In the last few days I’ve come to see that the “powers” (whoever and/or whatever they are) has taken me in hand, thrown me onto the ground, forced me to slow down, to ask for help, to return “home”. My friend in Colorado Springs really needed my help as he pulls together the first class he’s taught in a few years and he wanted me to stay longer than the three nights I’d originally planned. Other friends wanted to hang out with me (and vice versa). My short journey turned into a very nice — if painful — week once I resigned myself to the fact I wasn’t going anywhere.
More resonant words by the Bronc Riding Philosopher Plumber, “I’m not going up to Denver. If my family wants to see me, they can come down here. I don’t see any good reason to leave the San Luis Valley. I don’t go up there any more.”
I laughed and said, “Yeah. If I hadn’t gone to Colorado Springs, I wouldn’t have hurt my shoulder.”
Once I got home? Same story. There was a moment when I actually thought, “Why do all these people want to see ME?” I still think that’s a little odd, but I also think my wonderment is a little odd. It isn’t that friendship isn’t important to me — it is very important to me — but this past year shifted my orientation somewhat from what friendship means.
I can’t speak for every introvert out there, but my need for people is possibly different from the need extroverts have. I can’t even really define it. Random or brief contact is nice. Long, heart-felt conversations are nice. Socializing for the sake of socializing gets a little uncomfortable. So, I live here…
But we do need each other. We need to be able to walk outside our front door, take a quick survey of our personal ambient reality and feel, “God’s in his Heaven and all’s right with the world.” We all know that the “future is uncertain, etc.” We need to know that the present moment, anyway, this one is doing pretty OK overall. It occurs to me that’s exactly what we lost over the past few years.
Is it a luxury, or entitlement, to think we “deserve” that when so much of the world DOESN’T have the slightest possibility of that? When the water heater went out I thought, “OK.” I didn’t see it as a huge problem. I’d heat water on the stove and carry on as long as I had to.
When I called the plumbing company the woman who took my call said, “We’re really backed up (what an admission for a plumbing company!) but, wait. You don’t have any hot water? OK. I’m pushing you up the list, ahead of the leaky faucets.” The plumber was here first thing the next morning because not having hot water was an “emergency.” In China all the showers were cold. Only the “final rinse” was warm, water heated in a bucket on the stove. Of course, in summer, the water tank on the roof of our building heated a bit in the sun and that was nice, but a year of cold showers didn’t kill me. It was what it was and it was OK. Was that resignation or was it acceptance? There’s a fine line.
Anyway, that’s what I’ve been striving for in my own tiny little life and the recent hammering by “the powers” seems to be helping me get there. And… in the high country north of here it snowed last night. Oh, I hope “the powers” have a snowy winter in mind this year, not the kind that traps people on the highway or causes avalanches and breaks trees and kills birds, but the normal snow that falls softly on a dry and confused world, slows time, soothes the people, satiates the fields and gives joy to me and my dog.