July 15, 2020 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

After a rainy Sunday afternoon, we’ve gotten back to a more normal July weather pattern around here. The pleasant sunshine brings to mind the long summer days of childhood, rambling through the woods and picking wild blackberries in the meadows.

Blackberries ready to be picked.

(Photo credit: Bob Richmond)

The image that I had on my art display on Tuesday was a seashore animation, which showed waves breaking on the sand beneath a gorgeous blue sky. Although the art display is silent, I felt as if I could hear the rhythmic sounds of waves and seagulls very close by.

Then my imaginary view expanded to take in a patch of blackberries near the village of Channelwood. A hillside, dotted with wildflowers, sloped gently down to the beach on the island’s eastern shore. The sea looked calm on this bright, clear day.

Picking berries next to me was my younger self Queenie, dressed as usual like an 1890s farmgirl with a bonnet, braids, and a long gingham dress and stockings. I didn’t have a basket, but Queenie had a good-sized one, which was about half full.

“I remember how much I enjoyed picking berries when I was a kid,” I said, after I had picked a handful and put them into Queenie’s basket. “Those summer days felt like they would go on forever. Going back to school seemed very far away, and being grown up was almost too distant even to imagine.”

“There wasn’t anywhere you needed to be,” Queenie put in, as she carefully disentangled a bramble that had gotten caught on her dress. “There wasn’t anything you needed to do.”

“Yes. Or at least it seemed that way, which amounted to the same thing.” I looked up from the blackberries and, for a moment, let my gaze rest on the hazy blue line of the horizon. “Of course I needed to be home in time for dinner, and I wore a wind-up watch—that was a few years before digital. I remember winding it before school on dark winter mornings. But that watch isn’t part of my summer memories; the days seem timeless as I recall them now, without anything to measure or limit them.”

Queenie picked a few more berries before she spoke again.

“It’s not entirely true that there is nothing I need to do. I’ll have to get back to the village after a while. Ella wants the berries so she can bake blackberry tarts, and I have some chores to do after that. Right now, though, I don’t feel a need to be anywhere else. Maybe that’s all it takes to have a view into forever.”

June 25, 2020 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

After I left Peter at the pond skimming stones in a previous post, I walked up to Channelwood’s well-tended orchards. I found Ella and Sara, in bonnets and long gingham dresses as usual, busily picking apricots. They already had filled two large baskets, and I helped them to fill another. We picked up the full baskets and carried them to a small drying shed near the kitchen outbuilding.

Apricots on a tree.

(Photo credit: Malcolm Manners)

Queenie, who had been pitting apricots and laying them out on drying racks, put down her knife and wiped her hands. I set down my basket in the shade next to the shed, where a stack of empty baskets stood next to a full one.

Sara put her basket next to mine before turning to smile at me. “I love dried apricots, don’t you? And I love picking them on a beautiful sunny day like this. When it’s dark in the winter, they look like tiny bits of sunshine saved to make us happy.”

“Yes, I do too,” I agreed, now feeling more cheerful myself after just a few minutes in the presence of Sara’s boundless enthusiasm. “And I want to thank you girls for generously giving Peter a home and taking such good care of him. I spent a little time with him at the pond, and he looks happy and well.”

“We’re glad to do it,” Sara immediately replied. “Peter is a dear child.”

“No trouble in the least,” Ella chimed in. “Although Peter often acts without thinking—and that’s only to be expected of a five-year-old, after all—he has good intentions and a kind heart.”

I glanced toward Queenie, who was standing silently next to the other girls and had not yet spoken. Staring at the wall of the shed, apparently lost in her own thoughts, she said softly, “I wish…”

Sara, always perceptive and empathetic, turned toward Queenie right away and assured her, “And you’re a dear too, Queenie, of course.”

Picking up empty baskets, Ella and Sara set off toward the orchard again. Ella walked sedately, but Sara’s bouncy gait made clear that she was skipping through the meadow, her long dress billowing behind her.

Queenie picked up her knife and went back to pitting apricots, flinging the pits with unnecessary vigor into a sack at her feet.

“I know that there’s no good reason for me to feel slighted,” she said, half to me and half to the wall. “When I was a child I wasn’t neglected. I always had plenty of food, clothing, and whatever I needed. And of course, Ella and Sara had much harder lives; they both lost their mothers when they were little. I can’t even imagine how awful that must have been. So I’ve had it easy, and I just need to count my blessings and be grateful. You don’t have to tell me that.”

