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The Winter of Discontent...

by Joyce Johnson

Deer sleeping off deck

It looks like I will have to go on my annual writer fast because I just can’t think of what to put in my column. The problem is I am stuck inside the house pacing, and I tire of white and ice and cold and brown—and the dang wind which makes it a double work out if not slightly dangerous to go for a walk. In my mind you say, “it’s not exactly 40 below Joyce, and Spring is just around the corner and …” there are big buds on my lilac tree I know I know.

But here I am writing aren’t I? Here is my column maybe. But I am discontent with myself lately, so like nearly everyone, project it unconsciously on other people.

When I whirl away in a self righteous... miff, I find I am looking in the mirror, and the magic mirror says to me, “It’s not them, it is thee!” Ow! Here is the simple but potent event that got me into this: A good friend and I got offended with each others comments on a FB post, (dumb yes) and almost ended a long time friendship...(completely stupid)...but anyhow, my friend had a vision and she wrote it in a message to me the next day:

“Last night I got this imagery of the two of us being like little kids: little fainting goat kids romping around in our own little world, bumping heads, passing out and falling over, only to wake up, get up and run around and enjoy all over again.

The idea was so visual that I just had to smile and laugh at our shenanigans. I hope you get a laugh out of this imagery as well. I do love you Joyce.” Well this made fast work of my ire and gagging disdain. Poof! gone! and heart opened and tears came. The sneery me melted away. I should end my article here...with me humble and teary eyed, but I have some room left to write, and things got even better.

My heart having opened, I think, it was as though it was then open to more of same and another friend’s phone call was uncanny good timing. She is a certified “thought sleuth” which are my words about her skill at guiding one to identifying and focusing on a painful thought, and uncovering whether it is true or not without cracking the mirror when you look. Some of you have heard of The Work, a self inquiry program developed by Bryon Katy. One day my friend told me that when she first discovered her painful thought was not actually true, a light bulb went on. She said, “I could almost feel the new synapses forming in my brain.” On the phone she listened kindly as I whined about this and that and not getting what I want she reminded me that even people who have everything big time, feel that way. And then she reminded me that I have a lot of skills that I enjoy,

and options to change things, and maybe my thoughts aren’t really true?

She said, “So maybe begin with just one small project, and be kind to yourself.” (I have some favorite socks that need darning!) This was Valentines Day I must add. I heard her good simple council. The clearing of the fog in the mind had the effect of dissolving my bad mood like the endearing vision of goats playing in a barnyard. I am grateful for friends who hang in with me, and who remind me to jump back up and continue to gamble about. My winter of discontent went poof!

Deer story #3 – Early morning a day later, Ron came hurrying in to the room and said “We have a situation!” I said, huh? and quickly followed him towards his office thinking another world disaster is on the computer and braced myself. Instead he led me out the back door into the howling wind, and there was a little deer laying on the ground next to the bottom step; a little disaster literally on our doorstep. But my heart lurched. Not another one! (We have had 3 wounded deer show up in our lives this winter.)

Her back ankle was jammed between the wood slats of the bottom step and she could only lie there, hoof awkwardly twisted and bleeding. I cringed, pulled my robe tight and hunched over in empathic pain, and it was so cold. How long has she been there? Something must be broke? It should hurt horribly. Do we have to chainsaw the step? It will terrify her! Ron was thinking out loud - “Who do we call?” He suddenly said: “Get me a crowbar or something.” I reached behind me to a bunch of tools and something that looked like it would work caught my eye, and I handed it to him. Bingo! He was able to pry the slats apart just enough to inch her ankle out and he laid it gently down in the snow.

But no movement from her. She must be in shock. Then he petted her and she lifted her head and looked at us. Ron said “food.” I said “water.” I went to get these and thought of peroxide for the wound, and I cut up an apple. She didn’t respond to any of it, just laid there, but Ron kept petting her little head until we just had to go back inside. [I had sad visions of calling hunter friends to mercifully….] I stood in the kitchen and felt wrong not doing anything else, so I did the only other thing I could do. I prayed for her, and got an old blanket and went back outside. (Why do I forget I can pray?) So I prayed while gently petted her little head. Suddenly she jumped up and ran out of the yard not even limping, and that had to be impossible! And I stood there holding my breath for a long moment. All discontent… Poof! Gone with the fawn.