Friday, July 25, 2008

I still wonder at what I see

7/25/08 Friday
I guess I’ve been busy seeing the only thing in my journal for Wednesday is the date and there is nothing at all for Thursday. At the moment I can remember nothing of those two days. I’ll download the pictures from the camera, if there are any, and that may help me remember.

Well, I have some great pictures of the sky. My love and appreciation of the beauty of nature that surrounds us all is unabated, and I hope always will be. It reminds me of a moment, way back in 1976. I was in prison here in Texas and was only twenty years old. This is when I became a Christian and that changed my view of the whole world to put it mildly. There is not room on these pages to tell of the turmoil and tumultuous time that put me here, perhaps I’ll cover that in the book I say I’ll write but haven’t done much on. Regardless, up to this time the world was basically just shades of grey to me and I seldom recognized or noticed the beauty that surrounded me. It was drugs, drinking, and trying to find acceptance and a joy that would last longer than the buzz from a beer that occupied my mind then. But prison changed all that. Here my mind cleared as my body cleaned itself of the drugs and alcohol the permeated every cell. I had been accepted in a program called “Operation Kick It” where we traveled to schools and civic organizations through out the state of Texas, telling our stories with the hope of keeping other kids from following the path we had taken. Some of you who are from Texas may remember the program coming to your school back in the mid seventies. If you did there is a good chance you saw me.

It was spring and we were on our way to one of the towns we would be speaking at. This was one of the first times I had been outside the walls of the prison in over a year. Inside there is not much to see, concrete walls and barred windows with a view of the next cell block and a glimpse of the double fence with razor sharp constatina wire curled in rows across the top. Now we are in the station wagon they transported us with and it is early in the morning. The sun is just coming up and there is a mist that floats like a paper thin cloud just six feet off the ground. The area has a gently rolling landscape and the road seemed to disappear into a still lake of cloud where it followed the surface down.

When we sliced through the twelve inch thick white mist it was like entering an eerie other worldly dimension with the canopy of cloud suspended over us like a sheer white cloth that was bright from being lit from above by the rising sun. There was maybe six feet between the ground and cloud and the short little mesquite trees disappeared into it as if they were giants reaching the sky. Then, as the car tore along at maybe seventy miles per hour we would raise up through the mist to an equally eerie vision. Here is a snow white, smooth surface with the tops of the mesquites and cactus coming through as if floating unsupported. We were on an island in the midst of this with other islands visible where the surface of the ground rose above the mist.

We traveled through this phenomenon, going above and below the mist like a submarine, for maybe half an hour before it vanished, but I marveled at the beauty the whole time. For the rest of the journey I took in how green the color green was as if I had never seen the color before. I saw with wonder the plants, flowers, and other things and marveled at what God had made.

That was back when I was born again and when I woke from the coma eight years ago it was a similar experience. This time it was a little different. With much of my memory gone and my mind severely damaged I was pretty much like a child again. Everything was new to me. I can remember watching the ants, honey bees, and insects with fascination, perhaps for hours at a time. This wasn’t a one time epiphany like what I experienced back in 1976, it is an ongoing thing. If you look back in this blog to when we first came to Texas you will see all kinds of pictures of plants and flowers and can read my childish wonder of these things most folks take for granted. In some ways I am only eight years old because of the brain injury. I have been learning ever since I woke up and will continue to as time goes by. One of the biggest problems I’ve had is that my emotions and abilities to interact with others is sometimes at an eight year olds level. Every month I get better at it and continue to grow but it sure caused problems with those who didn’t take the time or care to understand.

I’ve been picking beans. We have a lot of them, which is good because the farmer’s market is tomorrow. Picking beans is hell on my back though so I came in to take a pain pill. There will be some other things ready for the market as well. I think Cherie picked some okra and there is some spaghetti squash ready. Plus we have some of the Chinese Noodle beans that I am excited about. They are really different looking. Dark red and over a foot long. We’ll need to cook some tonight so we can tell others what they are like.

I am learning about the Charentaise melons. We picked some last week and took some to church. Unfortunately I suspect they were all overripe. Figuring out when they are ripe is an art form or developed skill just like picking ripe watermelons is. I finally picked one that was just right last night. Boy are they good. Come to find out the Charentaise are true cantaloupe unlike what we call cantaloupe here in the states. What we call cantaloupe is actually a muskmelon. The Charentaise taste similar but are maybe a bit sweeter. It’s hard for me to tell as my sense of taste was effected by the brain injury though it’s much better now. When I first got back with Cherie I would cook up a storm. The only problem was that I couldn’t taste much and would add spice till it tasted right. Then when Cherie would try some it would almost gag her because it was so strong.

There is lots to do and my back pain is down to a tolerable level so there are beans to pick.

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