It is shameful to know that if I had lived during WW2, I would have been a dreadful coward. I would have been scared witless. I had very minor experience with the troubles in SE Asia and I was not afraid then, but I was detached from it. The chances of a Western child getting hurt were remote.
Just how people continue to go about their lives with bombs dropping or bullets flying, I can’t imagine. And there are people who live that way all the time. God help them.
The occasions in which I’ve actually felt proud of myself could be counted on one hand.
Cowards must comfort themselves with small successes.
The other day I looked up to see a spider on my desk.
Not so long ago, I would have jumped up and called Grant to come and remove it. It’s not that I am afraid of spiders. They just give me the absolute creeps.
However, I have made progress after seven decades, to where I now photograph spiders, and I discovered that this one was very much more afraid of me than I of it.
He scurried as fast as his 8 little legs would carry him.
Somebody must have warned him about my macro lens and he did not wish to be in it.
These days I am much more concerned about ticks and I carefully avoid the long grass that is full of them.
Which presented me with a problem when I realized, yesterday, that the blasted grape vine was growing up my spruce tree.
It’s all very well to let things go wild, but this vine is seriously bad news and has caused a lot of damage to trees up in the woods.
It had to be removed. But to do so, I must trudge through the tall weeds and grasses. Oh no.
Grant is always trying to get me to wear hats and he presented me with one yesterday so I thought “OK, I’m going to do this thing!”
So today, my first job after breakfast, was to wrap myself up head to toe and spray tick repellent all over. Thus attired I made a foray into a sea of green. Using a rake to push a path through the chest high weeds, I marched quickly down to the spruce and seized the vine stalks.
The job in itself was simple and took but a few minutes.
Then I remembered the bushes. I had noticed that they too were being choked by the dreaded vine, so I rapidly dealt with them, all the time up to my nose in tick territory.
Job completed, I returned the rake to the garage and quick-marched down the path to the house where I shed all my clothes into the washing machine and jumped immediately into the shower.
As far as I could tell, I had made a clean escape. Except that when I sat down to write, wearing a whole new set of clothes, what did I see on the hem of my t-shirt? Bastardly ticks are wily beasts. But when I squashed it there was no blood, so he didn’t get me.
Normally, I won’t kill anything, but ticks make people seriously sick and with a compromised immune system, tick fever is the last thing one needs. Hence my phobia.
Two phobias overcome. Give the girl a prize.
When I suddenly decided to sell up in Washington State and move to a more or less random part of Upstate New York, with 13 cats, no less, some people thought I had lost my mind.
Others told me I was “so brave”.
It was the most complicated, stressful thing I ever did and I was in no condition for it, but I didn’t think it was ‘brave”. It was desperate. I knew I could no longer be happy in Washington and I felt a pull to Back East and I HAD to bring the cats.
So I just made it happen. Not brave.
And as it turned out, not foolish. Inspired!
Having noticed at a rather late moment that there was to be another celestial event this morning, I consulted the Oracle which indicated a possibility of clear sky at the essential hour. So I asked Grant if he wished me to rouse him at 5 am. “Noooooo!” he said. I’ll remember that next time he goes off at the crack of dawn in search of gym equipment!
Not having the right sort of filter, nor a safe eye cover for myself, I can’t pretend it was the most satisfying experience. You will see plenty of amazing photographs from around the world. Mine are not, but I did see the bit I saw and there is some satisfaction in that.
You can just see, at the centre of the above photos, the arc of the sun. Perhaps if there had been less cloud, there would have been a better image, but after I took those two, the light simply diffused and it became a pleasant but not stunning dawn:
Damn. I just remembered that I left a garden fork by the spruce…..