Our lives are being invaded by ticks. All conversations these days seem inevitably to circle back to ticks. Every little spot, every phantom sensation, we think it's a tick. Our stories have become stories of taking ticks off ourselves and our dogs. And of Lyme Disease.
We kind of deserve it though. We took over the land where the mice and deer used to live without hassle. Of course all this selfish human activity would eventually come back around to bite us in the ass, literally.
I do have a theory, though. I think that all these tick troubles will bring us closer together. We have to keep checking ourselves and each other for ticks. Tick checks throughout the day. We can only become better acquainted with our bodies, right? We have to look at them more carefully now, run our hands over the limbs. We have to try really hard to see the out-of-sight places. In the future I imagine online dating profiles: "Single woman seeks tender-hearted man for long walks in woods, stream-side picnics and subsequent tick-checking. Must be attentive, meticulous, able to discern difference between a mole and an insect. Near-sightedness a huge plus."
Ticks will bring us closer together. I'm sure of it.
It was a wild night last night. A big storm rolled through. The light was eerie, lots of thunder and lightening and strong winds. I took it very personally and thanked Mother Nature for blowing out the past year of my life in high meteorological style. Afterward, the sky was full of twinkling stars and the wild dogs were howling like mad. There was lots of flashing heat lightening and the sound of fire trucks in the distance. I had warm milk with honey before I went to bed and I slept well. I dreamt I was taking care of a beautiful baby, someone else's. He needed clothing so we picked out some jammies with lobsters on them.
I know a bunch of people whose birthday is today, too: Taylor Watts, who was my first sort-of boyfriend. We went to junior high and high school together, until he left for Deerfield. We had an annual birthday tennis match on the court in his backyard; Cosmo, who has the very best name and moved from Pawlet to Burlington last year. My friend, Ben, who is a master chef, good egg, who weaves everyday language into poetry and simple ingredients into gourmet edibles. Joe, who died recently. I still have his voice in the "memos" section of my music library, reciting a prayer he wrote. I miss him. And Elaine, who always sits in the very last pew, is meticulous when it comes to details and has a very beautiful smile. Happy birthday to all of them; I hope someone surprises them with something nice today.
I woke up this morning just as the light was coming over the hill in the distance. I know I talk a lot about how nice it is to be alive and how we should try hard to keep appreciating that because we won't always have the opportunity to watch a storm blow through, to wake up to the sun and the birds and the wonder of a day ahead. You're probably tired of hearing me say that stuff by now. Too bad, I'm not done yet.
It was a good year, this past year. As usual, a lot happened. I expect no less from the coming year. Fifty-two. When I was a kid and my parents were that age I thought they were old. I feel like I'm just getting warmed up, even though all this tick-checking is making me think about doing sit-ups and getting barbells.
Here is the trailer: in the fall I will be done at Fordham. I've decided to open a small counseling practice. There's really no getting around this — I've been listening and offering counsel for years now, the only difference is that, in a couple of months, it will no longer be free. Get it while you can!
I'm still thinking about flowers, too. Lately I can't stop thinking about our little idea called Harriet Honeybee. We'll see.
What else? Writing. It's been speeding up recently and I'm grateful for those of you who have told me that you think it's getting better. "Getting better" implies the inherent truth that there was room for improvement and I love it when people are honest like that. There will always be room for improvement. I intend to get a gym membership for my writing this year and insist that we work out every day. Thank you for reading, readers. I love you.
I found a funny little book while I was going through all my books and making a pile for the Pawlet Public Library Book Sale annual extravaganza: The Discourses of Epictetus. Epictetus was a Greek philosopher who was born in 55 AD. I have no idea why I have this book or where it came from, but it's so good and funny. And, quite frankly, Epictetus kind of nailed it, two thousand years ago.
To wit: "Who are you and for what purpose did you come into this world? Did not he (God) introduce you here, did he not show you the light, did he not give you fellow-workers, and perceptions and reason? And as whom did he introduce you here? Did he not introduce you as subject to death, and as one to live on earth with a little flesh, and to observe his administration, and to join with him in the spectacle and the festival for a short time?
With a little flesh. I love that. The ticks are pretty psyched about it, too.
To all of it, yes.
And also, amen.