected way of thinking, since I live in my head so much anyway — making things up — stories, images and ways of being.

Yesterday, I went to the Carpenter Art Garden, where, once a week, I help kids draw.  We get a lot of kids from the neighborhood after school, and they are frisky and so glad to be out of school.  Some are barely able to sit still.  Some urgently need to go over all the problems they’ve faced during the day.  Some need to settle arguments or tease each other.

she was 3

There are always several projects at the Art Garden they can participate in.  One of the projects yesterday was a May Pole — the kids made ribbons, staff attached them to a pole in the middle of the garden.  When all the ribbons were up, they put on some music from Lil Nas X, and the kids all wrapped the Maypole.  It was a blend of old traditions and new ideas, young people and older people, all creating a moment of community in a world where we all seem to be jaded and discouraged and root bound.

20190430_160226

20190430_16051320190430_16083220190430_160938

When I go to the Art Garden, I use my power wheelchair and take the bus.

I pass through several neighborhoods, some rough and in the process of decay, some wealthy, most somewhere in the middle.  I see trees spreading their arms over all kinds of houses and abandoned buildings.

I see, and usually stop by, the Central Library, full of history and the future.  (And a great accessible bathroom, by the way)  There are usually a few homeless people resting in the shade of the building.   Inside, there are people using computers, looking through books, kids doing homework.  Parents with young children are reading together.

I roll on through several blocks of Binghampton to get to the Art Garden.  I see acres of a former housing development with abandoned boarded up buildings.   Over the past month, I’ve watched a wisteria vine bud and bloom.  Now it’s covered with emerald leaves.  It’s leaning against an old building and will one day knock the whole thing over.

I see small businesses in old buildings, and apartment communities with kids running around behind gates.

Being in my wheelchair, being a pedestrian, I see these things, the little changes in the landscapes.  I don’t speed through the seasons, I watch it all in it’s own time.  In my own time.

20170728_170655

Yesterday, when I left the Art Garden, I walked with two of the kids who draw with me sometimes.  They were astonished I didn’t have a car.  Even more so that I was going to be able to get on a bus.

“You’re getting on a bus in that?”

Yes.  On a bus, in my house, to the gardens, to the park, to the store, to the library, to so many places.

But not everywhere, because it’s not a hover chair, and I can’t get up curbs or stairs.  So I have other tools.

I can still use my walker if I have someone to help me.  I probably won’t be able to get up stairs much longer, no matter how much help I have.

But I go so many places.  When I turn a corner, because I am slow and life is uncertain, I find a garden, and I can stop and smell the roses.  I can stop and hear the laughter of children.  I don’t come saddled with expectations, I just let the delight wash over me.

20190430_144304

If I continue to pay attention and I keep my expectations simple, remember all the gifts in my life, enchantment happens.  It dances to music I am unfamiliar with, and it blooms from children who will create a future I’ll never see or understand.

And what a gift it is to me to be able to encourage them to think about, draw, and make up stories about their lives.  Maybe they too will find enchantment in the everyday details of their precious lives.

20190416_154706

 

Little details, little enchantments everywhere.  Don’t miss out on them.

