A practical solution spurs self-examination
In our rural neighborhood three miles outside a city of 150,000, we’re surrounded by pasture land filled with cattle grazing contentedly. While the city offers regular escapes to shop or access services, a short, scenic drive out of the melee of the city erases all stress from our overheated selves.
I adore the sound of mooing, as I’d never before spent any time on a farm. From the pasture two blocks from our house, we hear the cattle regularly and watch them move through their land. The calves trail the elders as they seek out grass to graze.
Fencing a pasture is expensive, hard work and before I’d moved here I’d never seen a fence improvised out of found materials, which I christened, “living fences.” I’m astounded how efficiently it functions.
Farmers and ranchers take various tree branches of assorted lengths to use as fence poles, stringing them together with barbed wire. Over time, these branches sprout leaves, growing taller and stronger. Eventually the fence becomes a barrier row of living trees, providing shade and protection for the cows and beauty for the beholder.
Before you jump to conclusions, stop with the FTW? and calm yourself down. After years of social media aversion (despite a career in marketing!) and general disengagement, I’ve cannon-balled into the swimming pool to connect with people, places and life.
I’ve decided that social media (namely Facebook) is not inherently evil and I dusted off and updated my stale profile. I’m joyfully reconnecting with high school and college classmates over the past year. I’ve also gotten in touch with friends I left in Minneapolis when I moved to the Pacific Northwest. We’ve exchanged emails, family photos and condensed life stories, and I’m so much the richer for having reached out.
Reinvention and reconnection
Recent major events were a catalyst for me:
- 1. We moved to Panama after many years in the Pacific Northwest.
- 2. I lost my mother suddenly to a devastating illness in December 2014.
- 3. My best friend is fighting metastatic kidney cancer.
- 4. A high school classmate suffered a post-surgery crisis and was expected to have permanent brain damage, but she’s recovering and hopes to resume her nursing career.
- 5. Our beloved yellow lab, Shelby, succumbed to liver cancer.
Yes, it sounds like it’s been one great event and four awful happenings within a year. But actually, these events have caused me to draw some positive conclusions.
Geckos and other houseguests
Upon moving to the tropics, I imagined our house would be slithering with all kinds of exotic pests—snakes looping out of my lingerie drawer, cockroaches as large as dinner plates scurrying across the tile floors and God-knows-what hiding under my bed.
The first non-human visitors entering our home have been curious, adorable geckos. I don’t mind them a bit, even when they leave poop behind the bookcase as their calling card. I’m fascinated by their pale skin, buggy black eyes, orange toenails and surprising speed. We’ve christened our new roommate “Pinky” for his delicate color and approximate size.
Due to the Geico commercials, I thought I detested geckos, but this reptile neither walks upright or speaks with an Australian accent. Pinky hide behind our flatscreen, whose glow illuminates the living room wall attracting bugs galore. He’ll dart out and snap up a moth and chase it with a fly—the little show-off! He’s lived behind our TV for a year, clearly enjoying the protection of his dwelling. Any other geckos who come inside the house are chased away by the territorial Pinky. We’ve come to anticipate nightly sightings of this curious lizard, who sometimes hides under the straw hats we’ve hung on the dining room wall.
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