This past week and a half I have been shapeshifting between grounded reality and elusive fantastical dream. Some moments I am in peaceful repose nestled in both worlds adjusted to the normalacy within the the odd, the strange and the poignant. O_'s presence shadows mine, her reality weaving and bobbing with my own. I imagine that her fantasic dream now spans both her waking and dreaming hours- and now she invades mine too. The other night I awoke to find her lost in my room confused, as I was-- thinking she was a nurse on nightly rounds. Another night I rose to discover a darkened huddled figure fumbling by my cabinets, I dreamed it was O_ only to have her transform into the aide on duty. Adjusting to this new existence has been a bit like putting on a new pair of prescription glasses, there is gentle pressure on both the eyes and brain as the new lenses coerce the old ways of seeing to let go. With this focus there is a deepening and a sinking and unlike a pair of eyeglasses which mainly sharpens the view, this way of being seems to simultaneously rouse and relax the whole of me.
When I used to go camping on a sort of yearly retreat I would go with minimal accoutrement. Being that the intent was to empty out to fill up, I would bring the bare essentials when it came to food. My stand by was water, a few hard boiled eggs, apples, celery and an avocado. In the spacious silence and rest my modest refreshments would come alive with a new attention to details. My stay reminds me of that time, first because there is a general absence of what the majority think of as creature comforts and second because of this special zoomed in attention. While I am excited to be here to rebuild muscle strength, most of the other inhabitants are not as thrilled. The majority are elderly and feeble and their stay is the result of an accident or illness that most likely forecasts admittance into a nursing home. For some the loss of independence has been fast and harsh. For others like myself, the change has been somewhat kinder. While the staff work tirelessly and with admirable amounts of cheer there is seemingly little left for all that needs to come together to make home. Yet we are all scrapping together what we can to create it.
Past the peas and carrots, behind the lack of privacy and indulgence, through the powerfully compelling stories of heartbreak and loss is the wonder and magnificence of Scooby snacks. I was introduced to a few without even knowing it, delighted nonetheless. But now that I have a name, I juggle the words about in my head and taste the syllables upon my tongue to play and muse. My first came to me in the form of three orange foiled Lindt truffles. B_ explained to me earlier that a friend would come by later that week with "cannonballs", giant chocolate globes filled with warm gooey centers. A few days later he triumphantly produced a small red goodie bag filled with these cacao delights. He offered me three, a good portion of the booty. Suffice to say that B_ has lived a hard life and lived without much for the majority of it. The fact that he can be so generous within the weight of deprivation speaks volumes. Humbled, I treasured each morsel and thrilled every time for those few moments when my insides and outsides would touch and merge awash in a chocolate velvet dream. Scooby two occured when I was treated to my choice at the vending machine. After a few indecisive moments I selected sodium rich cheetos and within short seconds I honed in and devoured the crunch, color and salt off of each making up for past repasts. Lastly we come to J_, tall wiry nurse who reminds me of one of two kinds of grade school cafeteria worker. Though of a certain age she sports long hair with a thick fringe of bang and I just know she is kooky fun and wears purple in her off hours. Comrades in the way of food, the love of desserts and treats--she invites me to partake in snacks, scooby snacks as named by her grandchildren, to be precise. First it was individual carrot cakes with cream cheese frosting baked in aluminum heart molds, then it was a wonderful wedge of Carvel ice cream cake frosted in cobalt blue and red piped cream and last night was dense rich coconut cream pie smattered with a generous helping of toasted flakes of sun. While it has been a long time since watching that psychedelic mystery solving cartoon of the 70's, I like connecting the colorful treats that have been appearing with the whimsy and play and innocence of the show. In this new surreal landscape of in-between, there is no distraction from the bigness and shine of the outer world. Everything is closer in, tucked to the heart like a beautiful secret, full of treat and surprise.