“I wasn’t going to,” I answered. “Your feelings are real. Where they came from doesn’t make them any less real, and denying or minimizing them won’t make them go away. Acknowledge them, Queenie, however you must—and then take a few minutes to go out and skip in the sunshine.”

Now that I’ve gotten more used to a quieter daily routine, I haven’t noticed any of my anxious younger selves popping up from distant corners of my subconscious. Still, this week I thought it might be a good idea to check on my often-troubled past self Queenie, along with her young companions Ella and Sara, in the imaginary village of Channelwood.

I arrived by sailing ship on a pleasant sunny day. After passing through the cool shade of the bayou’s wooden walkways, which Ella always kept tidy and in good repair, I came out of the trees beside a pond. A path, muddy in spots, curved around a tall stand of cattails.

Pond with cattails in foreground.

(Photo credit: Johan Neven)

Hearing a splash, I walked around the cattails and found a small boy standing at the pond’s edge, skimming stones. In keeping with Channelwood’s setting in the 1890s, the boy wore a plain cotton shirt and trousers with suspenders.

“Hello,” I greeted him. “Do you live here?”

The boy looked thoughtful, as if considering how best to answer. About a minute passed before he finally said, “Well, I suppose I do now, ever since Wendy and the Lost Boys left the Neverland and went back to London. Of course I don’t need a family, as I can take care of myself; but Sara wanted to be my mother, so I decided to stay for a while.”

By then I recognized this past self as my five-year-old Peter Pan wannabe. It took a moment for the recognition to set in, though, because in our previous encounter, the child had been dressed in the frilly girl’s clothing that I actually wore at that age.

“Did Sara make your clothes?” I asked.

“No, Ella made them. Ella’s very good at sewing. Sara tucks me in at night and tells me bedtime stories.”

A ripple disturbed the water near Peter’s feet, and a small turtle poked its head up out of the pond. It was holding a flat chip of stone in its mouth. Laboriously, it plodded up the muddy bank and dropped the stone in front of Peter.

“I’ve been teaching the turtle how to play fetch with stones,” Peter explained. He rummaged in a pocket for some squishy brownish blob that he fed to the turtle, telling it, “Nicely done! Good work!”

After eating its reward, the turtle started making its slow way back toward the pond.

“Ella gave me some dried apple,” Peter told me. “The turtle seems to like it pretty well.”

“I thought turtles ate worms and bugs,” I said.

“They’re not very particular. I have a few worms and bugs in my pocket too.” Evidently remembering his manners, Peter reached toward his pocket with grubby fingers and went on to say, “I have more dried apple. Would you like some?”

“No, thank you,” I replied, perhaps with a bit too much haste. “But it was kind of you to offer.”

“One must always,” Peter declared virtuously, “be kind to a lady.”

Sometimes when I go to bed, I visualize myself in a tiny house high in the treetops in Channelwood, the imaginary village that serves as a refuge for my younger selves. One night not long ago, I was picturing myself in a comfortable bed there, with moonlight streaming through the open shutters of a window with no glass.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

I was just about to doze off when the thought occurred to me that Channelwood was still very sparsely populated. The village had only three residents, and the last time I added a new character was in 2017.

While I was sleepily wondering what other characters might suit the story, a little hand reached over the windowsill. Then a head came into view, with bangs and barrettes, soon followed by a body in a frilly dress and white stockings.

“Hello,” I greeted this unexpected guest, whose appearance at the window showed impressive tree-climbing skills, given how high above the ground we were. “Nice climb.”

“I didn’t climb, I flew,” my visitor replied grandly, sliding with ease through the window and sitting cross-legged on the rug. “With fairy dust. You may call me Peter.”

Recognition struck me right away. This was my five-year-old past self, who had loved playing at being Peter Pan and had wanted to fly away to the Neverland instead of going to kindergarten. It wasn’t because I disliked the school, nor was it about wanting to be a boy—although I do remember thinking it was kind of unfair that people couldn’t just pick their gender every morning when they woke up, like choosing clothes for the day. Rather, at five years old, I just wanted to fly with the fairies.

“Very well, Peter,” I played along. “What brings you to my window on this fine night?”

“I was playing tag with a fairy when I got my shadow caught in a tree. By the time I had it untangled, the fairy had forgotten all about our game and was nowhere to be found. Fairies are such scatterbrained creatures. After that I saw your window, and I decided to look in and see what I could discover. I always love new adventures, and midnight is such a wonderful time for adventures, don’t you think so?”

