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Monday, April 26, 2010

What is in your wood pile?

Big Dog Nola and Little Dogs Petey and Daisy spend a couple of hours every day in the outside kennels, keeping an eye on things, barking at chickens and goats, getting fresh air and sleeping in the sun. These dog kennels have a six foot by six foot run in the front like an enclosed porch, and insulated room in the back with a window, a pitched roof with shingles, mats to lie on, water buckets, chew bars, bones, etc. There is one for the big dog and one for little dogs. When it's time to go in, Big Dog gets a fifteen minute vigorous exercise with four frisbees, almost constant running at full tilt. She tells me when she's finished by taking a frisbee, walking toward her kennel and indicating she wants to go in and get a drink. Then she lies down and pants, and watches as I play frisbee with Daisy and Petey wanders around, marking his territory. We go inside when everyone is finished for an evening of tv watching and lounging on the sofa.

The other day, when Nola had collapsed inside her kennel for her rest, and I let Petey and Daisy out, they went immediately to the wood pile. I thought, MY GOOD DOGS watched a rat or mouse go into that wood pile! They are hunting! Good dogs! Smart Dogs! They dug in the wood and growled. They pulled boards out with their teeth, working as a team. I thought - I will just let them do this, get their "dog' on. After about three minutes, Petey emerged triumphant. With a dill pickle.

I took it from him, but not after he had swallowed a big chunk of it. It was cold, fresh, crisp and yes, a six inch Kosher dill. Dogs can eat dill pickles but not keep them down, because while I was eating dinner an hour later, he threw up green chunks.

This is why I do not write fiction, although my family thinks I do. My mother and my sisters call my blogs 'little stories' and my mother is sure most of them did not happen at all. My kids say things happened completely differently for them, than me. We all seem to remember the same thing, but in different ways. I am the only one who writes them down = that is my offense.

I am still obsessing about writer's groups and what I have heard in them. People write about vampires, werewolves, fairies, space, mysterious elements, ghosts, miraculous adventures, made up romances, character sketches of people they don't know, imaginary conversations with historical characters, all kinds of flights of fancy.

I am convinced these people do not have pickles in their wood piles. I DO. Dead deer appear under my car overnight. Hot water kettles get run over in the driveway.Strange men appear under my window at 2am, singing rock songs. Motor cycle axles get stuck in my ice maker.

On Saturday night, I had dinner with some dear friends and John said, Let the sails set your course, not the gale. I understand his intention. But the gale sends me to the places where pickles appear out of nowhere, and goats eat your hammock and that is my Wonderland.

It sounds like chaos, but actually, these pickles are always about the bigger issues. Strange singing men bring to me an understanding of loneliness. Goats eating hammocks put me in mind of good intentions to take care of myself that get forgotten. The pickle reminds me that I am not the center of the universe.

So life is a series of shocking realizations brought about by the unexpected, for me. I have been trying to get a handle on the mess that I made of my life while recovering from Charles' sudden death and the way that brought the issues that were just percolating along before to a 'Come to Jesus Moment.' I guess some people have a midlife crisis. I have a midlife pickle in a wood pile.

This week, the kids have moved into their new home and out of mine. This freed up a room which I turned into a huge walk-in closet. For the first time, all my clothes, handbags, shoes, hats, coats, scarves and mittens, are organized and visible, easily accessible. For seven days, I spent several hours a day in a fugue state, folding, hanging, arranging and cleaning. Quietly, I moved around my home, gathering, making decisions about keeping or trashing, placing things in order. I hung all my clothes by color. I cleaned all my shoes. I was profoundly moved when placing my suitcases on a shelf where I can see them, but they are not constantly tripping me. I could have done this before, in some fashion, but resisted. But now, I am ready. I am ready to integrate order into my richly textured life. The outer order will manifest an inner order. But, bad news, everyone else - I will still be writing my truth and not yours. No fairies, no werewolves or other people's view of the facts.


Jennwynn said...

I <3 this, and you, Shirley!

Wanna come organize my closet while you're at it? :)


bowiechick said...

I like your truth. It gives me more courage to speak of my own.