Friday, April 6, 2012

Meaning Extracted

Sorry for the ginormous email I sent you the other day. I hope it was at least interesting to you, meaningful to you--I'll stay out of your in-box for a while to let you digest all that, except, of course, for what I say here, which doesn't go into your in box, unless you've signed up for it. You've never mentioned doing so.

I kind of leak sometimes.

I've been leaking some today in another way--I had my wisdom teeth removed this morning. The bleeding has mostly stopped. I feel ok, other than sleepy and in need of being quiet and comfortable--sort of like having a cold when you're at the stage where it's really not that bad as long as you don't do anything. Except I have no other symptoms, except for still being partially numb--why use Novocain AND general anesthesia? Is the idea to give me some more time to heal before I feel any pain? Were they afraid I'd wake up in the middle? There's no pain now, only a kind of silence where the teeth used to be.

I hope they have little funerals for amputated teeth--they've served well, until recently--but I suspect they don't. I thought about asking for them. I could have had Chris play taps on his old trumpet while I buried them in the back yard. Mice would use them for calcium supplements, same as they used that whale skull that used to sit on the sand on the island. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, in pieces or all at once.

I woke gradually this morning, out of the anesthesia, like waking from sleep but even more slowly. It was like sleep, and therefor less weird than I thought it might be. Less scary. I remember the dentist putting an ice pack thing on my head, but I don't think that was the first thing I was conscious of. I remember somebody walking me out, but not who. I remember Chris driving me home...I didn't remember stopping at the grocery store, but I wasn't surprised when he offered me apple sauce that wasn't in the house yesterday, so I must have been conscious when he bought it. I remember Chris putting me to bed and generally taking care of everything--a nice feeling--trying to give me medicine I didn't know I was supposed to take, but I couldn't swallow it because my tongue wasn't working. I work up some hours later feeling more normal, but I still get wobbly when I stand for too long. Zebras and such on nature documentaries wake up from anesthesia much faster. I don't think I've had any tracking devices implanted--though the tape and gauze from the IV is still on my wrist and feels a little funny. I can pretend it's a radio transmitter. And, being a primate with dexterous hands, I'm going to take it off. Ha ha! Take that, researchers!

Two memories stand out from this morning, both from before the operation.

The first, as we were getting into the car, I saw a small black bird perched in--I think it was a young sweet gum, the ones whose dry, prickly fruits we called monkey balls when I was a kid--the bird looked a bit like a redwing blackbird, and I'd seen one in the yard a week or two ago, but I couldn't see the color of his wings from where I stood. He was going tweet! tweet! tweet! over and over, and I thought a REAL birder would know who he is just from the sound. It was a pretty glum thought, because I really wanted to know. Usually I don't care so much, but it was almost knowing that piqued my curiosity. I had to know if I was right. Plus, I might have seen the same bird before--maybe he's one of our neighbors? There are marshes fairly nearby, I usually see them in marshes.

And then he sang. And I knew the song!

I knew the song! The bookstore at the park sells bird toys that sing, and Chris brought one home for his dogs a few years ago, so I heard the song coming out of the right color pattern fairly often for a while. I guess I learned it! At least in context....I was so thrilled I bounced up and down in my seat in the car for a minute or so, while Chris complained about not having had his coffee yet. This is why I claim to be a morning person.

The other image that stands out is that when I got out of the car at the dentists' office, I noticed the Bradford pear in the parking lot had mostly shed its flowers, though it still has flower stems--it's getting ready to produce its little round berrylike pears, I guess. Like crab-pears, rather than crabapples? Bradford pears are those small trees often planted in parking lot medium strips and the like. They have dark, furrowed bark and shiny, pointed oval leaves, and they bloom snow-white in the spring all at once. They also have brittle, fragile limbs, which they like to drop in the middle of things during wind storms. They are slightly stupid trees to plant, therefor, but ah, their blooms are beautiful!

When I was at the office last week, the bloom was in full...well, bloom, I guess. There was a logistical complication and I couldn't get the procedure done that day. I had to reschedule. And in the time that it took to fix that mistake, the Bradford pear display had been and gone. One of the markers of season had changed over.

So many petals, grown, erupted, and shed, no longer needed, left to feed insects or wherever else we go. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, in pieces or all at once. It's a dance we all dance, and the dance persists.

-best, C.

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