Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Lost Horse Story and the Clock With No Hands

Yesterday, after waking up with a bad cold that just won't go away and is preventing me from volunteering with the babies at the daycare, I called and was surprised to be able to make an immediate appointment to see a nurse practitioner at the low-income clinic where I receive my medical care. After twenty minutes of driving through slow morning traffic, I arrived at the clinic. Some remodeling is being done there, and the large painting of Caesar Chavez by Alfredo Arreguin that is like a healing icon for me was no longer in its usual place in the busy waiting room.  I asked about the painting and was assured by one of the bilingual receptionists that it would be returned to the office after the remodel.

Soon, one of the many kind and compassionate medical assistants who work in this clinic called my name and accompanied me to an examination room where she asked questions, listened to the story of my lingering cold, weighed me and then took my temperature and blood pressure.  While she was entering information into a laptop on the counter, I suddenly became aware of the words "the lost horse" on the narrow spine of a book that was mixed in with a stack of magazines next to where I was sitting.  Reaching up, I fished for the book and found it to be what I had guessed it might be -- a children's book:

What I hadn't counted on was that it was by Ed Young, a children's book writer I am familiar with for his book titled Voices of the Heart:

The medical assistant, having completed her duties, let me know that the nurse practitioner would be by shortly.  She left the room, closing the door.

Already familiar with the Chinese folk tale which begins with the loss of a horse, I quickly read the story (take a look inside the book for a glimpse of the story, if you'd like) which does not contain the traditional Chinese moral that a loss may turn out to be a gain and a gain may turn out to be a loss.  Instead, it shows a young man and his father continuing to be open and conscious of the changing nature of life.

A few minutes later, the nurse practitioner knocked on the door and came in to ask more questions and examine me. To my great relief, she didn't automatically prescribe antibiotics, and she said that chances were pretty good that my cold would go away on its own.

On my way home I stopped at the Community Food Co-op to buy some food and continued on home to take a look at Vania Heymann's video "Like a Rolling Stone" which I hadn't been able to access earlier that morning because of internet slowness.  As with some of my many experiences with Bob Dylan's creative offerings over the years, my first impression was bewilderment.  I felt annoyed and couldn't roll along with it at all, but then there was that decisive moment of shifting consciousness where I suddenly remembered "TV Talkin' Song," followed up on that thought, and then returned to play with the interactive video with its many "channels." My favorite channel so far is the one with rapper Danny Brown.  I'd never heard of him before.  Because I don't watch TV, I don't have a clue as to the identities of most of the people who lip-sync "Like A Rolling Stone." It turns out that channels will continue to be added, and it appears that a channel was added not long before the video was released.  It contained recent devastating world news items in a surreal and unsettling way.

On the other hand, although I don't watch TV, I'm sitting in front of a computer screen for much longer periods of time than I ever sat in front of a television and for years I was paid to sit in front of a computer screen for a good part of my day.  Can I really say that I am not attached to something even more compelling than TV ever was?  Who am I fooling?

While playing with the channels on the video, a memory came to me from the early 1970s. I can recall walking from the outdoors into someone's living room and hearing Bob Dylan's voice coming from a record player and completely filling the smoke-filled air.  There was a TV turned on for all to see, but the sound was turned off. Bob Dylan's music was the soundtrack for whatever was on TV, some of it inane, some of it devastating.

This morning I came across these anonymous words:

"You never let me forget that this is a life-or-death situation, but paradoxically, you showed me how to laugh and have fun."

Just now I remembered another lost horse story.  Odd how creativity and illness are intertwined for me.

Time heals, after all -- although the clock that marks that kind of time has no hands.
(Suze Rotolo, from A Freewheelin' Time:  A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties)


Sabine said...

Nursing what probably (fingers crossed) is a variation of your cold, I found that video equally disturbing at first. I still do, somethings should not be messed with just because we can.
Get well soon!

The Solitary Walker said...

A truly exceptional post, Am. I did so enjoy reading that luminous prose of yours. And witnessing your intuitive thought processes and following those connections.

Dominic Rivron said...

I know what you mean, I think, about internet use rivalling past use of TV. At least the internet is interactive, I tell myself. I do watch quite a lot of "tv" on the internet, via (in Britain) BBC iPlayer.

It's that bad cold that won't go away time of year, I think. I've just got the nagging feeling I'm about to get one.

Nick said...

I'm so glad you didn't get prescribed antibiotics, they're totally ineffective against cold viruses - or indeed any virus. I love the idea of a clock without hands though, a perfect demonstration of time as a social convention rather than something real and immutable.

Tara said...

I like the way your mind works. The connections it makes, the big picture and the small moments all rolled into one.

Feel better, soon, I know it's the season for bad colds, and what is going around in my town has not affected me (cross fingers) thus far.

Anonymous said...

I love the Suzy Rotolo quote.

I hope you are feeling well now. Really glad that the nurse practitioner didn't prescribe antibiotics. Viruses require rest and maybe some soup. That's about it.

am said...

Sabine -- I haven't watched the video again, although I still think about it sometimes. Hope your cold is gone by now, too. Thank you for your kind wishes.

Solitary Walker -- Thank you for continuing to visit and read and encourage me in my creative efforts.

Dominic -- Hope you fought that cold off. I find that I feel depressed if I spend too much time interacting with the internet. There is a threshold for me where the good feeling stops, and I need to get up and do something else.

Nick -- Have you read Suze Rotolo's book? I like the way her mind works.

Tara -- Thanks for stopping by. It's good to be back in touch with you. The best thing about colds is how incredibly good I feel when they finally leave.

robin andrea -- Finally am feeling well again. Have just started re-reading the definitive edition of The Diary of Anne Frank and discovered that one of the pseudonyms she created for herself was Anne Robin, which made me think of you.

Goat said...

Really nice post, Am.

Since I (accidentally) messed with the remote here in my South Korean apartment, I've had no TV. This is the second time it's happened, but this time I didn't ask the landlady to fix it for me. It would only provide BBC or CNN news on endless loops to the point of madness. That was several months ago - now I spend HOURS each evening sitting on the floor in front of this laptop.

I do watch a fair bit of "TV" on it (cable TV series) but I'm fussy, and in my opinion certain types of TV (drama series mostly) have actually improved in recent years, to the point where I actually prefer them to movies because they're more involving and developed.

As I've gotten older, I've learned that visiting the doctor for anything like a cold is useful only for the acquisition of a certificate for work! And in Korea, if you'd gone in for your cold, you'd have ended up with a drip in your arm!

Still haven't seen that Dylan video (no sound on computer at work, always forget at home) but a friend recommended it. Tonight!