In my last post I mention that I was looking for Ann Gasser who is one of the most prolific and funniest poets I have ever met. She also happens to have CMT and is into her nineties but you never know it, because she’s still a going concern. One of you kindly gave me her email address, which I had lost, and I asked her if I could use several of her poems for my book, which she agreed to, and she said, “I am still writing, and I edit two publications for the Pennsylvania Poetry Society, Inc. One is an
illustrated online journal called PENNESSENCE which I have been doing monthly since September 2012. It goes out to members, and anyone with Internet access can read the issues by Googling NFSPS.com and clicking STATE LINKS PENNSYLVANIA PUBLICATIONS PENNESSENCE
“My hands continue to get worse, and of course my legs are not reliable—if I stand they could collapse without warning as happened six years ago and I broke both ankles. Now I slide from power chair to wherever, and the only time I stand is to pull up my pants. You can bet I have my chair directly under me when I do that!
“My brain still works fine, I manage to live alone, and all in all, I am in good shape for a ninety-four year old. I guess I still have a quirky sense of humour which comes out when I write light verse. I have well over 3500 poems on my database, (over 900 of which have won awards), and lots more that have never been catalogued.” Here is
Oh pity the poor guy who skis,
falls and breaks both his arms, both his knees.
Wheels may get him about
here and there–maybe out,
but the bathroom’s not mastered with ease.
And he may have a lot he can do,
watch TV, read a long book or two,
but how can he function
each time there’s compunction
to make a quick trip to the loo?
Our advice he may take if he will,
but these words will most likely be nil:
Sell the skis, try aerobics,
join exercise phobics
and don’t go near snow on a hill.
My November roses – the last of months of beautiful blooms
Now in another direction, I don’t know about you but after four or five days in the house, and sometimes even a week or more, I go little still crazy, my pain gets worse and I start to get really antsy… I need to get out and I really need to get out into nature.
Something was wrong, and the stress of delving into times past for my writing which includes several traumatic experiences involving death, a family matter, and, believe it or not, the American election (watching the two candidates throw hate and talk over each other plus all of the negative advertising on every American channel) had put me in a real discombobulated mood. Yes, I know I’m Canadian, I don’t have to worry if one of the candidates will eventually run Canada but whatever affects the United States spills over into Canada especially when you live only 20 miles from the border. Over the months I have sensed ugly divisions forming that I personally have never seen before in that great country.
So, Ron in his wisdom asked me if I’d like to go out in the country, and go we did. It’s only about 20 miles from home but it’s a beautiful provincial park with a short trail for people in wheelchairs and a waterfall that has just recently recovered from our summer drought. I could feel myself relaxing about 20 yards into the woods when I started noticing the colour in the trees, the patterns of the dry weeds, the cloudless deep blue sky and the gold pine needle covered floor.
We took pictures, we talked, but mostly we just walked (rolled), taking in the absolute beauty around us. Most people would say it was nothing special but, in reality, it was raw nature many millions of years old. Indigenous peoples had lived here, settlers had homesteaded here and, before that, dinosaurs grazed here. It made me feel small, not insignificant, but small, and the world felt big and my worries really not all that important. The feeling that there is so much more to the world than just my immediate concerns, the concerns that were pulling me down when I’m in the house for long periods of time and self absorbed in my work, bouyed me up. “It’s not that important!,” it kept saying to me, “It’s not that important.”
Gray hair and all – I’m getting used to it.
Yes, I have every intention of finishing my book, I only have two chapters to go, but I feel so good this morning that I know getting out of the house and being immersed in nature is a far better tonic than anything else I could possibly do for myself.
Our humble abode with dogwoods (left) and Japanese maple (right) on fire
One of the chapters of the book is going to list various organizations across the world working on CMT or working with people who have CMT and I’m going to ask if you know of any except for the two in the United States, CMT UK, and the facebook pages CMTUS, CMT Canada and CMT Niagara. And, if you’ve use any kind of gadget or anything that has really helped you cope with your CMT, would you please let me know?
So, in a much better frame of mind, I am going back at chapter 31 and hope to have it finished by the weekend. I’m going to put some pictures we took yesterday here so you can see what I’m talking about.
I hope not too many of my American readers are suffering from PESD (Post Election Stress Disorder) tomorrow. I don’t think an election has ever affected me like this one and it isn’t even my country. Strange times!
Till next time,
p.s. – Here’s a mystery for you. In the woods there is a shack used to house a car on occasion. On the front of the building is a picture of a girl. Why is it there? Who is she? She looks something like Shirley Temple to me. Strange and we may never know but it’s one of those little things you can’t help wondering about as you make your way up the rough leaf-strewn roadway into the woods. Any thoughts?