I have to ask myself what I would do if a mountain lion (or any wild animal) suddenly charged at me. I would, I presume, either run, (which would be stupid) or freeze, fall to the ground and play dead. In any case, I know I would probably panic. Last summer when I was attacked by bees, I ran screaming down the street. I really didn't know what to do except run. I guess I ran far enough because the bees retreated, but not until one of them stung me on the ear lobe. And this was the third time I was stung this summer harvesting honey from their hive. I survived. And I now have a healthy respect...bordering on fear...of bees. Bees, it seems, are wild animals too.
Somehow this story of the mountain lion struck me as unfortunate and sad. The mountain lion somehow found itself in a Fontana neighborhood doing what mountain lions do. Foraging and preying on lesser creatures. I did so not for sport, but to survive. Just as the bees attacked me to protect the the product of their labors so they could survive the winter (even in California, there is a time when things are not in bloom for bees to reap pollen from!), the mountain lion was just trying to survive...as only mountain lions by their nature are wont to do.
So the shooting of the lion was tragic. No, it did not belong in the suburban neighborhood eating cats and dogs, terrorizing children and adults alike. But it was simply in the wrong place. It was not even the wrong time because there obviously is no right time for a mountain lion to come down off the mountain as it were. I guess if it threatened the lives of the officers, it had to be shot. After all, it was just an animal and being humans, we do tend to value human life over those lesser creatures. And what else could have been done? No, charge at the police, risk getting shot. I'm sure the lion knew this...didn't he or she?
I've been saying this a lot lately and this just makes it feel more real: these are scary times we live in. And nothing seems safe or sacred any more. Sure, it was just a mountain lion. And yes, it truly posed a threat to the officers and everyone in that particular neighborhood. But even so, it is still unfortunate and sad. And like so many things these days, it seems there is little we can to prevent or change it. Sigh.
(Below is a link to a PDF copy of the article in today's Press Enterprise).
Of late it has been quite a challenge to keep things light. What with natural and unnatural disasters and scandals and tragedies happening on a daily basis, it has become increasingly more difficult to keep my hands folded and envision the best outcome for all. Yet, it is what I practice as long as I am mindful of the truth about life and living. The truth is not, as The X Files used to intone, "out there". It is in here, inside each and every one of us.
When we forget who we are, we enable evil to win. Now before you jump to conclusions, I define "evil" as wrong thinking, of forgetting that we are all in this together. Evil is the result of erroneous thinking. To put others down to raise ourselves up is evil. To turn a blind eye toward those in need or suffering is evil. to take away or deny what others take for granted is evil. And these days, it feels like those who would do such things...whatever their intentions are, whether they intend to be evil or somehow believe what they are doing is right, are winning. But the reality is that they are not. Light really does dispel darkness. Try it sometime.
It really is a challenge to be light. It is a heavy mission. That is why I feel this heaviness of being light these days when there is some much to fell dark about. And to be light in these trying times seems frivolous and flip. But it is only in being light that we can see what we are really dealing with and overcome it. I feel the anger and rage about all the divisiveness in the world today. It seems for some it has to be one way, their way. And I think it exists on every side. What I want to ask the powers that be is when did we stop working on bridges and solutions and give in to the darkness where we cannot see each other any more? What I ask myself is, am I giving in by focussing on the lightness of life?
We can only change ourselves. That is what I remind myself of all the time. By changing and monitoring how I react and respond to all the madness around me, I can at least effect my world. And like the proverbial rock in the pond, the change ripples across the water and I may never know how I have affected someone else, but I will know how they have affected me. And that, I believe, is how lightness overcomes darkness. Amen. Namaste. So be it. And so it is. Peace. And so on.
Saw at Stater Brother's Market.
Decided to buy. Being British and with some of my favorite ingredients.
Cashier asked if the macaroons had jumped the divider into my order...no, they had not.
The next cashier commented on how he loved macaroons. Nice to know.
Somehow as the bagger was bagging them, the packaging split open. Uh-oh.
I had to wonder if this was God telling me I couldn't get away with buying a six pack of macaroons.
Waited for replacement. God's way of letting me know I should think about it.
Got the 'roons. Mmmm-mmmm delicious!
Even God likes a good cookie now and then I'm sure.
I was enjoying a quiet evening at home this evening watching The Middle on TV and preparing to watch my new favorite show, This is Us when I went to the kitchen to get a drink of water (and maybe another spoonful of that delicious Pumpkin Ice Cream from Stater Bros), when my eye caught sight of something whitish, powdery-like on the coleus branch I was rooting in a glass by the kitchen window. "No!", I cried, "Mealybugs! Mealybugs in the house, in the kitchen, the coleus!" How could this be, I wondered. Actually, I cussed, spewing the F-bomb, (yes, I know some choice words...and have been known to use them). Dammit, I thought. In the house? I immediately grabbed the faucet hose and held the branch under running water and when I was sure I had washed every last one down into the garbage disposal, turned it on and ground them up like some madman in a Stephen King movie. Then I threw the poor almost-ready to plant coleus branch out the kitchen door.
Okay, this may seem a bit over the top. I admit I was probably not as crazed as described above, but I have to say I was very mad. "Why? Why are these mealybugs everywhere all of a sudden?" I asked the no one in room. No answer came from that same no one.
For a couple weeks I have been fighting a battle against the mealybugs who keep invading my six-foot red hibiscus out front. I had already killed my double-yellow in the backyard with soapy water. (I didn't rinse it off quickly enough...maybe I didn't not at all...okay, I didn't know I should). It was amazing how quickly it lost all its leaves and became a bare branch bush. I am hoping it might still come back. Hope springs eternal, they say. And I think the same thing happened a few years ago. Some fools never learn.
