Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Triumph and disaster

Last evening. Long June sunset shadows. I love June's evening light. I love that I'm alive and sane enough to love June's evening light. Yet another line in my logbook of gratitudes.


If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same...
If, Rudyard Kipling, circa 1895


I'm writing this hours after writing the passage below. Today was a day rife with the appearance of the two impostors. By and large, I treated them just the same. Not perfectly, not exactly. But pretty much the same.

The quality of my day was wonderful. It was a living day. What a blessing!


Here's something I struggle with. So let me describe a bit of the struggle, perhaps with some cogent and useful analysis.
I woke in the night with a lot of nerve pain. Shooting, burning, aching, stabbing, numb, hot, electric, prickly, etc. A real kaleidoscope of yuck.

I knew why. I pushed it too hard yesterday so far as the nerve impingement goes. Specifically, I ran/hiked too hard.

I really struggle with finding the right balance.

On the one hand, "rest" is exactly the wrong thing to do. When I rest and am inactive, in fact when I put in fewer than 10,000 steps (thanks gearfit ii!), I have way more pain and mobility problems than when I'm physically active. In other words, I get all of the pain misery with the bonus gift of feeling like crap physically and not getting anything done. That's a real bummer and the physical and emotional/mental price is too high to pay, at least when there's an alternative.

On the other hand, if I push it too hard I tend to have a lot of pain, and that's no fun. The pain carries a special burden of physical and mental/emotional cargo. So much fear and resentment and selfishness!

And with the pain there's always the siren call of the opiates. Opiates make bearing the pain easier, but there is a huge cost associated with using them. That cost is the thing they do to my mind and soul. They alter my thinking and rearrange my sense of duty. They let the extremely selfish me step forward, and that dude has a very bad and harmful attitude. That dude is ever ready to violate foundational principles in pursuit of egocentric goals. That dude has no use whatever for God. That dude sees other ape-lizards as things to be used rather than full-up equal ape-lizards to be treated according to the dictates of the Golden Rule and Kant's Categorical Imperative. I do not like that dude. That dude is exactly Hitler and Stalin and the rest of the genocidal Lord of the Flies gang. So there are times when I reach for the hydrocodone (generic vicodin I believe). I almost always put it back. When the pain is bad enough, I take one and it helps with the pain. But I know I'm on the bubble for 24 hours or so, and I know that I must work extra hard to stay close to God during that time. The hydrocodone defeats the pain, kinda-sorta, and that's a good thing. But then I must work very hard to keep my mind and heart and soul together. In very many ways it's harder work than just enduring and dealing with the pain.

I'm not talking about addiction, at least not exactly. I've taken exactly four hydrocodone in the last six months. I can understand how and why the stuff is addictive though. When the pain ebbs it's a euphoric feeling. And there's that opiate something that just alters my brain for 24 hours. Alters it in a bad way. In a way that chases me out of the sunlight of the spirit and into a place I don't like and do fear.

I'm afraid I'm not describing my struggle well. That's perhaps not unsurprising considering the fact that I don't understand it very well myself.

In essence, I struggle to find balance in dealing with this pain. I wish there was an always reproducible sweet spot of physical and mental/emotional/spiritual activity which would always yield a perfect or near-perfect outcome. But there isn't. I'm a living, ever changing, mortal being. I exist in a dynamic and kinetic realm where every bit of my life and my place in the world is ever changing. To survive and thrive I must adapt and persevere. I must stick close to God and do my best. I must be willing to suffer and endure, and I must be willing to enjoy and embrace.

It's a struggle. But you have to be alive to struggle. I am alive, and despite my complaining I am utterly in love with my path and my existence. It's hard but it's not too hard, and many of my fellows walk a much harder path yet remain solidly in the sunlight of the spirit. When I truly embrace my existence I walk a path which feels like heaven on earth.


Enough with the struggle already, and on with the show.

Lots of pain in the night and gimping around this morning was pretty crappy. I took NSAID's and acetaminophen and kept on keeping on. Gradually the pain ebbed and I moved better. Not perfectly, but better and with very little pain. This was delightful.

Red and I unintentionally stirred up an interesting and unexpected mini-shitstorm with the cattle.

Treated canada thistle and a brief discussion of plant/ecosystem stuff. My phone cut out unexpectedly due to overheating. I'd placed it on the dash board for 5-10 minutes. The sun is hot!

Long, rambling explanation of my feelings in the moment about larkspur. There are some great images in this video so turn off the sound and enjoy the moving pictures!

Not many things better than reptile hunting with the pros on a brilliant June day!

Those funnel shaped depressions are antlion traps.

Green Racer (Coluber constrictor) showing the milky blue eye of a snake preparing to shed its skin.

Beautiful snake.

Catch and release...

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.


  1. As a regular NPR listener, there was one report saying that opiates IN FACT can permanently alter your brain into a chemical dependency, and also, the conflict of interest of pharmaceutical profits vs. the well being of the thousands who were prescribed such medications?

    One idea from a book about Dr. Max Gerson: there is more pharmaceutical profit from and endless treatment of the symptoms versus providing a one time cure...

    1. They seem to twist my mind the wrong way. Never liked 'em.

      OTOH, when you have enough pain they are good to have around.

      We've got a very sick health care system but the sickness is a reflection of a deeper malady affecting the nation. Free people sleep in the bed they've made for themselves.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting cT!

  2. Err...from *the* endless treatment of the symptoms...

    As far as trials and tribulations go, i’ve heard of some dude with a funny name...”Job” i think it was. I myself am nowhere near as righteous and upstanding as him, and thus, my own trials and tribulations have been dissimilar enough from his, and also yours.

    and life goes on.

    1. It's important to keep things in the proper context and the bible is a great source of context!