Notes Smuggled From the Bunker

It’s been a bad day. I was awakened at 7 by the dogs needing out — that’s OK, normal even. It means I get up and let the dogs out. If it’s not grimly cold I might leave the back door open. And, since I usually get up at 8, I was happy to leave it open (it was only -2) and go back to bed for a little while. I hoped for at least a half hour more sleep. The news last night of the assassination of the Iranian general and all the consequences to which that might lead to had kept me awake. I was filled with distrust for war-mongering Republicans and what seems to me to have been an act taken irresponsibly and unilaterally as a way to win an election. “You don’t vote against a sitting president during wartime,” said my office mate back in the GWB days.

Lots of people feel that way.

Just a few minutes after I put my head on the pillow, resolving to think good thoughts, my room had filled with a strong odor of diesel fumes. These fumes came from my neighbor’s strange and exotic SUV which has an exhaust pipe that points up into the sky, toward my house, as it happens. The pipe is next to the passenger’s side, front. When it is this cold, the light-weight warmer air (diesel exhaust in this case) is pushed down by the heavier cold air. Temperature inversion. Seeking a way to float, and finding some warmth coming out of my back door, the diesel exhaust took advantage of it and crawled along my floor to the warmest room in my house — my bedroom.

I understand that diesel engines need to warm up in winter because diesel kind of turns to jelly, but really? A tail-end exhaust wouldn’t do that. It’s an obnoxious and pretentious car and the whole family is a little odd (what might they say of me?), but nice. “Hell is other people,” Sartre so wisely pronounced.

I got up. Closed the back door. Made coffee, etc. the usual morning stuff. I worked on the “story that refuses to be born (so far),” and was pretty much hating life. I was Miss Grumpy pants, thinking about my up-coming birthday and how nice it would be to have a funny, handsome, loving guy to take me out for dinner (yeah right). Even though I am VERY aware of the downside of that, from time-to-time I wish…

Then, for no reason, as I got up from my chair and took ONE step, I fell and hit my head on the floor. It’s a pretty big bump and painful. I lay there for a bit and then got up thinking how good I am at getting up. I don’t think the diesel exhaust was enough to make me dizzy, especially an hour later. There is no major injury, but it was certainly demoralizing and tiring. I’d planned to take the skis out today…

I had to stop, ice my head, submit to the loving and hairy solicitude of my livestock guardian dog. I thought about my birthday and realized what I really want for my birthday is for the nordic club to groom my golf course for walking and skiing.

So the morning wound on unpleasant and strange. My friend called to make sure I was OK and didn’t have a concussion. I was able to ask about her family in Australia. My plans went out the window and I thought of a story my Aunt Jo told me once of a bad day when every time she turned around, she hurt herself, culminating in a fall down the two steps from their back door to the back yard. She told me she just lay there on the ground and said, “I just can’t hurt any more.” It’s kind of a funny story, but also not. It is definitely how I felt today.

Then, I decided to go get the mail.

Outside my door was a box about 24″ x 24″ x 4″. Big. I brought it inside. I saw it came from my cousin — someone I like but with whom I have had a problematic relationship since we were kids. What in the world?

Inside was a wooden platter with an Islamic design inset with mother of pearl. I knew it very well. I reached my palm to touch it, feeling time, my heart seeing a wall on which it once hung. My eyes filled with tears. It had been my Aunt Martha’s and had hung in her home in Colorado for twenty-five years. She bought it in Egypt in the 70’s. From there it went with her to Montana and when she died, it went to my Aunt Dickie where it hung over her fireplace until last year when she died.

This whole day seems like a metaphor for, or a compression of, life. At least here there’s a little guidance.

Anyone who genuinely and constantly
With both hands,
Looks for something
Will find it.

Though you are lame and bent over
Keep moving
Toward the Friend
With speech and silence, with sniffing about, stay on the track

When some kindness comes to you, turn
That way, toward the source of kindness.
Love-things originate in the ocean.
Restlessness leads to rest.

Rumi, One Handed Basket Weaver

39 thoughts on “Notes Smuggled From the Bunker

  1. I had a friend who came from Macedonia. When anything broke — like I was carrying a really lovely glass lamp and dropped it — she said: “That was instead of you. ” I sort of feel as if the little bumps and bangs — falling down for no valid reason which I seem to to often these days — if so something worse doesn’t happen.