“Yes, in the moonlight things look magical,” I agreed. “Sometimes I imagine that I could step onto a shining staircase and walk up to the moon and stars.”

That fantasy was met with a dismissive gesture. “What for? Who needs stairs when you can fly? If that silly fairy hadn’t wandered off, I would sprinkle you with fairy dust and show you how. It’s really very easy.”

“Maybe next time,” I said.

Just then I heard a loud hooting outside the window. Peter smiled, with moonlight glinting from tiny white teeth, and jumped up from the rug.

“That’s the owl from Neverland. She’s lonely, now that her babies have grown up and left home, and she wants to play jacks with me.”

I couldn’t resist asking the obvious question. “How can owls play jacks, when they’re birds and have no fingers?”

“Owls practice scooping up jacks with their wing feathers until they’re very good at it—better than most humans. She can’t beat me, of course,” and Peter turned to the window and crowed defiantly.

The owl answered with more hoots, which sounded rude enough that they couldn’t be anything other than bird trash talk.

“She’s getting too full of herself. Time to take her down a peg,” and just like that, Peter swung a stockinged leg over the windowsill and was gone.

“Goodbye,” I called after my odd little guest, “and thanks for visiting.”

More crowing and hooting, which soon faded into the distance, were all that I heard in response.

Two women who row with a different club kindly helped my husband and me with our boats and oars at a regatta recently, when we didn’t have anyone else from our own club there, and we were in a big rush because our single and double races were scheduled very close together.

We decided to buy gift baskets to show our appreciation, with apples and other fruit, which we gave to them when we saw them again at another regatta this past weekend.

While I was sitting at my desk on a workday morning, with gift baskets and other cheerful things on my mind, I heard a sad little voice in my thoughts, far away in the distance.

“I was in pain for a long time.”

The voice definitely belonged to Queenie, my troubled younger self who had been wandering around in my thoughts for the past few years, wailing that she was always in pain. Something was different this time, however. I realized after a moment that she was using the past tense, which indicated more emotional distance and capacity for self-reflection. Queenie, it seemed, was finally starting to grow up.

Because I already had gift baskets on my mind, I decided to pop in and visit Queenie in the imaginary village of Channelwood, bringing a virtual basket of goodies with me.

Photo of gift basket wrapped in plastic with purple ribbons.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

It was a chilly autumn night when I arrived. A sliver of moon didn’t give me much light to navigate the narrow little walkway that led to Queenie’s tiny house. I held onto the railing, which was slightly damp, with one hand and the gift basket with the other.

Up ahead, the inviting glow of candlelight seeped through the curtains. I arrived at the door and knocked, feeling just a bit silly about being so formal with a character who, after all, existed only inside my head. Still, considering all of Queenie’s fears and insecurities, I thought it best to respect her personal space.

She came to the door wearing a robe over a nightdress, with her hair wet and tightly braided. Maybe she had been caught outside in the same rain that had left the railing damp. If so, I thought she probably was comfortable by now. A firepot blazed cheerfully in a corner, warming the room, and apple-scented candles in sconces brightened it further.

“Goodies for you,” I said, holding up the basket.

Queenie stepped aside to let me enter. “Thanks. Is today a special occasion?”

I was about to say “Not really,” because it wasn’t a holiday or other notable event on the calendar. Then I thought about it and decided that today really was special because Queenie looked so much better.

“Yes, it’s always special when friends get together and have a good day.”

Queenie had to smile at that. “I’m reminded of Winnie the Pooh.”

“There’s a lot of wisdom in Pooh Bear’s fuzzy little head,” I agreed, standing just inside the door.

“I would offer you a honey jar, but we don’t have any here,” Queenie informed me. “We did find some wild honeybees not far from here, though, and Sara has been thinking that she might take up beekeeping.”

“That’s ambitious of her,” I said. “Don’t worry about offering me any food; I wasn’t planning to stay for very long. I can see that you’re getting ready for bed, and I wouldn’t want to disrupt your evening. I just wanted to wish you a good night.”

As the scene faded and I came back to my present-day life, I still could feel the warmth of Queenie’s cozy little house all around me.

On Friday after work I started feeling gloomy, as if there had been many times when nothing would go as I wanted it, despite my efforts. To cheer myself up, I got a cup of vanilla caramel tea, and then I sat down to relax for a little while. The gloom didn’t seem inclined to go away, though.

Hmm… maybe the present-day me wasn’t the one who needed cheering up.

