Friday, June 13, 2014

Gracefully, gratefully...

...aging.  A process I hope will be characterized by gradual decline and not a poorly timed free-fall.  I liken the process of aging to parenthood.  There is no written guidance, and no certain outcome aside from the inevitable taxable event.  Searching for the shaman of my golden years, I look with some reassurance at the paths of those who walk a bit ahead of me.  

Speaking of walking, I have been doing so every morning, very early.  The new light of day sweeps away the cobwebs clinging to my eyelids and once I get the motor started the body starts to move along fairly smoothly.  

Earlier this week while on the homeward end of my normal route, I had taken my glasses off because they darken, almost too much, in the sun.  As I walked I saw a medium sized white metal cage sitting beneath a tree about 5 or 6 feet off the road in an empty lot.  Inside was a smallish, dusky brown object with a pale stripe around its middle.  It was very still.  It seemed to be sitting, nose against the corner of the cage,  legs and feet tucked beneath its body.  

I was appalled, disturbed and dismayed that someone would be so cruel as to abandon their guinea pig on the side of the road.  I stopped and stared not knowing if I should call animal control or take the poor creature home with me.  I looked both ways up and down the street and saw no one of course.  This damnable act had been done under cover of darkness no doubt!  No water bottle, no food; was the poor thing even still alive?

With my heart pounding in my chest, I stepped a little closer.  I hate coming upon dead things.  Especially when they were once pets and deserving of decency of care.  Tentatively, I leaned closer to the cage, still standing in the street, toes braced against the curb.  

I had been standing here for several minutes at this point.  So far I had taken in some very concerning bits of information and I was faced with a decision I did not want to make.  So, leaning in, I put on my glasses.  After taking a closer look, I turned away quietly and walked the rest of the way home in the bright glow of the morning sunlight.

I like to think I have a reasonable grasp of reality, that I am fully cognizant of things as they are.  I like to feel as though I understand my limitations and have clarity around my strengths and capabilities.  It is beyond me what the child (presumably) had in mind, putting a plush football in a cage, and leaving it beside the road.  But I hope the parents take that as a sign that this youngster is not ready to assume responsibility for the care of a small caged animal.  And let me assure you that I never leave the house without my glasses.

Sunday, June 8, 2014


"But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane [you aren't alone]
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley, [often go awry]
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promised joy. "  --Robert Burns

Who planned for their life to this point in time?  If you had asked me when I was about to graduate from high school where I would be in 30-plus years the answer would have been - not here.

I might have agreed upon family, career and a comfortable life.  I may have pictured myself as I am, on the west coast rather than hunkered down amidst my east coast origins.  But nearly everything else has been a best laid scheme.

The human mind likes a plan.  Thoughts revolve around what we want to have, where we want to go and what we want to do next weekend.  Is foresight really vain?  Like the mousie of Mr. Burns' poem, I set about to build my nest without a thought of it being unearthed by anything.

And yet I have to tell you I am more than happy, more than blessed, more than fortunate.  Why you ask?  Why and how could you be considering, well, so many things you have been through?

I have literally had people look me in the eye and say, "I thought I had a rough life until I heard about what you go through."  And so, it is best not to rely on others' for uplifting sentiments.

I my friend have everything I need.  Even in moments that are less than glorious, I have wealth at hand that never fades and will not pale against a stormy day.  I cannot point to a book, or a person, or a solitary concept without embracing the entirety of creation in my riches.

Needless to say that grief and pain are painted into the artist's work, but so is promised joy.