‘Funny the skills you accumulate over the course of a lifetime: driving a nail, mending a mitten, riding a horse, baking an apple pie, tap dancing, writing a blog. Many of them you don’t ever think about, but now and then a learned skill might catch your notice as something that sets you apart from the pack.
In my case, being able to insert four fingers in my mouth and rip off a loud, shrill whistle has always seemed to me to be one of those things that elevate me to a place most girls don’t get to. It’s good for calling a crowd to order or summoning a dog, not to mention the fact that people are impressed.
And although you often hear somebody say, “I smell a rat!”, I really can. This doesn’t happen very often, but yesterday, in the barn, there it was: my nose, and the unmistakable aroma that falls somewhere between piss, vinegar, and old sneakers. I’d forgotten all about rat-smelling as part of my skill-set, but yup, sure enough, I, my friends, have it.
It’s funny what life in the country can teach a girl. And now I need to impart that knowledge to the cat.
These days I am acquainted with many wonderful and amazing people because of my art. In these artists there exists the possible, the unusual, the unique, the weird and the beautiful, expressed in form, movement, sound, image, rhyme and probably a dozen other sorts of vents for the fire within. One such person is named Hope, and besides being a wonderful digital and photo artist, she is also a healer. I learned this because I mentioned having to fit a volunteering commitment in around a health issue.
Holding a small mixed media sculpture in front of me, Hope asked me to place my hands on two blue stones which were intregal to the piece. She held stones on the opposite side and closed her eyes. As perhaps a minute passed, I could feel a slight tingling in my arms, and then she opened her eyes and smiled, saying it had worked and that she could also feel my energy coming back to her.
Twenty-two hours later I was standing in line to pay for a delicious plate of organic, vegetarian food at The Table restaurant in Ottawa’s west end. A young woman in front of me struck up conversation, as women will often do when sharing such a wait. Her wavy, shoulder-length hair simply parted, she radiated a glow that didn’t come from make-up, and she brought to mind a painting from a long-ago art history class. Yes, the food is wonderful, no it isn’t the first time I’ve eaten here. “I’m excited because I think there are things here my grandson could eat! He’s allergic to lots of things; soy, dairy,” I said.
That statement somewhat startled me, but I don’t think I let it show. Good grief, I thought, another wack-o Christian, but I replied sure, if she’d like to. I imagined she meant later, so it was quite surprising to hear her – still glowing and radiating that beautiful, peaceful smile – speaking words of blessing softly beside me. Even more surprising was that no particular god or son thereof was being mentioned.
“What is your name?” she asked, “Judy,” I answered, and she ended her words of blessing with “and his grandmother, Judy, to whom he brings so much joy.”
And then she turned and walked away.
I joined my husband at a small table near the window and told him that I thought I had just met an angel.
Were the encounters with these two women coincidence? I’ll never know, but they profoundly impressed me and gave me a great deal of food for thought.
The painting posted here is Botticelli’s Madonna. I have not been able to find the image that came to my mind at The Table, but this one is similar to it and would be perfect if Madonna were radiantly smiling.
My life is indeed blessed. May prayers and healing be affirmed.
Anyone familiar with the “Go ye Heroes” song from Pirates of Penzance? The women sing words of cheer to the men marching off to war:
MABEL: Go, ye heroes, go to glory,
Though you die in combat gory,
Ye shall live in song and story.
Go to immortality!
Go to death, and go to slaughter;
Die, and every Cornish daughter
With her tears your grave shall water.
Go, ye heroes, go and die!
GIRLS: Go, ye heroes, go and die! Go, ye heroes, go and die!
Meanwhile, the men start marching off to war… but make a U-turn around the town fountain and march back to the women… who keep singing cheerfully about them heading off to die. So off they go again, only to make the same U-turn and return, obviously not as enthusiastic about their bloody demise as the women seem to be. After about three times around the fountain, and the women exclaiming, “YES, BUT YOU DON’T GO!” they finally do march off the stage – as the women sing “At last they go, at last they go!!!”
My point? Winter is behaving like those poor schmoes in Pirates: Yes, but you DON’T go!!!”
When my mother was a kid attending a 1-room schoolhouse, she was in a pageant or show put on for the parents. Her part was to be a woman in a sewing circle, and the “ladies” in the circle each had lines that rhymed. My mother’s started thus: “Mrs. Kay the other day had the audacity to say… ’tis a common supposition that one in her position…”, and the gist of it was that someone had made an unkind reference to her age. My mother’s brother bet her A QUARTER(!) that she didn’t have the nerve to change her lines.
On the night of the show, he was standing on a chair against the wall opposite the performers when my mother looked him square in the eye and said what he’d bet her she didn’t have the nerve to say: “Mrs. Kay the other day had the audacity to say THAT MY FACE LOOKED LIKE IT WORE OUT THREE BODIES.”