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Migraines, Grandmothers, and Butterflies

The rain is demonstrating my relatively new vocabulary item: “atmospheric river”. It’s a constant flow of wetness that makes going outside an unattractive prospect. But I don’t really want to go outside anyway since I’m feeling a bit ill. Both rain and pain are excuses that keep me inside without feeling obligated (or even inclined) to experience the outdoors.

My current body dysphoria can go under the category of what I now call a migraine. I used to think I was getting strange, recurring sinus infections, since the pain largely occupied the area between my nose, eyebrows, cheeks, and the back of my eyeballs. But eventually several online articles and my doctor suggested it was not a sinus thing, but a brain thing. I wrote a poem this morning trying to describe the migraine experience, but I don’t know if it’s as shareworthy as it was cathartic.

In some weird synchrony, while writing the migraine poem, I thought of how the Russian words for “grandmother” and “butterfly” sound the same to English-speaker’s ears. A Russian-speaker I knew once said a word to me while pointing to a butterfly, and I responded, “Grandmother?” When I said to him that бабочка (butterfly) and бабушка (grandmother) sounded like the same word, he frown-smiled, shaking his head and communicating “not really”.

I suppose when you know a language, similar-sounding words still have a clear distinction due to years of use and association. “Clark” and “clerk” are words that, when pronounced clearly and said in a context, I probably would not get confused with each other, while someone who didn’t speak English as a first language might. There are many examples I’m sure I could think of if I put effort into it. But my current preference is not to exert myself too much.

I am reminded of my 80’s & 90’s aerobics exercise experiences, and how often there would be two instructors at the front of a class. One would be doing moves at full throttle, jumping and leaping, reaching and lunging with unassuaged gusto, while the other executed similar but moderated moves. That was the person the main teacher would refer to when saying, “And remember to go low-impact if you need to!”

So it’s a low-impact day. I’ve probably used this concept in some of my archival blogs, since it’s one that often occupies my brain when I’m feeling some iteration of low energy. It’s a good way for me to remember that all movement is valid, even if it’s not as exuberant as it could be. I’m also a big fan of naps – sometimes the actual stopping of activity is what is needed. But so far today I have been content within that zone of moderation between fully functioning and asleep.

So far, I got the beginnings of two poems out of the day. Their working titles are Migraine and Grandmother/Butterfly. If/when I get them formed into something presentable, I will post them under Poems.

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World Spring (Airport Poetry)

One sun, one moon.
One song, many tunes.
One soul, many minds.
One human, many kinds.

Bright light behind clouds,
Life is hidden under shrouds.
When we travel in dark places,
We see “strange” in other faces.

Dear moon, dear sun,
Shine your light on everyone.
Your source is ours, too.
In its glow we spring anew.

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Time Sharing (Airport Poetry)

Hello Dear One!
This is your day!
You will need to share it
With others, of course,
But that will not
Diminish your portion.
In fact,
Every One you include,
Triples what you receive.
Your day is our day is yours,
In a spiral that leads
To the sun.

(One portion originally written:
“But that won’t make your share
Any smaller.
In fact, every one you include
Triples the amount you receive,”)

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Relative (Airport Poetry)

I am your sister.
The metaphorical DNA test
Came back positive.
We have the same eyes,
The same origins,
Similar gestures
And predilections.
We breathe the same air,
Soak up the same sunshine,
And walk on the same earth,
In this,
Our family home.
So nice
To finally meet you!

(Update: I like “compatible predilections”)

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Cali Encapsulation

I slept in my own bed last night, benefitting from the warmth, physical and emotional, emanating from my husband. The hour-plus drive from the airport to our home felt like a few minutes, filled with catch-up conversation.

My 5ish days in California were ones of obligatory rest and passenger-ship. I sat in chairs, in cars, in restaurants, I walked with no particular timeline to get somewhere, I was led across sidewalks and asphalt driveways by a tiny dog on a forward mission to smell the world. I spent quality time talking with my brother-in-law, my sister, and my nephew, chatting about their lives, and watching educational and/or humorous television.

The outdoor temperature was lower than I originally expected for the majority of my stay in CA, but the daytime skies were big and generous with sunshine. It felt like love. Rain did visit in prolific quantities on a day I had planned to pull weeds, but there was plenty of television to partake of instead, along with good company and snacks, so I was content.

The going-there part of the trip included a 6-hour wait for my plane at the airport. I planned ahead to fill my long airport intermission with writing poetry and leaving it in random places to be found by strangers. I will post those on the poetry page, linked above, with their titles followed by the designation “Airport Poetry”.

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I’m going to visit my sister in California tomorrow! My suitcase contains clothes and travel size toiletries, my purse contains masks and makeup and money, and my mind has plans for packing the last-minutes like: computer, phone, chargers, earbuds, etc.

Doug showed me the visual weather report for American Canyon, the town I’ll be in, and I was met with a line of round, yellow sun symbols, unhindered by cloud shapes or disproportionally large raindrops. Sunshine and almost 70 degrees is a fast-forward into the heart of spring/pre-summer for me.

I suspect a continuous state of sunshininess will hit me like a healing drug. It happens now when I am granted an hour of morning sunshine before the clouds move in, or when the clouds move away for a few hours for an afternoon sunbreak. And yesterday, I felt elated to see that we were eating dinner before the sun had set. Winter is often my shut-down time, my hibernatory 3 to 4-month reboot. But I see hints of awakening motivation on the horizon. A week’s worth of sun might just jump start me into full wakeup mode.