Coming out of the fog…

This  area of eastern Oregon, once desert land now known for its agriculture, is also known for its winter fog.  In the late fall the shortening days are encaptured in very thick fog. The idioms “Thick as pea soup” or “Its so thick you can cut it with a knife” come to mind as word illustrations for the fog.

As it gets colder the freezing fog sticks to anything that isn’t  moving.  My horses have frozen fog on  tuffs of winter hair  sprouting from their ears. Rusty barbed wire becomes a crystal jewel of frozen delight for the photographer’s eye.  Tumbleweeds  piled high  along  fence lines and sequestered in corners of the yard remind me of  the white flocked Christmas trees mom put up in the  living room of my childhood home.

Fog sticks to sidewalks, to pavement, to flagpoles, glazing over these dull surfaces with  dangerous sheen.  Travel advisories warn of “black ice” and children scream in delight when the early morning call of “No school due to inclement weather” rings through the house.

During the last 13 winters of my career life a 35  minute commute taught me to drive in fog. I did not think I complained about fog. Yet I must have commented enough that my supervisor mentioned it in an employee evaluation. (She also made a number of other random and untrue  comments about my work performance before revealing the true report, but that’s a whole story in itself)

The winter daylight dawned late and the sun slipped away too early  leaving me no natural light to drive to and from work. There were many days like this, driving in dark in fog on the black  ice covered freeway.   Truck off the shoulder and into the ditch on the right.   Passenger vehicle rolls onto stage center left and comes to a rest on its roof.    The more cautious drivers  carefully skirted the accidents and were suddenly alarmed by a 4 wheel drive  monster pick-up barreling  past at 60 mph. It was red. Speeders and maniacs always drive red vehicles.  ( I now have drive a red car) Thirteen winters and I never wrecked.

Static images  appearing out of the fog  become comforting  landmarks.
The flashing light  ahead and slightly up in the sky is actually a cell tower.  This lump of black on the right is a sagebrush. There, up ahead, there’s the  little house that leaves Christmas lights up all winter. In spite of fog and black ice and maniac drivers and wrecks  I had  a sense  of where I was.

I never wrecked.

I felt some comfort having a sense of where I was.

There is a slight elevation gain before Interstate 84 drops down into Pendleton.  Its there where Hope Floats! (not the movie, it just sounded good to write Hope floats)  A break in the low cloud cover reveals the  lightening sky.  White stripes appear against the dark blue  as  jets make their way east into the blaring sunrise.

Escaping from work a little early,  I  borrowed my dad’s little pickup to go night skiing at Spout Springs. Of course, there was fog.   The road was covered in ice and the little Nissan’s fog lights barely pierced the thick grey crud.  Yet just above eye level it was clear and I could see the twinkling  of a million stars in the black black sky.  It created a strange sensation and my eyes became conflicted…
the road or the sky…safety or beauty? Where do I look?

I was conflicted.

Amazing transformations occur when we leave the fog.  The  sudden burst of blinding sunshine puts us in our darkest moment.  And then we are there, in the sunlight.  Such warmth and freedom and truth. St Paul was traveling towards Damascus.  He was not a very good guy.  He persecuted Christians.  Riding along  he entered a territory known for its “light”.  He entered his darkest moment when he was struck by the bright light. The “blindness” of that moment knocked him off his horse, to his knees. And then, he opened his eyes to “see” the “light” that was Christ

Foggy or not, its so easy to get lost in life. Wandering.  Not able to really see where to go. Driving too fast and hard on “slippery slopes”.  Ending  up in the ditch where the foul stuff and garbage  accumulates.   Tipped over upside down and needing help to be extricated from the wreck. Feeling conflicted between security and safety and beauty and the excitement of danger. It may get really dark.  In fact we may become totally “blind” before the “light” reaches us

My sis-in-love MaryRose recently made a Facebook post of the song “Never Been Unloved” by Michael W Smith.  This song reminds me that no matter how we travel in the fog…on the road into the ditch… needing help to be “extricated”… and even tho there is some comfort along the way…familiar sage brush, a blinking light in the sky…a second or so of clear sky overhead…we are always welcome to return to the Light…we are never far away from His love…
I have been unfaithful
I have been unworthy
I have been unrighteous
And I have been unmerciful
I have been unreachable
I have been unteachable
I have been unwilling
And I’ve been undesirable
And sometimes I have been unwise
I’ve been undone by what I’m unsure of
But because of you
And all that you went through
I know that I have never been unloved
I have been unbroken
I have been unmended
I have been uneasy
And I’ve been unapprochable
I’ve been unemotional
I’ve been unexceptional
I’ve been undecided
And I have been unqualified
Unaware – I have been unfair
I’ve been unfit for blessings from above
But even I can see
The sacrifice You made for me
To show that I have never been unloved
Unaware – I have been unfair
I’ve been unfit for blessings from above
But even I can see
The sacrifice You made for me
To show that I have never been unloved
It’s because of you
And all that you went through
                    I know that I have never been unloved         
                           

                                                            My friends..Live on in the Light.

