I’m grateful that today’s trip to radiology was uneventful, and that my hand does not appear to be broken. I dropped a heavy metal bar on it a couple of weeks ago while I was assembling an inversion table, and screamed. Since then it’s only gotten marginally better: there’s a low level pain most of the time, and when I do certain things with it the pain spikes to that level that causes your gut to jump. The pain’s over in a flash when I back out of the movement, but that’s meant I’ve almost dropped a few things. I was worried that there was something seriously wrong that normal daily activities might be exacerbating. Whew! Though I’m not sure the news that it’s ‘advanced degenerative change at the base of the thumb’ is any better: just more arthritis. My skeleton is letting me down (but I’m still grateful to have a largely functional skeleton).
I am grateful for the X-ray, and the fortuitous accident that led to its discovery. I’ve had several recently, and many over the course of my life, and though the radiation can be dangerous, the information garnered has been worth the risk, in my experience. I’m grateful for the various X-ray technicians that have captured those images, for the radiologists who have read them (and for all the conditions of their lives that led them to those careers, etc…). Another fascinating discovery in today’s X-ray was ‘a small metal density foreign body in the tip of the middle finger.’ You just never know! Perhaps it’s the microchip that came in the vaccine.
I regret that I didn’t take a picture of the X-ray when they let me look at it, but I was in that purely functional state I get into under duress and didn’t think creatively. Oh well! But I imagine it looks something like this. Ouch!
I’m grateful I’m learning to let go of judgement. I’ve missed out on so much during my life, from judging. At the same time, I’ve made so many mistakes by not discerning: not trusting my inner wisdom, not living in accordance with my strongest values. It’s been a challenging balancing act, simultaneously judging harshly and failing to discern; but like a funambulist I’m grateful I’ve found some stability.
Judgment is inherently hierarchical: it creates a caste system. A bunch of individuals with similar judgements about something, anything, find each other (especially in this global social media whirl), and coalesce inevitably into a self-proclaimed upper caste, judging all others beneath them. I was born into hierarchy, but my true nature has always seen all beings as equal. For this, in my family, I was scorned. Oh well!
I’m grateful for every experience in my life that has brought me consequences from judging, and every situation that has fostered empathy and compassion. I allow myself to be a learner, still learning life’s lessons.
While I try to be ‘self-sufficient,’ at least as much as a human can be in this interconnected world, I still really appreciate help. This morning Mr. Wilson brought a helper, Juan, and together we all got a whole lot done in the yarden. We started out by trespassing on the land next door, to liberate an old juniper from a former fence. The poor tree had been tangled in barbed wire for so long it had grown around some of it. I’d already pulled some coils free of the bark but it took the young men to untangle the wires completely and cut them off where they’d been absorbed into the tree. We salvaged two vintage fenceposts from the mess to use in the next project.
Another salvage operation: the old old shed in the dog pen that was here when I moved in almost thirty years ago, but was badly leaning with a rotten roof by now. They took off the old roof, straightened the shed, and braced it with numerous old posts, and will finish the job next time. I’ll have a shade structure for more garden work and storage, and Stellar and any future dogs will have a safe shed over the old old dog house, which was already old when Thelma gave it to me in 1994 – but so well constructed it’s still perfectly sound. The cardboard boxes will carpet the ground under wood chips as a ‘natural’ weed barrier.
I couldn’t do any of these things I’ve done today without the help of other people. I like to think of myself as self-sufficient, but when I really pause to examine everything good in my life it all comes back to education or assistance from other human beings. I don’t know about you, but I really am interconnected with everyone else. I rely on help from others for everything from the luxury of yard work to the fundamentals of feeding myself. I’m grateful to recognize this truth, and it motivates me to want the first question I ask in any situation to be How can I help?
I’m grateful to have gotten phone service back today after more than a week without; and to get a call from dermatology that it was a basal cell and it’s all gone; and to have had stamina and strength to start playing with a rough draft of the rock garden; and for the first iris to bloom, and the last tulips, and the first lilacs, and for the Fuji apple blossoms. I’m grateful that Stellar was happy today: happy to eat, happy to walk, happy to nap, happy just to hang out with me all day.
I’m grateful for my Garden Buddy, who went on an adventure with me today. The word ebullient came to mind as I observed my sensations driving to pick her up. She was the first passenger in my car in well over a year, and that inspired me to clean it up a bit, which I was too lazy to do for myself, so I’m grateful for that. I was motivated to explore some local farms in search of strawberry starts, some culinary herbs, and a few flowers for my patio pots to feed the bees. We stopped by Zephros Farm, which had a good selection, as well as some unexpected succulents for the new drought rock garden I’m finally realizing into existence after a decade of dreaming. Then we tried a couple of stores that were closed on Sundays, an interestingly retro thing to be, hearkening back to the Blue Laws days of my childhood. But we struck gold at Oasis, a new nursery on the highway next to Big B’s.
After our delightful walk, Stellar didn’t want breakfast, which is unusual but not unheard of this time of year. It was all I could do to get some pills into him disguised in a turkey slice and some cream cheese. He’s been turning up his nose at his multiple daily cheese balls, which has caused me to get creative about pill delivery, trying out some pill pockets, pill paste, peanut butter, and sandwich meats. This finicky turn, and his refusal to eat again this evening, have set some distant alarm bells ringing in my head: But there’s not much I can do about it at this point, at his age and with his back end, and there’s no point in clinging. Either he’ll eat tomorrow when I offer rice and broth, or he won’t, and I’ll decide the next step then. Living with a beloved old dog, there’s less suffering for me in letting him do what he prefers than insisting on diagnosis and mitigation, and I think less suffering for him than in stuffing him with supplements he’s not eager to ingest. We’ll know more later. These unsettling ups and downs, which could be nerve-wracking if I let them.
I did want breakfast, however, and was grateful for yesterday’s cinnamon buns (I only ate two) and my weekly latté, which gave me strength and courage to leave home for the first pleasure outing since Covid. It felt mighty strange to drive somewhere I didn’t have to go, with someone else in the car, windows down despite the chill; it felt even stranger to meet and mingle with unmasked people everywhere we went, and encounter a downright crowd at Big B’s and Oasis. We may have been the only people wearing masks, but one thing I appreciate about my Garden Buddy is that we’re on the exact same page regarding risk and precautions. We were our own little travel bubble, and were both a little giddy in it. At the same time that it appeared as though many people have gone back to the usual-before, there seemed to be an aura of extra gentleness in the people we spoke with, some of whom mentioned the suffering of the past year. I’m grateful for at least one thing about suffering, and that is it’s potential to deepen even the slightest connection among people. It’s brought me and my Garden Buddy closer, and I also felt like hugging everyone I interacted with today. Maybe next outing.