Tuesday, December 3, 2019


It’s warm. I’m happy! Even so, I put on my new Merino wool long johns. They are cozy warm and make me very happy! So has hearing from Leslie. I’m glowing, knowing that our friendship continues. I’m also very happy and relieved the dip in my spirits is over.
This morning, Sheba and I walk alone, on another damp and grey day. My plan is to take it easy today, for tomorrow I go to the city. Anna has confirmed that she’ll take Sheba for me tomorrow. I’m going to Vancouver to search for papers for my paper sculpture and to have a fine, fine lunch at Le Crocodile.
The birds! Oh my goodness! There are scores of them at my feeders. It’s a frenzy. I guess much of what they eat is now gone in the forest.
The Jays make a mess. There are seeds all over the ground beneath the feeders, but it suits the smaller birds to eat below the big birds in the feeders. And the new location seems to deter the rats that, in the past, that came to eat the seeds. I don’t see them any more. I have the suet out now, too. And it’s very popular.
I taught high school for two years. I was not suited for the profession; there was way too much repetition and professional respect seemed to be earned through longevity and not by achievement. But I think I was a good teacher; I was young and enthusiastic and I loved the kids.
But there was one day, one class, in which I was excellent. I was teaching a class about the Canadian novel, Who Has Seen The Wind, but W. O. Mitchell. In that class, I was doing what I’d done before, but there came a moment when I was talking and I turned to reference something I had written on the blackboard.
And suddenly and wondrously, I was overcome with insight. I suddenly “got it;” I understood clearly what the book was about. I had notes on the blackboard—bits of information representing events in the novel encircled in chalk, each of them floating like clouds in a green sky. Suddenly I understood—or felt I did—why W. O. Mitchell had included every one. 
I understood what them meant to the protagonist, to the story and I was thrilled. When I turned back to the class, I was energized like never before or ever again, and I could see in the faces of my students that they were following me. They “got it” too—at least many or most of them. My pleasure was like a drug and they were infused with it.
It was as close as I have ever been to an epiphany. And I feel, with far less dramatic intensity or suddenness, the same way now about my condition as I did about that novel. 
I used to care, so, so much, about what to call my condition and my symptoms. Now I don’t care at all about that and it’s because I believe I understand, in my own language and from my own experience, what’s wrong and how to live.
The insight, the constancy of friends and this pastoral life with birds and pets and meaningful, satisfying chores, these aspects of my life are making this birthday (tomorrow) the best I can remember.

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