Hobbit was a silly banana a few mornings ago and lept off an eight foot embankment while out for our daily on the trail. I was on the road below on the way to the stream, he and Lily Bean on their way up the trail leading to the mesa. “Hobbs! Get your silly butt down here!”I called, expecting his usual trot alongside me up top until he got to the part where the hill slopes a few yards away from where we were. Nope! Lily Bean, weighing about thirty-five or so pounds, twice Hobbit’s height and far less than half his age of ten years, took a running leap with her characteristic grin.
THWUMP! Skidding and turning all at once as she hit the dirt, she shook herself off, looked at me with said silly grin and goes off to sniff stuff nearby. Hobbit apparently thought this was a grand idea and followed suit. Did I mention the dirt is a red clay mix? No? Um, yeah. With a nifty layer of gravelly sand-wannabe stuff over the top, just enough to scrape Hobbit’s chest as he landed badly on his left side. But not entirely on his side. His left front and hind feet hit first and twisted under him THEN he flumped on his side. He didn’t look too happy about that, but got up anyway, shook himself off and kept going. He kept close to me, but seemed otherwise okay. When I got home from work, he was so two legged lame I had to carry him to his potty spot – which he didn’t use. He seemed to be in enough pain to not only not want to go even after hours of holding it in, but woke me in the wee hours to the sounds of his being sick. Multiple times. Plans of the three of us going on a Big Tesuque hike this weekend obviously fluttered away on the breeze. So did any idea of his going on a walk this morning.
Lily Bean is a treeing Walker coonhound. Coonhounds are NOT couch potato dogs. If your idea of a great time is Netflix and chill after a day of cozy puttering about the house, this is not the dog for you! I like long meanders on trails through the woods, a.k.a. hiking. I live in a place where I can go on outdoor meanders without ever having to set key in my car’s ignition. More than a day of no hiking tends to make the Sily Bean stir crazy and she gets on everybody’s nerves. So, Hobbit or no, this morning we set out on our usual trail walk.
We decided to head up to the mesa. As I crested the trail, a gentle breeze blew my unusually untethered hair (my normal morning look invariably involves a ponytail) and in its tendrils these words were captured:
that tiny thing with broken wings,
nurtured deep within
she can fly again.
I marveled at these words, mulling them over and over, trying to ingest their meaning and flavor, wondering where they came from since I felt no grief that I could tell, though I did feel a kind of dampening, an off sense of sadness. I walked with it and the words and laughed at Lily’s goofiness as we both tried on this walk-without-Hobbit thing. The vague blanket of sadness whispered, caressed and blew around me all day. At some point later in the afternoon, I learned of yet another school shooting, a little closer to home this time. When I first saw Santa Fe high, I nearly panicked. My neighbor’s kids go there! My kids went there, though Lexi left after her freshman year due to the meanieness; she was nervous about the possibility of physical harm accompanying the bullying she experienced. I know a few of the teachers and staf there, too. But no; different state. Still, I didn’t consider us lucky. People died today. There is no good fortune in that for any of us.
I wonder, though: where does the meanieness come from? That deep rot that crawls like maggots all over the soul trying to get in? For some of us, it does get in and poisons our very being, our sense of self, our ability to connect to Life around us, driving us to destroy everything and everyone, human and non and often ourselves in the process – or what’s left of ourselves. When and where will we begin to create sanctuaries to lance the boils and draw the meanieness out so we can all begin to heal? For we all need to heal, all of us, not just those who cave under the relentless meanieness crushing us from every angle, day in and day out, hidden in plain sight and completely invisible. When will we open our hearts even just a crack, put down our weapons and armor and allow “the others” to hold our gaze instead of allowing our eyes to slide away, allow others to see into our souls, to see the wounded parts, the festering, piercing, agonizing meanieness seated at the base our our souls, endlessly hungry and gape-mawed, sucking everything in and unsatisfied no matter how much it consumes, like the windigo of ancient Indigenous American peoples’ tales. When will we allow ourselves to see and be seen so we can all heal? When?