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The Garden of my Mind 2

Posted by Dr. D , 01 September 2012 · 221 views

We live at the base of the mountains, my village and me.  We know little about what happens above us except that clouds often embrace the peaks and the grumbling of storms can be heard below.  Two canyons move in serpentine courses from the heights.  They are deep with sheer, slick sides of shale.  When the storms bring rain-pregnant clouds and deep-throated complaints, the people know to move away from the canyons for soon the waters will roar down into the valley with a thunderous fury.

It is raining.  I watch the plummeting of the puddles in the patio.  The roof resounds in protest to the assault of the rain.  Olivia, my Schnauzer, presses close to my leg.  She is terrified of thunder.  She lifts her eyes with an expression of pleading as if I could control the whims of nature.  I put my hand on her head and she is soothed.  Oliver is curled in slumber.  He finds the rain comforting to his dreams.  Dogs don’t understand the personality of weather.  It is not different from us.  The storm is usually followed by the apologetic rainbow.

I have known many storms.  I have known all types of storms.  A calm sea never made a good sailor and the storms of life prepare us only for greater storms.  The series of crises that define our days move over us like raven wings.  There is no peace or escape and yet we persist as if the troubles that besiege us were somehow meant to be.  Resolution comes as a trembling truce but the horizon of our life offers us no reprieve. We are creatures of turmoil.

In the world I have created, troubles retreated into the obscurity of the past.  But they linger there and press against my memory like bad makeup.  Sick children, work demands cancelling vacations, the spats, bad news . . . . were constantly conspiring and joining forces to blemish any promise of peace.  The wounds they inflicted were worn upon my face.  Frowns and grimaces became my common expression and I found ignorance to be my only therapy.

It was the ignorance of politely smiling toward strangers in the street rather than to my loved ones at home.  The strained civility over board room tables and holding the elevator door for one more person.  The excessive tip and the automatic good-mornings that had no meaning.  The thank you and excuse me repeated beyond measure.  The effort to be seen as considerate and polite expended on those who never mattered.

We were watching television in bed when I made what I thought to be a monumental decision.  “Let’s go to Costa Rica!  You liked Costa Rica!”  

She gave me that half smile and grasped my hand.  “You know,” she began, “if you didn’t try so hard to make us happy, we could have a really good time.”  

We were once invited to a grand gala attended by everyone that everyone wanted to know.  An hour later we were dancing when she asked, “Are you tired of all this yet?”

We went to a truck stop restaurant that should have had a sign, “Sorry, We’re Open.”  The food was deliciously greasy and while surrounded by burly men in leather jackets, we laughed and felt we had made a great protest against the establishment.

Things saved.  Things withheld.  Things kept secret.  Things withering into the ghosts of feelings now resurrected to haunt once again.  All the “why didn’t I” and “should of” that pull the cloak of guilt about them and march across the soul.  They are with me now as the rain splatters against the tile like old sins seeking their hell.