I visualized an old-fashioned tea service that had two settings in a floral pattern, a basket with a loaf of hot bread wrapped in a white cloth napkin, and a jar of apple butter. Then I pictured all of that sitting invitingly on a wooden outdoor table in the imaginary long-ago village of Channelwood, and I looked around for my often-troubled younger self Queenie.

Tea set for two with floral pattern.

At first I didn’t see her, but then I heard a grunt not far away. Turning around, I saw Queenie in thick cotton gloves, busily cutting up a small tree that had fallen across a nearby path. She had sawdust all over her gingham dress, her bonnet was askew, and a ferocious scowl made plain what sort of day she was having.

Then she saw me and tried to get her face arranged in better order. “You know I didn’t mean it,” she said, before I had even greeted her.

“No accusations here,” I told her mildly, with a nod toward the table. “I’ve just brought some tea.”

A severed branch fell to the ground with a thunk. Queenie put down her saw and took off the sap-stained gloves, not looking much happier as she did so.

“It’s not fair, at all,” she complained, throwing the gloves into a pile of branches, “that when I have a bad day, which of course I didn’t want, you show up to remind me that I’m also making my future selves miserable. Why should I have to be responsible for what goes on in your life? It’s hard enough to deal with my own feelings, without having to worry about yours too.”

A cool breeze blew in from the cliffs above the beach, smelling of salt and washed-up seaweed. It set the leaves to rustling and carried the cry of a lone gull, high and plaintive.

I started to say something, thought better of it, and instead picked up the teapot and poured for both of us.

“Actually, you’re right,” I acknowledged, after a minute or so. “And, you are doing much better when it comes to recognizing and expressing your feelings. You knew exactly what was bothering you just now, and you were able to put it into words and explain it to me clearly.”

Queenie sat down across from me, looking somewhat mollified, and took a slice of bread from the basket.

“Well, I couldn’t say much before I came here, you know,” she told me, still sounding a bit defensive. “I would’ve been laughed at or yelled at—or both—if I talked about my feelings. Besides, it didn’t seem like anyone cared.”

“I’m not here to blame you for how you handled things before,” I reassured her, as I put some bread on my plate and took a sip of tea. “All I wanted to do was cheer you up a little, if I could. What made today such a bad day?”

“That tree.” Queenie gestured toward the fallen wreckage in frustration. “I cut firewood all the time, of course, now that I live here in a small village. And usually I don’t mind, but that tree was one of my favorites. It had lovely blossoms in the spring. I pruned it carefully, expecting that it would look even better next year; but we had a storm last night, and now the tree is gone and all the work I did was wasted.”

“But when you pruned it,” I pointed out, “those branches were used for firewood too, right? Or maybe some of them went to the compost heap, if they were small. So you did get something useful out of your work.”

“Well, yes, sort of,” Queenie said grudgingly, “but we always have plenty of compost, and firewood can be found all over. So it was mostly a waste.”

“The tree isn’t completely gone either.” I glanced toward the jagged remains of the trunk. “It still has a few small branches around the base, and next spring there will be more growth from the roots. Give it a few years, and it will be full of blossoms again.”

Spreading another slice of bread, Queenie looked skeptical, but she didn’t say anything else. The gold necklace that I had given her two years ago glinted in the sunlight.

“And of course it’s not fair,” I continued, “to blame the tree for making you have a bad day, when it didn’t want to have one.”

That finally drew a smile—if only a small one—from Queenie, as she poured more tea.

Yesterday morning, I was sitting at my desk with a cup of coffee when, somewhere far away in a dimly lit corner of my mind, I heard a familiar voice lamenting her woes. She was immediately recognizable as the unhappy past self that I had nicknamed Drama-Queenie a few years ago, before I decided to be nicer to her in an imaginary conversation on this blog.

“I am always in pain. I am always in pain,” she wailed. “I’m so very tired. Everything is so hard. I am always in pain!”

Where her outburst might have come from wasn’t as obvious as her identity. As far as I knew, I’d gotten things reasonably well sorted with Queenie (as I had renamed her, somewhat more kindly) when I told her that she was free to begin a new life in the make-believe village of Channelwood in the 1890s.

Evidently, things hadn’t gone as planned. Although Queenie had said she was happy in the village with her new friends, now she was back inside my head again, sounding worse than ever. She reminded me of a zombie with her mindless wailing, or a sleepwalker in the throes of a very bad nightmare.

