Saturday, June 30, 2012

Flashes and Flashbacks

"The lightning crashed too closely
From Austin to San Anton'
Maybe that's when the world blew up
And we made one of our own..."

A fireworks show on an oppressively muggy July night has turned into a different sort of light show. As I sit here in the dark of my room, listening to the rain and thunder, the flashes of lightning lite up my room like some absurd press conference.

It was February of 2007 and it was in my first month of caring for Karl - a dear friend fighting cancer. Going back to San Antonio from his house in Austin, we were caught in an insane rain storm. Every gust of rainfall battered the windshield like the inside of a car wash. The wipers were all but useless - dark blacks smear which did naught but create a ripple in the visual distortion of waterfall.

If he didn't need to be at the hospital the next morning for more treatment, we probably would have stayed overnight in Austin. The roads seemed just shy of being rivers - better traversed by boat or ark perhaps.

My memory of the conversation is fuzzy now. I think there was a joke about the lightning in the distance. Certainly SOMETHING tempted fate and, within a few seconds, FLASH/KERPOPAPOW! It hit less than a few hundred yards away. I could see burning debris flying from the impact.

How I managed to keep the car steady and NOT swerve ourselves off into some sort of tail over bumper nightmare... I do not know. Certainly we both screamed.

"Where I was finally working
And you were no longer sick
Where love was a breeze and cars never stall
And irony was never so thick..."

It's now June 30th, 2012 and only a couple weeks remain before I relocate from Philly to Austin. Tonight's storm seems a perfect match for the craziness of the past couple months. Work, health, and a handful of other woes have joined up with my moving plans and made life an... interesting challenge lately.

At the same time I realize I'm nowhere near as miserable as I once was while working for Sam Ash. Despite all the stress, my world is nowhere near so dark, so foul, and so hopeless.

Some of that is because of what I'm moving to. But some of that is also a change in my own temperament.

I've come to accept adversity better. I've come to accept most of the hard spots in life. They can help us grow. They can make us stronger. I've come to appreciate (perhaps in a rather ironic manner) the importance of the not-fun side of life.

I've been in some horribly rough places. Oh, some people go through much worse. I'm not going to compare my burdens with those of some around me. My daily commute now takes me past a methadone clinic. And I realize that some of these people have seen *much* worse.

But I have survived my own little dance with the devils. I have returned (at least somewhat close) to the surface after embracing that murky mud at the bottom of the sea. I am still alive and I'm moving forward and up. (I think. LOL)

"'Cuz I was down from Cali
And the life of a highway cone
You were the pet of the doctors and beds
A hundred miles away from home"

There are two songs I have on the table still. They're of or set in those dark times. One is about Karl and I, the other just about me and my own battling failure.

It's interesting to be so far removed from those moments now. They might as well be second-hand memories. I treasure them now for they are a part of me, who I am, and where I've been. But they're harder to access. Less immediate.

I'm hoping Austin will help bridge that in a way. I'm hoping that some of my inspiration will return. What was a brief sort of pit-stop in my life is going to be the next chapter. I think it will be good. It could be horrible. I'm learning how non-proficient I with my omniscience...

But a couple circles are coming round for me and, for a change, I'm looking forward to this! Even while I may be terrified at the same time.

Oh, life!