Walking out of the morning fog on the Camino de Santiago Sept 2015

Published by Carol Clupny, author The Ribbon of Road Ahead: One Woman's Remarkable Journey with Parkinson's Disease

I am a middle aged woman with Parkinson's Disease. When I was first diagnosed I spent a lot of time researching the disease. Seeing a video of a man in the advanced stages of the disease attempting to get out of his chair and then "freezing" as he tried to walk across the room got me off my butt and moving. Great adventures on the Camino de Santiago and with TEAM Pedaling for Parkinson's across IOWA, as well as the day to day adventures of life have lead me to writing. My first novel, a memoir, was published early 2019. It is called, you got it THE RIBBON OF ROAD AHEAD. Living with the degenerative neurological disease Parkinson's, ULTREIA is a word that guides me. I have chosen it as the name of my business ULTREIA BOOKS. It comes from Latin and old French and means "unfailing courage". In the old days, pilgrims would call "Ultreïa" to each other as encouragement "Go up, go further!" Nowadays we would say "You can do this thing". It takes courage to live with Parkinson's. May I face each day with unfailing courage. Ab Here is more about me; I was living an active lifestyle riding horses, hiking, climbing and snow skiing when at age fifty she was diagnosed with Parkinsons. Retiring from her career as a speech-language pathologist she decided to “take to the road” to battle the disease. Her first steps, walking out her door to the mailbox, lead to trekking over 1000 miles of pilgrimage trails on the Camino de Santiago in France and Spain. A dusty bike discovered in the garage resulted in four rides on the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa with the Pedaling for Parkinsons Team. These adventures inspired her to write a memoir The Ribbon of Road Ahead: One Woman’s Remarkable Journey with Parkinson’s Disease. Carol blogs about her everyday life as a middle-aged woman in the mid-stages of Parkinson’s disease. Her honest, humorous and casual narrative style brings the reader to an intimate understanding of Carol’s resilience and acceptance. Her blog, sharing the name of her book ”The Ribbon of Road Ahead” can be found at www.ultreiablog.org After completing a Masters of Science in Speech Pathology from Eastern Washington University Carol received certification in School Leadership and Administration from Lewis and Clark College. She provided speech pathology services and was a program director for 32 years in the wide geographic expanse of eastern Oregon. Active in the Oregon Speech-Language and Hearing Association she received honors of the association and the presidential award for her work on recruitment and retention of speech and hearing professionals. Carol presented numerous papers and projects at local, state and regional professional conferences. She was appointed by Governor Ted Kulongoski to two terms of the Oregon Board of Examiners of Speech Pathology and Audiology, the state’s licencing and consumer protection agency. Since her diagnosis in 2008, Carol has become active in the Parkinson’s Community as an advocate, an Ambassador for the Davis Phinney Foundation and support group facilitator for Parkinson's Resources of Oregon. She was appointed the regional patient representative for the Parkinson's Foundation’s Women with PD TALK study. In September of 2019 the Michael J Fox Foundation selected Carol to participate in the Parkinson’s Policy Forum in Washington DC. As an attendee at the World Parkinson Congress in 2016 in Portand, Oregon, Carol presnted a poster session examining the decision making process for patients considering deep brain stimulaiton. At the 2019 WPC in Kyoto, Japan she presented a poster on vision concerns of women with PD and lead small group discussions. Her book The Ribbon of Road Ahead has provided many speaking opportunities for Carol. In 2019 and early 2020 she visited 24 support groups in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and California to share her thoughts on living well with the disease. In addition, she has presented talks for The Center on Aging in San Francisco, Parkinson's Place in Las Vegas, Northwest Parkinson's Foundation in Richland WA and virtually through their HOPE online program. In late 2020 she rejuvenated her voice and narrated her book. It became available as an audio book in 2021. As part of this project she read stories over the airwaves on RadioParkies Australia with DJ Madonna and in Great Britain with DJ Johnny Parky. She and her husband Charlie have two adult sons. They live on a small hobby farm in eastern Oregon. Contact Information: Carol Clupny PO BOX 128, Hermiston, OR 97838 caclupny@gmail.com (541) 720-4256

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