Hmmm…

After giving more thought to the nightmare scenario, I pictured myself appearing in Queenie’s tiny house in Channelwood very late at night. Yes, there she was, definitely asleep in a long, old-fashioned nightgown. I couldn’t see much because the curtains were drawn and she had blown out the candle on the nightstand before going to sleep, but there was enough moonlight seeping in through the curtains to show a heap of covers on the floor. She had thrown them completely off with all her thrashing.

“Wake up, Queenie, honey,” I said. “You’re having a nightmare. It’s not real. You’re safe here now, remember?”

Her eyes snapped open, and she recoiled toward the wall as if expecting to be attacked at any moment. “I wasn’t ever safe anywhere. They called me nasty names, and acted like they hated me, and laughed at me whenever I made even the smallest mistake, and, and…”

Queenie burst into sobs and covered her face with her hands. Not wanting to say the wrong thing, I quietly picked up the covers from the floor and put them back on the bed.

“And don’t try to tell me it wasn’t really that bad,” she shouted, letting her hands fall to her sides and clenching them into fists. “Because it was bad, it was, and nobody has any right to say it wasn’t really!”

Taking a step toward the window, which had no glass, I pulled back the curtains. Moonlight streamed into the room. The night breeze was filled with the peaceful scents of pine trees and the nearby ocean.

Full moon over a rocky cove with pines.

(Image by Millie Walker)

“I didn’t say that it wasn’t really bad,” I clarified, after taking a deep breath of the lovely fresh air. “What I said was that it’s not real in the here and now. Maybe we can’t undo things that happened in the past, but we do have choices going forward. Listen to the waves breaking over the rocks, Queenie, and to the wind moving through the trees. Life is calling to you.”

Queenie paced back and forth several times, her bare feet padding relentlessly over the thick rug. Finally she stopped at the far end of the room and looked back at me.

“I’ve tried, you know,” she said. “Ever since I came here to Channelwood. Telling myself it was a safe place, everything was all right, I didn’t have to worry, and all that bad stuff was in the past and very far away. But it wasn’t—it wasn’t gone at all. No matter what I do, or how I try, nothing ever goes away. It’s not fair to say I haven’t done enough.”

“The mind has its own cadence, its own natural flow—rather like the wind and the waves,” I told her, as a gust set the curtains fluttering. “Often we can’t control what shows up in our thoughts. In fact, the reason I’m here right now having this conversation with you is because when you get upset, that disturbs my thoughts, and I can’t just switch you off. So, it would be ridiculous for me to say that you haven’t done enough, wouldn’t it?”

“Okay, I guess that’s fair,” Queenie said, giving me a tentative smile. “I’ll try harder not to mess up your thoughts, but I can’t make any promises.”

“No worries.” I smiled back. “If you have any more trouble sleeping, just let me know, and I’ll bring you a nice hot cup of cocoa.”

December 5, 2018 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

One day last week I found myself thinking about a time, many years ago, when I got stressed beyond my tolerance. It wasn’t easy to believe things would get better. After a while, everything worked out reasonably well; but I still feel as if I have that stressed-out past self worrying endlessly in the back of my mind.

Trying to cheer her up, I invited her to spend some time in my imaginary village of Channelwood. As soon as she materialized in one of the village’s tiny houses, though, it was obvious that there would be no uplifting conversation taking place. Younger-Me didn’t even seem to notice my presence as she sat on the bed with her arms wrapped tightly around herself, staring blankly out the window at a gentle rain while birds chirped and twittered in the trees.

“I’m cold, so very cold—I am always so cold,” she kept repeating.

The air temperature in this scenario wasn’t anything out of the ordinary; I was imagining a pleasant breeze from the window. Regardless, my past self didn’t seem to be talking about the actual surroundings, but rather about feeling that the world was a cold, inhospitable place in general.

What could I say to that? No words came to mind. Instead, I thought of a blanket I keep in my living room, which was a gift from my mother-in-law. I like it for staying comfy on the couch, especially on these long December nights.

Blanket with floral pattern on couch. 

I pictured myself wrapping the blanket around my younger self’s shoulders and telling her, “It’s all right. Everything will be okay,” just as if I were comforting a distressed toddler in need of a nap.

She still didn’t look at me or say anything in response. Instead, the scene ended abruptly when she faded out of it. For the next few days, I turned it over in my mind looking for profound life lessons, but didn’t come up with anything that would qualify as new or perceptive. I finally decided that its meaning might be as simple as just acknowledging the fact that, sometimes, we all need a little more warmth.

