Monday, July 16, 2007

As If

Yesterday was an incredibly hot day. And because we had so much company, there was no opportunity to take the puppies for their daily walk. It seemed unfair to ask any of our guests to leave the coolness of the house to join us in a blistering dog walk so it didn’t happen.

Old Dog and other dog were satisfied that no one should be wandering around in that kind of heat. But not Dough-Gee. Dough-Gee knew we had missed the important routine of a dog-walk. So it was after dark when he nudged my leg and then sat there staring, staring, staring, and shifting his weight from one front leg to the other. He would not let it be so eventually I took the flashlight and away we went at eleven o’clock for a dog walk.

Thunder was rumbling and there was lightning in the distance, but bravely I started into the woods on our usual dog-walking trails. And that’s when it happened. An invisible swarm of aggressive and widely varied insects attacked me from every side. I could feel fluttering wing membranes, brittle spindle-legs, sharp toe-nails and stingers threatening to puncture exposed flesh. I could also feel the anger. The source of that anger…puzzling?

Scientifically, maybe because of the electricity in the air it was a quark thing brought about by the attraction of opposite charges or repulsion of similar convections. More practically, maybe it was annoyance by the aerial dwellers of the forest of my midnight-invasion into their privacy. Or for them, maybe visually, it was fear sparked by the UFO-beam of my flashlight. Whatever it was, in two minutes flat, I was strongly buffeted on all sides and in two minutes flat solidly convinced that we were being ‘bounced’ off the premises. I found it unbelievable and astonishing how adeptly the message was conveyed.

It was an aggressive attack of winged creatures with barbs, arrows, claws, and all their grand cache of hidden weapons of mass obstruction. In the darkness, those aerial creatures, so engaged in thumping me from every side, though invisible, seemed as big as pterodactyls. But I guess that is how it is. If you investigate a tiny tooth cavity with your tongue, rather than in a mirror, it will feel as big as a saucer. Likewise, when we feel a thing with touch rather than examine it with the eye, it becomes 7x its original size. (I am tempted to make another general observation here, but I don’t want to be crass.)

But I deviate from the topic…

And so, Dough-Gee and I hurriedly turned from the path, crossed the garden, and walked down the gravel road. We were thankful and relieved that the attackers promptly retreated.

But there was a lesson learned. The lesson learned is how wrong we are if we think only the wretchedness of the human spirit can transfer tangible feelings of discrimination and hate. Insects are just as capable without physically stinging or biting. Dough-Gee and I were not harmed physically but we still feel in our souls the sting of ostracism. Of unwarranted hate and rejection.

But I’m not a child anymore. I’m a “senior” by generous definition. And although with age, I’m weaker physically, I’m a whole lot tougher emotionally. Tough like the Rotweiler blood providing emotional courage for Dough-Gee while physically he caves to the inherent weakness of short crooked legs and his Basset Hound blood. Physically, I am weak like him, but emotionally, I am brave like him. So, with time and maturity, now I stand up for myself regardless of what others think.

And that is just how it is. And so, backed my Dough-Gee’s courage and my own, I turned. And with arms akimbo, and hands on my hips, I yelled with unabashed courage into the blackness of the woods.

"F--- you! It’s our world too, you know!"

(smug now. Hurt gone)


Matty said...

You are brave, Roberta! I don't know if I would have done what you did! But looking at Dough-Gee's sad eyes I would have gone out also, but taken the safer path. I can identify with the creature's of the night. They didn't want their space invaded...and neither do I!
For days or nights like that..I am thankful I trained Hunter to go on the treadmill...and he loves it. People are amazed when they see him get on the treadmill and bark for me to start it!
I'm glad you told those pterodactyls off.....good thing you don't have neighbours!

Pauline said...

omg - I can picture you, arms akimbo, shouting at a bunch of bugs. You are SO funny. I will have to repost the deerfly piece I wrote for the paper - thank goodness they don't come in swarms like your attackers but they BITE! Your thoughts on the animosity you felt were interesting. I wonder if that's been researched...

At this time of year when I walk I always carry a branch of dead, clattering oak leaves to ward off the pests. People in passing cars look at me funny but they don't have deer flies in their ears!

Roberta S said...

Hi matty, yes Dough-Gee rules. Neat that your doggy goes on the treadmill. But of course, if I had a treadmill would I use it? (Walks are for me as well) And would I write stories about it? And if I did what kind of stories would I write?

Nice to see in print that Roberta is brave. Encouraging, it is. Thanks.

Roberta S said...

pauline, funny how we contextualize the things we do. I often pick branches when I don't put on bug spray to ward off flies on an afternoon walk. But it never occurred to me in the blackness of night to search for a branch with a flashlight. But then with vision so limited, I would have probably got a branch invested with some other kind of pest or with prickles on it -- a rose bush or the like.

I did read your deerfly piece and enjoyed it as I always do the things you write.