Sunday, February 17, 2019

Can't Breathe

A touchy subject came up at coffee the other morning.  Compared to my hopes, dreams and expectations how has my experience thus far at Dancing Rabbit measured up?  My answer - it depends on which hope, dream or expectation I take a look at.

I was taught well, years ago, that an expectation is a premeditated resentment, but I still hope for the best.  I still indulge in imagining a world that I think will comfort, satisfy, and entertain me.  I understand the world is not here for my comfort, satisfaction, and entertainment, but I do believe there will be a reasonable measure of such things if I align myself with the way things are, do a little work in the right direction, and don’t take myself, and you, too seriously.  And yes, there will be an occasional sucker punch in the stomach that takes my breath away.

I remember the first time I got the wind knocked out of me.  Mom, Dad, Grandpa, Grandma, and I were camping just south of Grandma and Grandpa’s house in the country.  As I remember, the pond down there was newly built and the dam still had large chunks of earth everywhere that had not yet been worn smooth by the wind and rains nor had much vegetation sprouted. 

From the top of the new dam, I was making my way down to the campsite at the dam base.  As gravity and running had their way with me, in no time at all I was going way faster than my short four-year-old legs could carry me, and I fell face first hitting the ground with a dirt clod gouging me right in the stomach.  Out goes the air.  Out stays the air.  I think the experience gave me empathy for the fish we had caught and thrown on the bank earlier in the day, bullheads we called them.  I couldn’t breathe.

I have had the wind knocked out of me here at Dancing Rabbit.  A long-time Dancing Rabbit member was recently arrested.  I could barely breathe.  The community has been gouged in the soul.  I’ve felt scared and hurt.  I’ve been angry.  I’ve lost trust.  I’ve been disabused of the dream that “I’ll move out to the country to an eco-village where I’ll garden, read, meditate, go on walks, and generally help out around the place.  It will be a relaxed and peaceful sanctuary to regain my health and take a much-needed break from the everyday world and all its troubles.” 

Gardening is still going on thanks to the hoop house with all the lettuce.  I count seven books on the table next to me all of which I am enjoying.  Meditation makes up about an hour of my day.  I walked down to the pond this morning and cut some willow wands so that they won’t keep growing and degrade the dam over time.  I’m trying to keep the fireplace warm enough today so our baker can get the bread dough to rise.  And I found a way to keep the boiler going without getting so much smoke into the house which is a big bonus.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?  This is typical of most days since I’ve been here at DR and meets my expectations.

But on one of these typical days last week, the sheriff was here to make the arrest.  I don’t know when I’ll be able to breathe again.  I don’t know when the community will breathe again.  We are gasping.  There are feelings of helplessness, rage, disbelief, and shame.  Will we return to normal or is this the end?

I never saw it coming, and it happened in an instant.  It changed everything here at DR.  I hesitate to share any of this, but it is the reality here at this time.  My burden is light compared to those most directly impacted.  I don’t have all the right words, but I feel not saying anything is not right either.

I look forward to being able to breathe again, and I aspire to be an agent of peace and healing here.