After spending so much time this year rowing with my husband and traveling to regattas, it feels sad to look outside and see frost on the grass in the morning, while the boats sit empty until warmer weather returns. But, on the other hand, it’s not realistic to be on the go forever. Although it would be nice to have unlimited energy for fun activities, sometimes what’s needed is to relax and not be in a rush.

My subconscious mind drove home that message on Monday morning with no subtlety whatsoever, before I fully woke up. An unexpected thought came into my head without any filtering. “Thank God it’s Monday,” my half-asleep brain informed me. “It’s just an ordinary workday, and there’s no need to go anywhere.”

That left me considering how I might do a better job of balancing travel and adventures against the need to rest and replenish my energy. Even though this wasn’t something that happened long ago, I decided on Tuesday evening that a make-believe conversation in one of the tiny houses of Channelwood, the imaginary village where I send my stressed-out past selves for a restful vacation, could give me some insight.

I pictured my half-asleep Monday morning self sitting on the bed next to me. The scenario reminded me of a dorm room because the only other place to sit was a desk chair. Outside a narrow window, a cliff fell sharply away to the ocean, and I heard the surf and seagulls clearly.

Cliff with trees and shrubs dropping away to the ocean.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)


I couldn’t manage to compose any useful dialogue, though. Monday-Morning-Before-Coffee-Me was not lucid enough to put more than a few words together, and just looked like she wanted to go back to sleep. And to be honest, I didn’t think of any good questions to ask her before I was dozing off too.

It wasn’t a completely wasted exercise in imagination, though, because the idea of a dorm room left me dreaming that I was back in college. I wanted to eat a leisurely pancake breakfast in the cafeteria, but my husband (who was, of course, my boyfriend then) was telling me to hurry up and grab something quick.

In real life, he generally doesn’t try to rush me when I am eating breakfast because he knows I hate that. So I interpreted the dream-image as referring not to him in particular, but to whatever might put me in a rush.

As for the pancake breakfast in the cafeteria, I decided that was my subconscious mind’s advice for enjoying a more restful life; and I made banana pancakes with real maple syrup. Yum, that left me feeling better!

August 16, 2018 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

Monday seemed like a melancholy day, without much good reason for it. Dark thunderstorms and cooler temperatures have been rolling through the area for days, making it feel as if we’ve already lost the warmth of summer; and I was bothered at times by memories of past foolish acts when I was younger. Of course, those things didn’t matter much even at the time, and they’re all totally unimportant now; but they just tend to stick around as little irritants in the mind—rather like burrs, or maybe sand and grit in shoes.

So when I went to bed Monday night, I decided that I would benefit from a calming visit to my imaginary Channelwood Sanatorium for troubled past selves, as described in several of my Younger Self posts. I generally picture two of Channelwood’s tiny homes as being kept available for my use. They’re both about the same in dimensions and furnishings, about 100 square feet and containing a bed that converts to a daybed, a nightstand, a small desk, and a dresser/wardrobe unit that has a mirror with an ornate pewter frame hanging above the dresser section.

The only difference is that they are located on opposite ends of the village. One is deep in the forest, while the other is close to the beach. Depending on which I choose, when I get in bed I’ll set my clock radio to play either an ocean soundtrack or a rainforest with tropical birds singing.

Tropical bird on branch in rainforest.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

I started to feel better after listening to the rain and birdsong through my imaginary window on Monday, and then it occurred to me that perhaps all those annoying past incidents needed was a few good laughs to take the sting out of them. After all, it really was very silly that I still felt bothered by insignificant stuff that happened 30 or 40 years ago. Some of the people there at the time probably weren’t even alive now.

Although that last sentence looks like a morbid thought when put into written words, it briefly struck me as hilarious in my half-asleep brain. I pictured myself telling them, “Hey, guess what, you guys are dead now! Ha, ha, wasn’t it silly, all the ridiculous stuff that we used to think mattered?”

Then a few of their disembodied voices joined in the laughter. “Yeah, we’ve been dead for years! We’re all jolly ghosts now! Ho, ho, being human was so absurd! Can you believe we ever imagined any of that nonsense was important? What a hoot!”

We all laughed raucously together for a minute or two, while the birds went on singing and a cool, refreshing rainforest breeze blew through the tiny house’s open windows.

“Thanks for dropping by, you guys,” I finally said, just a little more seriously. “You’ve really cheered me up.”

“No problem, glad to oblige,” one of the ghosts promptly replied. “Hey, it gets kind of boring sometimes, being dead and all that.”