IMG_20190121_0001

 

~~~

Thanks for reading my post.  If you like it share it.  If you find a typo, please let me know and I’ll send you a thank-you postcard.  

You can now follow me on facebook here, and  Instagram@joymurrayart.

You can get prints and cards of some of my work on Redbubble.  They also print my work on lots of other items, including phone skins, tote bags, shirts and journals:

https://www.redbubble.com/people/JoyMurray?asc=u

If you’d like to support my art and writing, please consider becoming a donor on Patreon.  If I get enough supporters, I can make this blog ad-free!  Here’s a link to my Patreon page:

https://www.patreon.com/user?u=8001665

If you prefer to make a one time donation, you can do so at paypal.com  Please email me at joyzmailbox@gmail.com if you’d like details.

Advertisements

How We Get Home

12 bus stop

At the library bus stop, there was a man obsessively touching and rearranging his plastic bags.  He had a few groceries, but they were jumbled in small bags that he put in a larger bag of easily torn plastic.  The large bag was shredding.  It took me a few minutes to realize he was blind.  His eyes were mostly closed and slightly sunken.  He had a bottle of Sprite that fell on the ground and rolled a few feet away.  I told him, but he said he had to get his bags together before he picked up the bottle.

I had a cloth bag that folds up in my purse.  It’s made of strong stretchy cotton and accommodates a lot of stuff.  I was in my wheelchair and I rolled over close to him.   I asked if he was blind.

“I can see a little.”  He didn’t have a white cane, only a walking cane.  He had a bit of crust along his eyelids.  I was concerned that he was alone, that his cane didn’t indicate he was blind like the white ones do.  I understand the need to be self sufficient, I often take risks going out alone in my wheelchair.  The need for independence and to get places on my own is strong and I’m stubborn.

I explained the bag to him and said he wouldn’t have to worry about it tearing like a plastic bag.  He asked what color it was. I said it was shades of blue in a kind of checkered pattern.   He looked hesitant.

I said, “It’s okay if you don’t want it.”

He sighed.  “I think I’ll pass on it.”  He went back to fiddling around with the plastic bags, peeling off layers of plastic.  I backed away.  I had an urge to chase after the bits of plastic blowing away, littering the library grounds, but it would be impossible in my chair.

He got irritated.  In frustration, he banged his body against the back of the bus stop shelter.  His Sprite bottle rolled further away in the wind.  I was afraid to ask to help him again.  I thought he didn’t like my interfering and had taken a dislike to me.

Soon, a woman joined us at the stop.  She was short, elderly and looked frail.  She wore a white face mask to either keep germs out or keep from spreading them.  She was dressed in a purple fake fur coat, a blue skirt and purple boots.  She had on a wig that was slightly askew.  She pulled a small suitcase on wheels with a purse attached to the top with a bungee cord.

The sun came out.  It was about 40 degrees.

“That sun sure feels good,” the lady said.

She took a good long look at the man fidgeting next to her.  She began to talk to him softly.  She opened her purse and it was stuffed with plastic bags.  She went through them like she was going through a filing cabinet til she found the exact right size.

She gently but firmly urged the man to put his things in her bag.  He agreed.  Then she got another bag out of her purse and double bagged his bags so he could make it home without losing anything.

“I think I dropped my pack of cigarettes,” he said.  “I can’t find them.”

We looked with him.  He tapped around frantically with his cane.  With the sunlight beaming on his bags, I could see the shape of a pack of Marlboros through the translucent plastic.

“I think they’re in your bag.  They’re Marlboros, right?”  I said.

He said nothing.

“They’re in the bag,” the woman said.  “Marlboros, right?”

He felt around the bag.  “Yes.  Thank you.”

I felt a little miffed and wondered why the woman had such a better rapport with him.  He sat down quietly, compulsively rubbing the plastic as we waited.

The bus arrived.  It was crowded but they made room for my wheelchair,  no one grumbling about giving up seats for me.

The blind man didn’t get on the bus, but stood looking confused.  The woman with the suitcase got back off, and guided him on.  There were no seats and people crowded the aisles.  But they all  moved back more and someone gave him a seat.

“I took care of my uncle who went blind,” one woman said.  A man said, “My mother went blind.”

The woman who helped him with the bags stood by him and got him to tell her where he needed to get off the bus.  “I’ll help him if you have to get off before his stop,” a man said.

“We’re going the same way,” she said and her eyes smiled.  By then, to me, she no longer looked masked.  Her kindness made her smile visible.

When I got off the bus, the people standing had to get off the bus so I could get out.  The woman wished me a good day.

So much of life seems scary and people seem uncaring.  When I got across the street, dodging a car that didn’t see me because they were talking on the phone, braking inches from me — I thought that blind man shouldn’t be out on his own.

Maybe this woman in a wheelchair shouldn’t either.

But, safe on the sidewalk, a few blocks from where I live, I felt in my heart he would get home.  Some people may speed through life oblivious, but sometimes they look up and brake in time.

Kindness still weaves it’s way into our lives,  keeping us as safe as possible.

And sometimes, it shows up in a mask and purple coat —  patient, with a soft voice and a bag filled with exactly what is needed.

010 (2)

~~~

Thanks for reading my post.  If you like it share it.  If you find a typo, please let me know and I’ll send you a thank-you postcard.  

You can now follow me on facebook here,  Instagram@joymurrayart.

You can get prints and cards of some of my work on Redbubble.  They also print my work on lots of other items, including phone skins, tote bags, shirts and journals:

https://www.redbubble.com/people/JoyMurray?asc=u

If you’d like to support my art and writing, please consider becoming a donor on Patreon.  If I get enough supporters, I can make this blog ad-free!  Here’s a link to my Patreon page:

https://www.patreon.com/user?u=8001665

If you prefer to make a one time donation, you can do so at paypal.com  Please email me at joyzmailbox@gmail.com if you’d like details.