Saturday, March 17, 2012

Wet and wonderful (and Super Chicken's warning)

A wet day in southern California, the place where, according to the song, it never rains. Fortunately, occasionally (but sadly, too occasionally), it does indeed rain.

I stuck my head out the back door this morning, during one of the brief moments of no rainfall. I was greeted by a gust of very happy, very fresh air—the sort of glorious breeze that graces L.A. all too rarely but brought back many memories of springtime glory in Connecticut, a state that actually has real seasons. And a most beautiful sight: my red-leafed Japanese maple, which had been sorely taxed by last summer's brutal heat, was simply exuding happiness at being watered by the sky. It was always happy to be watered, but plants really like the water that the sky provides them better than the stuff that comes out of the hose, functional and wet though it be.

I crave that sort of marvelous, miraculous "instant renewal," like the one my Japanese maple is very clearly enjoying. It doesn't just look happy—you can feel its happiness at the current weather. The wonderful spring-fresh moist air is indeed bounteous, but the temperature is way too low for me; I'm not just heat sensitive, as many of us M.S.ers are—and heat-sensitive, I definitely am—, I'm also cold sensitive. Which means that I get very cold very quickly, and the low temperature makes walking even more difficult than it normally is.

I'm sure there's something philosophical here—enjoy the renewal that the air offers, pay the price of the temperature but it's worth it, enjoy that fresh air, enjoy the dawning of spring! But damn I'm cold.

I spent seven years in Connecticut, in a city on the Atlantic coast. I remember how happy we'd be when it warmed up enough to snow (below 28F, you don't get snow, you get ice). I think of my friends in Chicago, and here I am complaining about 50-something as "cold." Time was, that'd be T-shirt weather, because only a month or so previously, it'd have been half that temperature.

Well, that's life with M.S. for you. The good part about it is that you become way more sensitive to your body. The bad part about it is that you become way more sensitive to your body. Then again, the Taoists warned us about that, too; the original meaning of yin and yang are, respectively, the dark side of the mountain and the bright side of the mountain. The two sides of the same mountain: Darkness and light are inseparable; can't have one without the other.

A life of increased awareness is definitely a gift of M.S. What that awareness brings into your consciousness... well, that's another matter; and really, what we face is as much "human condition" as disease process. Even if a cure for M.S. someday appears in a bubble like the Blue Fairy, ain't nothing for us to do about the human condition.

As Super Chicken told his sidekick Fred, "You knew the job was dangerous when you took it."

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