“I’ve got an interesting article to share with you,” I told my nephew some days ago while on the way to Five Guys for burgers. We were lucky to have him for a spell while his parents attended Back to School Night.
“Okay, what’s it about?” was his cheery reply.
“It’s about the day the dinosaurs died,” I replied. “Let’s read it together after burgers.”
I’ll admit I was a bit reticent about sharing the article with him. He is not quite twelve and though he has experienced two grandparents passing within three years he’s sweet and sensitive as can be. I certainly didn’t want to cause nightmares. And, when I thought about it for a moment longer I realized too it was because of my fear…specifically the whole gloom and doom thing. I had read the article just hours before over morning coffee. Geez-louise! We could get hit by a similar catastrophe, very much like the one that catapulted the earth into the ice-age.
Note to self: Stop reading stuff like that before the roosters are up and crowing!
Later after stuffing ourselves silly on those fabulous Five Guys fries, we convened on the back deck. As promised, I read parts of a Wall Street Journal article aloud to my nephew sharing the new evidence uncovered about the massive asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs some 65 million years ago. You can (hopefully) view it here: https://www.wsj.com/articles/scientists-discover-new-evidence-of-the-asteroid-that-killed-off-the-dinosaurs-11568055601?shareToken=staf6b086021d7498d8b13372021f0e7b1
He was enthralled of course and even shared some tidbits on geology and sedimentary rock which impressed the snot out of us. After our nephew left, I stayed out on the screened-in porch for quite some time. As I cradled my glass of wine in the quiet of the evening I realized I was becoming lost in a thought pattern of gloom. I should not have read the article…things like that really get to me. Which is why I do not watch horror and shoot-em-up movies. Doris Day and Rock Hudson…now that is my happy place!
When hubby joined me I again I brought up the topic of asteroid doom…but not before asking for more wine.
“You want another glass?’ he asked with a look of feigned concern.
Full disclosure, I wanted the entire bottle of wine.
(fear not dear reader. I was a good girl.)
“Well, why not? No time like the present. After all, we could get hit by a massive asteroid before the next sunrise.”
“Ah,” he said. “I see where this is going.”
So, in a professorial manner he tried his best to convince me that asteroid doom was quite unlikely to happen imminently and furthermore we would know of an asteroid hurling in our direction years in advance of causing a cataclysmic event. .
Well, that’s reassuring…..
For those of you who watched the hilarious show Bing Bang Theory, perhaps you’ve guessed by now kind reader that I am the “Penny” to this “Sheldon/Leonard” husband of mine. So I ask: But what would we do? Would we like…um… shoot the thing down?
Sheldon/Leonard: Actually what we would do is deflect it while it is still in space. The object would be to knock it off course….get it into another orbit…so that it misses Earth.”
My Sheldon/Leonard guy said a lot of other stuff but honestly my eyes began glazing over pretty darned quickly. Sadly, I cannot blame it on the wine.
Still, I couldn’t shake the asteroid doom. It made me think once again about the impermanence of everything…the fragile nature of our lives and every little thing we know, love or care a wit about. So many of my problems are First World. Why bother getting attached to anything…good or bad? Why agonize, for example, about what to get my daughter for Christmas or that my son is still a mess? Why be in such a hurry to bag autumn leaves that are already piling high on my front porch just to make everything neat and pretty… or even continue another debate with hubby on whether we spring for yet another year of expensive pet insurance for our aging poodle.
My ruminating went on and on with the voices getting louder and louder. In meditation circles–or more precisely, Buddhism– it’s called the “monkey mind.” It’s our minds filled with endless chatter: negative, positive it matters not. It can be a hundred monkeys all vying for your attention and before you know it you’re a whirling dervish of thoughts and emotions. It’s my mind, caught between bliss and doom and everything in between. It can be exhausting….at the very least.
Before I knew it tears are streaming down my face. Oh I must stop this pity party I think as I move to get up. Pain seared through both knees as I shifted my legs off the chair in front of me. As I rub my little “gargoyles” (bone spurs) that have somewhat disfigured my arthritic knees I am keenly aware that my knee issues and host of other things are nothing compared to the challenges others face. Like my dearest friend who is battling a rare cancer and another who struggles with depression or a friend’s husband undergoing heart surgery. There is a whole world out there that seems upside-down; it often seems dark, chaotic and in a turmoil that borders on insanity to me.
Wowza. Is there a full moon or something? Just yesterday I was basking in the glow of a perfect workout, happy as a clam with a new read…. and ready for all the blessings of autumn…
Clearly I need to guzzle a boatload of chamomile and get out of this negative bubble…not to mention glue myself onto the meditation pillow .
I managed a decent sleep in spite of too much Cabernet. By morning I was back to feeling a bit more chipper. Still, as I walked down into the woods with The Poodle I could feel a slight edge. He wanted to stop and mark EVERY. SINGLE. TREE that lined the heavily wooded path.
“Come on boy…get a move on,” I huffed impatiently as I pulled on his lead. I’ve no idea why I was in such a hurry; it’s not like I had places to be and important things to do.
And then, just as I was about to yank on the lead yet again I stopped dead in my tracks. The sight before me was mesmerizing. It gave me such pause that I stopped for several minutes. The Poodle stood patiently beside me as my breath became quiet. I could actually feel my heart expand in joy. I was instantly lighter, as if the weight of my sixty plus years had been lifted….
and all because of a dancing leaf, held well above the path by a whisper of a spider’s web.
The monkey mind is much quieter and that’s Bliss a hundred-fold.