Thursday, March 28, 2019

Laughing At Coopers

While walking today I saw a Coopers Hawk and laughed in delightful defiance at the site of her. It was like seeing Winter himself trip on a banana peel. It felt good to laugh, like I had been holding my breath. The walk was partially a celebration as I had already been into town and handed Wendy at the post office my mortgage check. I asked her to please get it out today, and postmark it too. She happily obliged. I had pulled it off. If I was lucky I would even be able to make the health insurance payment before the end of the month. I would try. Holy Crow, would I ever try.

I was on my way to Shushan. A little village tucked beside the Battenkill River. There's a few houses, an old train station, a post office, a general store and antique shop. That's it. But part of this celebration was going to Yushak's for a lunch to go and eating it beside the river while I rested before walking the four miles home.
I wouldn't have been able to laugh a few miles ago. A mile into my walk—as I was crossing the small highway at the bottom of my road for the dirt roads across from it—I heard the familiar sounds of the mail truck. It turned up my road. Anxiety hit me like a hard slap.

How can I explain this to you? Have you ever left your pets or children in the care of a new babysitter and an hour into your date night you see sirens of ambulances head towards your home? Your rational mind knows that there is a very little chance that their destination is your house, but it could be. What if my mail carrier was holding a foreclosure notice in her mailbag right now. What if I was too late? What if there was any number of threats in red envelopes? What if bad news was happening and I was a mile away.

I felt the waves of a small panic attack start to invade my logic like little tremors. Anxiety doesn't care about logic. It certainly doesn't care about statistics. I wanted to run back up the hill for the relief of knowing what was in the mail. I wanted to know that on the day I finally mailed the Hail Mary mortgage I managed to skate past danger once again. I needed to know.

I forced myself to keep walking. Anxiety is the entire reason I walk. I have too much energy, and my brain uses most of it to worry. I knew if I tired out my body, if I made myself walk, the waves of panic would leave. It was a matter of being too tired to use energy for stress.  So I made myself listen to the audiobook of The Wise Man's Fear and keep walking.

I walked past farms and houses. I walked past pigs and turkeys, deer and squirrels, and I saw many birds. So many ravens and crows right now are collecting anything stringy and soft for their nests. I saw the ravens near my farm taking the piles of black fur that I brushed off of Merlin yesterday away in their beaks. Somewhere near my farm baby ravens would hatch among black pony fur. This didn't make me laugh at all. It did make me smile like a good glass of whiskey tastes.

While walking I met a great dog named Winnie and watched

When I made it into Shushan I ordered a sandwich and grabbed a butterbeer off the chilled shelves. I walked over the to river and sat beside the water. No one else was there, as it was a week day and March. Trout season would see it packed but right now it was just for me.

I sat and ate and listened to my book. Good gods it was lovely. The butterscotch soda and amazing roast beef was perfect. This is all I want in life. I want a home that feels safe, even for a little bit. I want a body that can carry me across roads to new towns. I want to be able to enjoy good simple food and hear stories. I let out a long sigh.

By the time I got home I wasn't worried about the mail. My brain was too tire to race me there. I walked up the mail box and pulled out a letter from a friend in the PNW, a student loan payment reminder, and an LL Bean catalog that looked like clothing for white people on boats. No pressing threats. I was also too tired to feel anything close to fear. I was grateful for the walk.

It's now almost dinner time and I am not hungry at all. I got soap orders packaged, evening chores done, and this written to you. Now I am going to take Friday for a 2 mile walk to end out the day. When rainy days come in the days ahead I won't be out for ten miles so I better enjoy it now.

Thank you for reading. And thank you for your kindness, support, stories, encouragement and interactions. I am grateful for you, too.