Words of occasional wisdom from Bruce Oakley

An age of wonder

Posted by boakley59 on November 9, 2009

I like to say that I know the exact day I became old, because I remember the awards dinner Suzy and I attended in Dallas 11 years and two days ago. I remember the first sniffles and sneezes of an infection that weekend that marked the beginning of my life with Crohn’s, putting me in intensive care a few weeks later.

With the dark anniversary just passed, let me pause to take stock of my diminished life.

I don’t think I can really say how my health is these days. I am not in a hospital, and I can report that I am the “biggest Bruce ever,” 10 to 15 pounds heavier than what had been normal for my life before Crohn’s. And I am able to do things, so long as I am not doing them for long, or very intensely, or with any great attention. If I commit physically, mentally or emotionally to some activity — if I have stress — I fade fast.

I have abilities that have allowed me to do a lot of things with fairly light effort, but I like to think that endurance, the capability to stay at something or go at a high level for long stretches, was one of the things that usually helped me stand out from the pack. That particular Bruce has left the building, and only the one who can achieve with the lightest of effort remains. The former Bruce, if he resurfaces at all, finds himself in the hospital. So, I can be said to be “well,” for the top dog in the mailman patrol at our house, and I can still talk a good game, but I wish there were more substance than shadow.

I am struggling mightily to write, because I’m trying too hard and thinking too deep. I need to write a few short paragraphs at a time, like this post, and get going again. But I have been saying this for two years now.

As writing frustrates me, music calms and lifts me. I am fighting what used to be easy with words but finding healing in what used to be difficult with chords. Improving with my guitars and occasionally my banjo, I begin to yearn for even more. Music needs to be shared and explored. Jam sessions, singalongs, new instruments are out there somewhere, somewhen. I have dabbled at times with the mandolin, harmonica and even a recorder, and I am remembering them fondly. I must make more time for wonderful noise.

There is light and harmony under the shadow, if only I will rise against the gloom.


One Response to “An age of wonder”

  1. Jessica said

    Music…i connect with it too. It’s almost natural. And so soothing…i desperately want to learn how to play guitar.

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