    Is it true? Probably not, but stuff happens. And that is a beautiful tray!!

    • I like your philosophy. It definitely reminded me to pay attention to the external world (again) though I wonder why I seem to hurt myself most often in safe places. Maybe that they are safe places is an illusion I need to disabuse myself of. 😀

  2. I am so sorry you fell and hope this finds you having a better evening. This was a great story…

  3. I immediately had a bad feeling when I saw the news last night about the Iranian general, and I actually felt a little afraid. On the up side, I think the attack is going to backfire on occupant 45 and warmongers. More people than not are tired of military entanglements abroad.

    Hope your head heals nicely and all is well for skiing in the future.

    • I hope you’re right about Old 45. I’m so tired of him. I was thinking last night that what people want from a government is the freedom not to have to think about or worry about what the government is doing. We don’t have that now. 😦

      Thank you for your kind wishes. ❤

  4. Stop that! No more trippin’ or falling or stumbling! Hope the head’s better. It’s been too long since I read the science, but there’s research saying we’re most likely fall/be hurt at home or within a mile of home because we’re too comfortable in our usual surroundings. In my house, my closest calls come when my Aussie sneaks up behind me when I’m at a counter and I nearly trip over him as step away. I’m sure the odds go up when you’re already grumpy, as any rational person would be given the circs you described. Go skiing tomorrow, and may your golf course be groomed 🙂

    • You cheered me up. 🙂 I think I’ve also read that most injuries happen at home. Most of mine have (or on perfectly flat soft grassy trails or in city parks…)

      The Nordic Club is going to try to groom the golf course tomorrow, so fingers crossed. The loveliest thing about it is they also groom a trail around the golf course for walkers so I don’t just get the benefit of groomed trails to ski on but the dogs and I get groomed trails to walk on. They also put up signs telling people where to walk to protect the ski trails. ❤

  5. Oh! I do hope your head feels better by tomorrow! I also want to wish you a very happy birthday! The gift from your cousin is beautiful and I’m sure it was prompted because it belonged to your namesake. It is fitting you have it. As for a dinner date – sure it would be nice but having a friend you can laugh with is even better!

    • I agree — dinner dates (as I recall) often had strings attached. My head feels better already.

      The gift means a lot to me — my Aunt Martha was very precious to me (and vice versa) and my cousin’s mom, as well, so this is a treasure.

  6. First, I’m thankful your ok and not seriously injured. I’m sorry you didn’t get to go for your ski run too. I’m thankful that I have had the wonderful privilege of knowing you and having you in my life. Like you, there are times I would love to have someone to go to dinner with and enjoy an evening out with. I’m too old and decrepit to consider an ongoing relationship I thnk, past that stage, but a true friendship would be nice indeed! I sincerely hope you’re able to get out tomorrow and that you don’t have a mother of a headache as a result of the incident. Lots of love, xoxoxo

  7. The platter is truly lovely, and it was nice that your cousin knew you would treasure it, as you did (do) the relationship with your Aunt Martha.

    My husband does not take me out to dinner for my birthday. And if I want cake, I buy it myself. He does get me a gift, but I actually buy it. 😀 He has his good points.

    My husband and I discussed the military action that killed the Iranian General, each of us coming at it from a different perspective. I really wish we (the world) could live in peace with one another; that people could see their own reflection in other people and realize that what we have in common is greater than our differences. If only it was so simple. But, it’s not, and war never ceases. It just moves from one place to another. That is the sad truth.

    Hope you get on those skis soon! ❤ (don’t know why my hearts aren’t red)

    • I don’t think any of my husbands remembered my birthday. But that’s expected with a birthday that arrives when everyone is sick of celebrating stuff.

      As for the assassination of the Irani general. It occurred to me this morning that I can spend my limited remaining time on earth worrying about that kind of thing or worrying about things that pertain to me. It’s a pretty strange thought but I think I might be onto something. 🙂

  8. Oh, dear, Martha — I totally missed this as I scanned the headings of messages each day while I was away! I’m sorry about your fall, but it sounds as if you are recovering well, and will soon be out with the dogs to langlauf. It’s good that the nordic club is also grooming the golf course — that will make things safer for you. And happy birthday from another Capricorn!

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