Riding the rollercoaster

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The day did not start well, either for me or the little fish I had to remove from the tank. It was no surprise that it was dead this morning… it had been looking a little off-colour the night before, though nothing too serious, until one of the larger fish took advantage of its incapacitated state and started using it like a water basketball, swimming around with it in its mouth, chased by its friends. I had put a stop to that ‘game’ and would have removed the ailing minnow to a makeshift hospital tank, had it not hidden itself in the roots of a plant.

I couldn’t blame the fish… they were just following their instincts. Even though such a ‘game’ looked cruel from my perspective, small fish can easily be frightened to death and Nature’s often brutal euthanasia may have been a better option than a long, drawn-out illness. I will never know.

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The day got a lot better at my son’s though, when he sent me out into the garden. Trooper, one of the two ‘miracle-fish’ currently residing in my son’s pond, is still with us. He and another golden orfe had both fallen ill with dreadful ulcers some time ago…we had no hope of their survival when we saw them floating, belly-up, side by side. One of the fish, though, made a dramatic recovery and is back to swimming happily with his shoal. Trooper has not been so lucky, but each time we think he must be at his last gasp, he rallies and proves he can still swim with the best of them, albeit a little lopsided… so the daily checking on Trooper is always a bit of a rollercoaster, as we worry not only about his recovery, but about whether he can escape any local predators… like the heron and the cats.

The heron flies over most days, but the cats…the ones who moved in en masse to my son’s home over the winter… seem to have disappeared. The food in the automatic feeder still disappears daily too, but I haven’t seen any of them in weeks now. Their fickleness is a little sad, but then…that’s why I prefer dogs.

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On a nicer note, mother magpie brought her babies into the garden today. We had worried about them too when the crows had mobbed the nest at the top of the tree. We’ve been worrying about the birds for a while, as the neighbours chose to cut down an awful lot of the trees that they called home, and for a while, the garden fell silent. The little birds were soon back, though, and it was good to watch the young magpies establishing their familial pecking order over the bird bath, while the wren sang on the fence and the tits and finches raided the bird table.

Apart from checking on Trooper, though, my mission had been to photograph the bees on the globe thistle…and that was a definite delight, apart from the sadness of the bee caught in the spider’s web. It was still and lifeless, too late for any help… there was nothing I could have done… and after the fish, I would have hesitated to interfere with the natural process.

Life is constantly being recycled, from the decay of fallen fruit and leaves that feeds the earth, to the recycling we, with our emotional view on life and death, find distressing or distasteful. There is a great dance of energy in motion, flowing through first one lifeform then another as each completes its allotted span and purpose, returning the components of its life to the greater life of earth.

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Even so, it was sad to see the little lifeless creature, paralysed and caught in the web below the flower that is drawing more bees than any other at the moment. I love their soft, furry bodies of the bumblebees, covered in pollen that seems to refract a rainbow of colour and I spent a pleasant half hour watching them.

The next plunge of the rollercoaster came after I had brought my son over for him to use my bathroom… his being out of commission for the next month or so. Much to the dog’s delight, he is coming over every day for a shower and she is loving the extra captive ball-thrower. Sadly, though, as Nick is a bit unsteadier than usual today, he had a fall as we were going back out through the front door this afternoon. He was fine… he fell on me… and rather than doing the decent thing and checking to see if we were both okay, the dog did her best Houdini impression, bounded over our tangled legs and ran.

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I live in a quiet cul de sac… but the roads through the village are dangerous, the cars drive fast…and there are cows, horses and sheep to contend with if Ani takes to the fields. I was convinced she would go that way, as that is where we walk, so headed off in pursuit on foot, while Nick manned the doorstep in case she wandered home. There was no sign of her. I scoured the fields, checked the farm, fishing lake and stables, ran down to the allotments, all the way through the village to the shop across the main road… I walked miles without a sight of her and, as rush hour approached, grew more and more afraid.

It was only as I passed the village veterinary practice that I thought to check with them, to see if they had heard of a stray dog. The receptionist smiled… Ani is microchipped and while I searched, they had emailed me to let me know she had just been brought in. Fear gave way to relief as they brought her out to me… wagging her tail furiously and obviously expecting me to be proud of her adventures… We had words about that on the way home. But she still got chicken for dinner.

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I ended the day on a good note too, with a copy of a Derbyshire village magazine in my inbox and a hard copy in the post. They had seen my article of their little church… the one that smiled…and asked if they could reproduce it. I was glad to agree, pleased that the editors approved of how I had described their church.

But the day really had been an emotional rollercoaster, and in between the various domestic dramas,  and just for good measure, Nick had asked about the time he spent in the coma. So I revisited and relived some of the emotions I had experienced while he was unconscious and, we were told, about to die. We talked about the various levels of consciousness, from blind reaction to the dispassionate observer within, that watches without judgement or attachment as you move through the moment, good, bad or just the space between.

