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Diary Rings

Can we just jump to January please? - 2014-11-14
A (don't kick the) Bucket List - 2014-10-28
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2:00 p.m. - 2013-04-25
Not Too Shabby

Earlier this morning a cop car went past the house with its siren going. Actually it was the short burst, "Wheerp! Wheerp! Get out of the way!" siren, not the long screaming "I'm coming for your ass!" one. In any case it was startling because it made me realize just how peaceful this little place is. It's open window season and the only noise coming in from outside is birdsong and the rasping grind of some piece of lawn equipment and even that sounds like it's over on the next street. Cars pass sometimes. But when the road is empty I swear I can almost hear the wooden slap of the screen door at the general store a half mile down thataway.

Now, now, before you roll your eyes and think, "Oh boy, there goes LA again waxing rhapsodic about that backwater she lives in!" I'll explain. (Well I do love this wide spot in the road, but I digress.) What the startle of the police siren got me thinking about was safety. My actual physical safety. My house and belongings' safety. Mick's fear of the world makes him insist we lock everything all the time. The doors, the cars, the sheds. And we do, it's a small price to keep him happy, but I didn't like it at first. Before Mick the only time the doors at Casa Sage were locked was to keep them from blowing open on windy days. My cars sat in the driveway with their windows down (in season, of course). I loved the organic fluidity between indoors and out. Perhaps it was a bit foolish to be that casual but after a lifetime of churn and turmoil I reveled in the freedom of it. Not that I've ever lived in some urban warzone where I needed bars on my windows and pepper spray in my pocket but I've seen my share of ugly. This place, house and town, is a haven.

For instance on Tuesday I was in the aforementioned general store. As I paid for my stuff another patron came in. The counter lady greeted him by name. He returned the greeting, nodded at me, and turning back to the clerk said, "She's got some cravings." Now this young man in another venue might have been scary. Head shaved bald. Neck tattoos. Layered up in grimy denim, worn flannel, and leather. But as I stashed my stuff in my shopping bag and he began his order for deli meat I turned to him, smiled and said, "Cravings? Congratulations!" And that 'scary' young man busted out the proudest grin you've ever seen. "Thanks! The doc thinks it might be twins! We're waiting for an ultrasound next week!" I wished him and the mother-to-be the best of luck and went out to my unlocked car, hopped in, pulled a U-turn right across Mini-dunk's main drag and pootled on home. That's what it's all about here.

With the immediacy of bad news, the horrors of senseless violence- shootings, bombings, and murder sprees of every sort, how lax regulation and oversight costs lives every day in factories and in our hospitals, cars crash, bridges collapse, oil spills, chemical spills, train derailments, all the woes we witness every single day it's easy to be fearful. Seems almost insane not to be. In my previous post I talked about how fear is hard-wired into our DNA, genetic memory is more persistent than an elephant's.

And yet...when I still my fingers on my clackety keyboard all I hear is birdsong.

This is what I try to keep in front of me. Not bombs. Not gunfire. The water from my well is pure and clean and tastes delicious. The infinitesimal odds of Wolf or Mick coming to harm at school shouldn't be allowed to overwhelm the probable reality of their getting home just fine today. Tonight I'll feed them chicken marsala and a crisp spinach salad and I won't spoil it by fretting about e-coli and salmonella. No more than I should be afraid when I let Princess out the backdoor to take a whiz she'll be eaten by a bear. Hell, of all those scenarios at least we've had bears in the yard. Not so any suicide bombers or gun wielding crazies. Or leaking oil tankers. Or rusting barrels of toxic waste popping up through my cellar floor.

Sure, I might have had more than the usual share of sick sorry shit happen to me but even if those things number in the dozens I am 18,357 days old and the percentages tell the real story. For every day with a bad thing I've had hundreds of good days. Calm days. Do nothing days when the dinner didn't burn, the car didn't crash, and none of us had the shits or a rash or a fever. Thousands of days when the biggest problem from outside was that idiot dog next-door barking its fool head off. Hardly a terror, not even close to being a real threat.

Here, here in this wee bitty town with its 400+ residents and its chicken barbeques at the firehouse; at the town hall where the only municipal judge lives two doors over from us and the town clerk, the poll minders and the building inspector know me by name; the post office that has a whole four employees and the place closes for lunch when Deidre the post mistress goes home to check on her elderly mother; where Mick and I sit on the stoop and listen to the evensong bells from our town's only church and a police siren is an event enough to make a whole blog post from......wow.


Much love, ~LA



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