During Hard Times

A few weeks ago I drafted a blog post entitled “Whether to Write About Bleak Topics.” The post detailed a very difficult time in my life and an life shattering event in my fairly distant past. An event that stays with me even now and punctuates my daily experiences with little pin-prick reminders, painful but fleeting. I was ready to post that essay after much ambivalence. Then something came up last friday that stopped me from posting.

After the recent events, here I am digging my way out of a psychological garbage dump. The kind of dump they had when I was a little kid, a post-Armageddon tract of land with road ways along which piles of junk were dumped every day. Maybe it was my crazy mom or maybe people just did this back then, but we’d venture out to the fields of discarded furniture, trash, old machines. (The dump was behind the drive in movie theater we often went to during the summers). My mom would pile us into the station wagon and take us to the Fairhaven dump. We’d trudge through the heaps of junk in search for something of value. I remember the experience the way a child remembers things–without any implications (i.e., bacteria, tetanus, rats). Instead, it was a mission on mars; to me, as a child, the dump was a fascinating place.

Maybe that is where I find myself now, in a post-Armagedon psychological dump. Trudging through garbage, trying to find something beautiful and ignore the ugliness.

I’m not depressed right now–although I have been at different times in my life. I’m just stuck here in sadness for a little while until this issue is settled. These are the times I tell myself to look very hard for the good things, for the joys in life. This will is against a strong current of heartache and fear.

As part of this process, a few days ago I decided I wanted to get a guard dog in order to feel safer. It was a spontaneous idea. We already have a 16 year old Border Collie who has completely lost all his faculties. Despite his bad hips, blindness, and deafness, all of a sudden he’s started romping in one place, happily going no where. My friend said just yesterday, “When I get old, I want to go the way Birdie is going. Blissfully unaware.”

I also have a lab / basset mix. He’s a protective dog but his legs are so short despite his lab sized body I don’t know how threatening he is but likely would cause some harm to an intruder. But he’s my little baby and I often tell people he’s my best friend (something I used to think was a ridiculous thing to feel about a dog but now I understand– more recently I’ve begun calling him my soul mate, the poor little object of my affection).

Bigger dog, I thought. Shepherd, Husky, Doberman.Get a bigger dog, a young adult ferocious animal that would keep me safe from all of my fears.

We decided to get another dog. My daughter was ecstatic.  She’s begged for a puppy for over a year now. We pored over the humane society listings and craigslist.

And then…

we found Pannonica. My husband named her after Baroness Kathleen Annie Pannonica de Koenigswarter (Jazz patron to Thelonious Monk) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pannonica_de_Koenigswarter

I had sought a protector to keep me safe from old fears and instead I found out that what I really needed -at this moment in time– was to be needed, to laugh, and love with little Nica. To protect this little thing until she’s big enough to protect me.

Here’s our new watchdog, Pannonica defending us against a broom.

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