The first evening we were at the farm I looked out the sitting room window toward the barn and I thought there was an animal perched on a cement block beside the barn.
I was told it was my imagination and that it might help if I put my glasses on. In defiance and determined to prove my friend wrong – and in spite of my pain – I put on my rubber boots and coat and walked out into the damp beginning of a rainfall. I gingerly found a safe path down a small slope in the back yard, squeezed myself through the narrow space between the fence and the chained gate dividing the yard from the field and limped my way over to the barn.
What I found sitting on the cement block was not an animal (dead or alive). It was a pile of rocks that appeared to have been arranged to look like an animal. I supposed it was intended to scare off any more turkey vultures from taking up residence in the barn.
After seeing this, I limped back to the fence, squeezed my way through the narrow space between the gate and much more slowly found my footing back up the sloped mound in the back yard. By then it was raining big, heavy raindrops. Each drop that landed on the top of my head felt enormous. With the rain coming down I crossed the back deck and walked through the sitting room door. I was greeted by the questioning eyes of my friend: was it an animal or are you seeing things? I did not satisfy her with a response.
I was seeing things. I am seeing things. Things that are there and things that may never be. I’ve reached a point where I can accept that my condition – and the chronic pain it has caused – is not temporary. Months ago I was certain that my reluctant surgeon was going to perform surgery that would repair my health and end my pain. But that’s not going to happen. At best my congenital condition – which at this point is a working diagnosis – will be repaired but the repair will give rise to serious complications. And the pain I now live with every day will remain and by all accounts may get worse.
So, there may not have been an animal by the barn, but I was willing to take action to find out what was out there. The determination that made me get up and walk out into the damp evening is what I’ve depended on my whole life to carry me through difficult situations. And it’s the same quality that continues to hold me together as I live through this illness.
Santana – Mirage (with lyrics) – Borboletta 1974