Sunday, July 27, 2008

Betty Davis Eyes

This weekend, I've been thinking about eyes.

One of the primary ways that I define myself is as a reader. And while I know that one can read with fingertips as well as with eyes, for me, my eyes are, I think, more crucial than any other sense. I spend most of the day, every day, seeing, reading, looking. My sense of sight is crucial to my comfort with my moon in Taurus; my Younger Self needs to see my surroundings: the wallpaper on my walls, the flowers and trees, and the dance between sunlight and shade in my garden. And so many acts of love and pleasure, which, for me, are rituals of the Goddess, involve sight: Son's strong back, DiL's swingy new haircut, reading a book to G/Son, both of us commenting upon what's happening in the pictures as well as in the written story.

Earlier this month, G/Son spent a weekend w/ me -- and it was the kind of weekend that sends me home going, "OK, Goddess. Yes. Thank you for chemo. Thank you for whatever it took to get me to this point, to let me have this weekend, for the ability to dig my fingernails into the cliff and just HANG ON so that I could get to here, you crazy Bitch, You." G/Son was, his doctor assured Son and DiL, over his bout of pink eye and fine to be around other people. I didn't even have to give him the eye drops that made him cry.

We had the best time ever.

Three days later I got a bad summer cold and I figured that I'd caught it from G/Son and I figured: cheap at the cost. Rumi:

I would love to kiss you.
The price of kissing is your life.
Now my loving is running toward my life shouting,
What a bargain, let's buy it.

Gradually, my sore throat got better and my runny nose got better and my cough got better and almost everything got better but my eyes kept getting worse. Sometimes, I am a dense, silly, old woman. Finally, about midnight last night (of course, it's ALWAYS midnight on a Saturday, isn't it?) I realized: I not only caught a cold, I caught pink eye.

I did reiki on my eyes and it was some of the best reiki I've ever done. I felt the same heat pouring out of my hands, into my eyes, that I felt the first time I ever had reiki, when my madcap friend R. did reiki on my broken ankle and I felt heat pouring out of her hands, through a thick plaster cast, into my broken bones.

And I couldn't begin to sleep.

I got up, got dressed, drove to the 24-hour pharmacy and begged the pharmacist to give me something. I admit, I considered going to the emergency room, but that's v. expensive and my experience from a few years ago, with an infected ear, is that nice old ladies in an emergency room on Saturday night tend to get to wait until, well, it's triage, and I understand it, and when I show up with a stroke or a heart attack I want to move to the front of the room, too, but, IMH experience, an old lady with pink eye isn't going to get taken care of at the emergency room until the inexperienced intern is v, v, v exhausted, the old lady is kicking herself for not staying in bed, and the sun is making mad love to the Eastern sky.

And, even then, in the middle of the night, exhausted, in misery with my eyes itching and watering and sore, there She was. A huge, just-short-of-half Moon, orange and low on the horizon, magic and, as always, My Mother, There for Me, hanging in the sky, invoking everything deep and delightful and making me glad that conjunctivitis kept me up all night and drove me from my bed to my car. And maybe that's, looking forward and looking back, eyes blue with spice, St. Alia of the Knife aware within her Mother's womb, maybe that's what it really means to be a witch. To see the Mystery and the Magic and the Meaning even in the very midst of pain and misery and physical deterioration. And to revel in it.

The pharmacist didn't do what I wish he'd done, which was to tell me, "Sorry, lady, you are SOL." He sold me some dumb drops that did fuckall nothing and that I am going to bury this week as a way of eliminating ineffective bullshit from my life. Creep.

Finally, the sun came up and I did something I almost never, never do; I called my doctor on a weekend. Here's how long it's been since I did this. I expected to get a number for an answering service. There's a job that's gone the way of the buggy whip manufacturer and the lady who laces the stays in your whalebone corset. Of course, now, you just leave a message and your doctor gets an email and she calls you back within, like, 20 seconds and calls a prescription into the pharmacy and, in less time than it takes to adjust to the 21st century, you go pick up eye drops.

Sweet Mother, thank you.

I imagine that dozens of my ancestresses must have had pink eye or its equivalent. They may have spent weeks in absolute misery. For me, one dose -- one dose -- of eye drops brought relief from one of the most maddening infections EVER. By the second dose, I felt well enough to begin knitting, reading, sitting at my altar. I'm still contagious, but won't be tomorrow. Am I grateful to the scientists and doctors who developed this drug? Does a witch dance in the woods?

Do you ever do magic that moves across time? I do. I started doing it when I was in law school, applying for jobs, and kept getting the sense that an older and "living in the future" Me had thrown magic back to me to use as a lifeline, was doing magic in the future that reached back to Me in the "present." And since then, I've done it "both ways." My "present" Self often throws magic back to my younger Self, to help her through, and to my "future" Self to help her, as well.

And, today, I can't shake the notion that, back in some cave, or hovel, or shack, or on some ancient, nomadic trail, or that off in some terraformed, cradle-to-cradle foundation, from some future time/place, from a distant star that still shines/will shine upon Earth's Moon, some ancestress of mine, finally healed of conjunctivitis or some other infection of the eye, threw some magic forward/back to me, here, now, in the 21st Century, in desperate need of healing. Or that, some future Self, looking back/forward, as I always try to do when I feel this kind of a-chronological healing, to me, here, Now, threw some serious science/magic/advanced-enough-there's-no-difference back to me, to me, depending upon my eyes.

May it be so for you.


Anne Johnson said...

My grandma was very old when I became a teenager, and I used to ask her weird questions, like, "How did they cure urinary tract infections when you were young?" Almost always the "treatments" she described sounded worse than the illness itself. And I wonder if that was just the point: after suffering through an hour in a boiling bathtub, she was probably relieved of her symptoms for awhile. I never asked her about pinkeye. I wonder what they did about it ... how bad it can get ... I imagine it could blind you if you were otherwise in poor health.

I who am about to receive a new titanium hip can truly say I'm glad to live now, and not in the past ... when I'd be completely crippled in two years ... and not in the future, when they'll say, "While you're getting the hip done, do you want us to rejuvenate all your internal organs so you'll live another 200 years?"

I'm glad you're better.

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