So getting back to the red one out front, I have tried the soap thing, this time rinsing it off...to no avail. I got a environmentally safe for humans and pets insecticide that seemed to work sort of. So now I go out with the hose, turn the nozzle to "Jet" and blast the suckers into oblivion. They seem to be on the wane. It seems to me there are fewer and fewer each time I wash the bush. But geeze, it makes me mad.
I have talked to neighbors who also have been finding mealybugs in their hibiscus. So many theories and advice up the ying-yang, but I won't list them here. I guess my point is I am just so over insects from hell who prey on something like my lovely hibiscus. I've got enough to contend with. And there it is: the real issue here. Mealybugs are really just one of those things that come into your life to test you; along with all the other big and little frustrations and challenges like clogged freeways and hurricanes, expired credit cards that force you to update all your automatic payments and earthquakes, pine needles in your mulch and fires in the canyon. Frustrations, challenges, pains in the derriere, and heartbreak. All of it muddled up in tangled Christmas light fashion for you to sort out. And deal with.
And ultimately, it all relative and all how you deal with it. And that's my tale for this blog post. I will now take a deep breath, maybe sigh, and then carry on. Because that's what you do. Mealybugs or no mealybugs.
Sometimes when I'm very tired, maybe even a bit too weary, my filters thin and thoughts get "qwerkier" and musings begin to get "musier". Some might say that's a good thing...that's when the barrier to truths are thinnest. Hmm. That's where I feel I am right now.
I wonder if truly, I meant "truly-ooley", cross my heart and hope to die, we really can change the world if we change ourselves, our way of thinking? I know it all begins with me. And with you and with all the you's who are "I's" seeing the world as we do. Perhaps if we all just stop and change our preception...things would change. I wonder.
I have this vision of myself in a small cottage in the woods, probably in New England somewhere, maybe near Walden Pond or Concord, writing, writing, writing ala Thoreau and Emerson and Emily. I remember when I visited that area years ago. It was as if I was home. Authors' Row where they are buried. I could see myself there, especially in the fall when the leaves are burning with crimson and gold.
There is nothing like the crunch of a good cracker or chip, the salty taste on your tongue. And there is also no other thing can compare to soft, melty ice cream or gelato sliding deliciously down in vanilla or chocolate or salted caramel flavors. Trouble is, the comfort can be addicting and that can lead to ill-fitting clothes and diabetes. All things in moderation...even comfort.
I am thinking I should get myself to bed forthwith. Anon! Anon! To sleep, perchance to dream. Drifting along in the arms of morpheus. Some things are best slept off. With luck, the answers are revealed with the light of the new day.
Time to Get to Know Your Neighbor
This afternoon into the evening we did something very old school, old fashioned. We had a neighborhood potluck. Over half if not more of the neighbors came. The new ones and the long-timers like me. There were young families, retired couples, widows and widowers, single guys like me and more. I saw beards and tatoos, kaftans and sportsjackets, little kids in play-clothes, jeans, shorts and t-shirts. It was life across the spectrum, right here on my little one block street in the area between the Woods Streets and the Sungolds homes, just north of the Plaza and the busy railroad tracks.
When my neighbor and I mused it would be fun to have a street party, we thought it would be nice. Then she finally kicked the thing into high gear and tonight it happened, right here, in my driveway. No matching chairs or tables, an array of tables clothes, plastic utensils and silverware, all together to serve the most amazing contributions to a potluck I have seen in a long time. And almost everything was homemade! Who does that any more? My neighbors, that's who!! From casseroles and salads, to baked stuffed pastry to and fresh made breads. Then desserts including cookies, pies, and russian tea cakes. Heaven...and leftovers fill my fridge.
But above the food and and drinks, what struck me most was that this eclectic mix of people gathered together just to become acquainted with each other. And it was more than polite conversation I'd say. My neighbors genuinely seemed interested in who they lived with on this street called Del Ray Court. And of course we all were curious about and interested in what we were doing or had done with our homes. It was for me an evening of pure socialization, sharing food and lighthearted gossip, and the company of those we live nearest.
In these days when political feelings seem to be tearing friends and families apart, hurricanes and earthquakes come seemingly weekly if not daily and shootings...oh the shootings...in times like these, its nice to know we can come together as neighbors and friends...still...and just get to know each other and break bread....together. Maybe if we all held events like this one, we would really come to find we may be different on the surface, but inside, we are pretty much the same. Maybe then we could do something more, together, than just pray, mourn, repeat.*
*If you can, you should find and listen to Steve Hartman's piece from 60 Minutes tonight called Pray, Mourn, Repeat. When will the last straw come? And as Hartman ended his peace, all we are asking is that those who can, try to do something other than pray, mourn and repeat.
Aha! So this is where you've been waiting. I sure do appreciate you not giving up and your indefatigable faith that I would indeed return! It couldn't have been easy, wondering if I'd ever come back, but here I am. Okay, maybe I'm over-estimating my importance in your daily, weekly, or even monthly must-do's or to-do's or would-do-if-I-had-the-time lists. But come on, surely you missed my quirky thoughts and musings? Just a bit? (See, I do know how to spell "quirky" correctly.)
It's been a challenging time these past few months. Events both in my personal life and in the world kept me (well, I allowed them to keep me) from nurturing my creative muse, my inner artist, my heart, my art. But sometimes these things ache to be assuaged by a bit of whimsy. So here it is. I'm back. And not giving up. You shouldn't either.