The ability to look forward . . . and behind – An unexpected encounter

Owls can rotate their heads and necks as much as 270 degrees  “. . .  owls have backup arteries, which offer a fresh supply of nutrients when blood vessels get closed off by rapid turning.

Their arteries also swell to collect any excess blood created in the process.”  National Geographic

imagesI bought paint today for the bedroom – grey paint, Grey Owl, the name on the paint chip.  A quick trip to the paint store.  “I like how you smile.  I just told my last customer that I like to see smiles.  I always say the first wrinkles I get will be right here”, she swipes her fingers around her mouth,  “from smiling,” the clerk behind the counter looks at me straight in the eye.  “I like how you smile”.

Maybe from 30 years of being a therapist, a scent people pick up just like Freddie my dog picks up with his nose –  scents that I can’t, don’t detect.  I watch her ring up my paint purchase.  

“I just have a happy disposition.  They say I’m like my mother. Always laughing.  If my Mother saw someone trip and fall out there” – she looks outside through the plate-glass window – “she would laugh and laugh. But people never know what you feel inside, people never know if you have just been in your car, crying.  People can’t see the sadness or pain inside.  You can swipe your credit card now”, she takes a breath, “My mother died when I was 4 years old.  I wasn’t allowed in the hospital.  Maybe my brothers got to see her, got to say goodbye.  I never saw her. I never said goodbye.  I have two boys and a girl.  My little girl always wants to be with me.  I try to imagine what it was like for my Mother.”

I say something rather innocuous struck by how beautiful – smooth skin, clear, dark kinky hair, color streaked, pulled tightly back in a careless knot, bright red lipstick.  Turning, gesturing, looking up, looking down at the computer she doesn’t stop moving, trapped behind the counter. She speaks fast, effortlessly, her words softened with Spanish sounding consonants. “My aunt raised me but I’ve never felt like a daughter.  I never felt loved. My aunt already had 6 children but she told my Mom she would take care of me.  My mother never told anyone she was dying.  She didn’t want anyone to worry.  I talk to my Mother.  I tell her when I’m angry. I want to give you a hug.” an effortless, tight hug separated by a counter.  She picks up the ringing phone and motions me to get my paint.

Two gallons, one in each hand. They’re heavy, the wire handles digging painfully into my palms. She smiles and nods in my direction, still on the phone, as I walk out the automatic doors.

Grey Owl paint on the bedroom wall.  Surrounded by the stark white molding it looks fresh and soothing .  I’ll smile at the Grey Owl walls when I wake in the morning, a smile for the young woman in the paint store and her mother.  

OwlMeaningOwlSymbolism“In ancient Egyptian, Celtic, and Hindu cultures the symbolic meaning of owl revolved around guardianship of the underworlds, and a protection of the dead.”

“The owl was honored as the keeper of spirits who had passed from one plane to another. Often myth indicates the owl accompanying a spirit to the underworld – winging its newly freed soul from the physical world into the realm of spirit.” animal-symbolism

“Gumping” Through 2011

Forrest: “That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to the end of the road. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d run to the end of town. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d just run across Greenbow County. And I figured, since I run this far, maybe I’d just run across the great state of Alabama. And that’s what I did. I ran clear across Alabama.

For no particular reason I just kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going. When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going”.

At the end of every year I find myself at another ocean, re-viewing my own “run” . . .

2011 has been an eventful year — Tallulah was falsely blamed for my light-headedness, chest pain.  That went on for about 3 months.  I was visited by “mysterious visitors” that kept me up all night coughing.  That went on for about 6 months. (recurs periodically but still don’t know why).  Couldn’t run without pain for about 6 months. (Finally gave in and had a cortisone shot).

I worked 7 days a week.  Every week I figured since I already had worked 5 I might as well work two more.

Consequently I got fibro fogged and messed up my appointments – double booking or forgetting to write down the right time or writing the right time on the wrong day …

Those are the things that went wrong.  What went right?  I’m sure there was a lot – I just don’t remember where I wrote them down.

Not quite sure what I’m suppose to learn from 2011 . . . yet.  With years of hindsight I figured out that having fibromyalgia gives me greater compassion; Having  heart problems reminds me to wake up everyday with a  loving heart;  My study of Baha’i removed my fears and gave me faith and  a bit of wisdom.

I can hear my friends saying it was time to apply the compassion, love and wisdom to myself and stop running.

Hey, Forrest, pass me the box of chocolates . . .

P.S.  In case you didn’t notice, I have been lying on the beach without a computer for the last several days!