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Nick quoted the Buddha’s reference to the Self as witness to inner truth, while we discussed whether or not your reactions are really ‘you’… or whether they are a consequence of who you really are…and it had been a day of reactions for both of us. It occurred to me that we are very like the bees I had been watching… scurrying through life, collecting grains of experience like pollen that cling to us, like it or not, from every moment of our lives. These grains of experience are the raw materials of reaction, forming the basis of how we both protect and propel ourselves through our days. Some of what we collect is bitter, some sweet as honey… but all of it adds to our store of knowledge. We can wall ourselves in behind what we learn, allow ourselves to be ruled and perhaps paralysed by fear…or we can let it open us to life and lead us, eventually, towards wisdom.

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30 thoughts on “Riding the rollercoaster

  1. Loved your post Sue. So glad to know Ani was safe, and Nick is OK.
    Hubby and I love bees, and will take a tired one to a flower for it to feed and hopefully regain strength. We often wonder when their time comes if they simply stop and fall in mid flight or land somewhere first. We are so pleased our garden lavender and buddliea are attracting them.

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  2. I loved your analogy to the bees: scurrying through life, collecting grains of experience like pollen that cling to us, like it or not, from every moment of our lives.
    This was quite a full day for you!

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  3. Re-blogged on Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn. You know, this is such a good lesson in life and a wonderful way of describing who and what we are and our “purpose” for being here. Sometimes with the insects, birds, and other creatures, we know clearly their purpose. Bees help pollinate the flowers and also the vegetables, and without them, we might be bereft of food. The birds play a role in spreading seeds, and others that eat other creatures like fish play a role in fertilizing the soil. Sometimes the purpose of an animal (other than that they become our pets and we love them) is not quite so obvious unless they are say a guide dog, and that is something we have taught them to do, so not something they were born to do so to speak. Still others whose purpose we still do not know , or perhaps we wonder why when all we can see of them is what is on the surface. This was an excellent post, for it deals with how we perceive and react to life day by day. Do we perceive passively, or do we want to take action to do something to “help” nature, or perhaps to run away from it in some of its forms (say a fire or a snake), or are we in a state of being that simply observes, but not passively, our minds and spirits actively taking it in and understanding the larger picture? Thank you kindly. Sometimes (like all of the time), these shared daily posts are as significant as the visits we make to these wonderful sites. Those of us who are reading or who have read this post cannot help but read it from our emotions, for it has a lot of elements that would cause most folks to react to it. So we have a state of observation, which can be passive or active (at least in how we react to it – perhaps intellectually and perhaps emotionally). I think at times that we can be in both those states – for example, we may be looking in a telescope and seeing a new planet or star, and there is the intellectual side of that, but also the emotional. And somewhere perhaps in between is this state of being and I am still not clear whether it is passive or active, but I guess that will come with time. Thank you for this great post once again!

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  4. Oh, Sue, what a day. The poor wee fish, it’s hard, I know and I think bigger fish are cruel but then I guess it is in their nature. The poor bee, but spiders have to eat. Thank the Goddess, Ani is okay. The worry would have been dreadful. We nearly lost our daughter Tara to an ongoing seizure, she is epileptic and when she asks what happened during the time she was unconscious and fitting, it’s hard to talk about still. She came through when the survival rate of such an episode is slim, she is like the fish at your son’s pond, she keeps on swimming and will do better and better every year. xxx

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  5. Just when I think the drama is over, there it is again. What is it with the dogs always running into the road? We have, behind our house, about 100 acres of essentially untouched woods, but they always run up to the road. Except Duke. He just hangs out in the backyard. He has been rescued and apparently intends to stay that way.

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    1. Ani seems to have managed to get herself rescued fairly rapidly when she has taken herself out… for which I am grateful… but I never know about it till later and still panic…

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      1. We’ve had a few of those horror stories with our pack on more occasions than I like to recall. Walking 12 rescue dogs at a time can be a challenge! They are all very good – unless a deer happens to grab their attention…

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        1. Thankfully An is usually too busy with her nose to the ground to notice the deer…and we’ve come close… but squirrels, now, they are dangerous creatures and I must be protected from them at all costs… even when I’m still attached to the leash… 😉

          And twelve? You are both a brave woman and a lucky one! 🙂

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          1. Ha ha, yes squirrels are very dangerous – they might throw nuts at you!
            We’re now down to 8, as several were quite old when we took them on, and I think 12 will remain a record we won’t be looking to even again, but they can be so hard to resist when you know what awful conditions they’ve come from – most of these are from Spanish perreras.

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