Monday, March 29, 2010

My therapists

I've gone to various types of counselors throughout my adult life.  I've picked up helpful life skills from each one, and not a day goes by that I don't remember (and often apply) the words of at least one of them.  For the past few months, I've been trying something different: daily squirrel therapy.

My therapists show up at my front door early each morning- usually at dawn.  They expect payment up front.  To the casual observer, it may seem that I spend a lot of money on peanuts.  The most I've ever paid has been about $12 for a week's worth.  That's the cheapest therapy I've ever had.

These therapists have provided much-needed stability in my life.  They show up each day, come hell or high water.  They don't throw me any curves; they don't jerk me around.  They prove the theory that we teach others how to treat us.  If I'm careless and accidentally let my Chihuahua run out the door, that scares the bejesus out of the therapists and they may not return for a few days.  But if I'm considerate and cautious, I am rewarded with near trust.

Some mornings I have to rush off to work, but on the best of days I can sit in my chair and watch my therapists through the window.  There are normally six of them.  Winter is the best season for this activity, since the squirrels don't have to compete with the semi-hibernating chipmunks for the nuts. 

The blue jays, however, are another story.  On many days they snatch up the nuts, always weighing them by lifting various ones in their beaks to see how the weight compares to the other nuts.  Fortunately, the jays sleep later than the squirrels, proving that if you snooze, you lose.  I admit that I have developed a resentment toward the jays.  My therapists, however, prove unfazed by the jays, as they show me by example that my resentment is out of place.  These therapists apparently believe in and live by the concept of abundance.

On the best of days, my therapists accept payment in complete harmony with one another, with each therapist calmly and gratefully accepting his or her share.  I enjoy the sight of all six therapists munching contentedly at once.  They know how to give each other space.  Each therapist seems to be surrounded by an invisible boundary of a three foot radius.  How many therapists can teach boundary setting so clearly?

The therapists are not jealous of each other's nuts.  They mind their own darned business.  I've never seen a therapist grab more than one nut at a time, although I know they're capable of it.  They show themselves to be grateful for what life has given them, and willing to share their bounty, even with other species.

And how many therapists make house calls?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Must be nice

This afternoon I attended a concert at a church.  I saw a young man whom I recognized.  He works at the library near my house, and I've seen him taking walks nearby.  At today's concert he was with an older woman (who must have been his mother) and a couple of other people.  It appeared to me that he was with family members.

Why is this significant to me?  I've always been a loner, yet I remember what it was like growing up near extended family.  And my parents had lived in that town their entire lives, so they knew a lot of people. 

When I moved to the city I now live in, I didn't know anyone here.  I have no relatives within a 600 mile radius.  I've never been married, but I have a child.  To be a single parent with no relatives in the picture is rough.  I have never known the experience of having anyone watch my child whom I did not have to pay to do so.

When I go back to my hometown to visit, which is rare these days, I am struck by the apparent fact that people know each other.  My best friend from my hometown runs into people she knows wherever we go.  (She has lived there her entire life.)

Such solid, reliable familiarity must be nice.  I should like to experience it sometime.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Goodbye, Dear Friend

I am in shock.  A longtime friend, one whom I spoke with on the phone last week, is gone.  I was calling him today to ask him when I could bring to him the treats from the store he had asked me for last week.  He sounded odd on the phone that day- not himself.  He was asking for things he normally wouldn't ask for. 

He had just gotten out of the hospital and was in a facility in the same complex as his apartment.  I told him I'd bring his things in a few days.  But something seemed very odd.

Today when I called the last number he had called me from, a stranger answered.  When I called his home phone, the number had been disconnected.  That's when I reluctantly googled his name, hoping I wouldn't find anything.

But google produced a sight that numbed me- an obituary entry. 

The man who was like a dear father to me had died and was buried, unbeknownst to me. 

I saw him a couple of weeks ago, just before I left to see my dying sister in Boston.  I will never forget sitting with him there in his apartment that day.  I did not know it was the last time I'd see him, but it was a sad day.  I had brought him food which he tried to eat, but his heart wasn't in it.  I actually started crying as I sat there facing my friend, even though I didn't know it was our last meeting.  We had talked about my sister, and he was very concerned, but his own health was not good either.  He told me he was going to die.

I told him I wished he wouldn't.