NEIGHBORCARE NEWS #25 SEPTEMBER '03
"No service is too small when given mindfully, with good intention and an open heart."
DEAR NEIGHBORCARE FRIENDS: When I was eight, I oohed and aahed over rabbits fluffy as clouds, yet saw no connection between those rabbits and the trim rabbit fur collar I wore proudly on the neck of my pink cardigan. I thrilled to the sight of horses running free, yet saw no connection between those horses and the diving horses in Atlantic City forced to plunge at the speed of light (for what must have felt like forever) toward a tank of water smaller than a pot (or so it seemed to me, breathless as each one fell.)
My parents were bright, and as far from cruel as Mary Poppins, but they did not point out these connections to me. I suppose they werent aware of them, or didnt keep them foremost in their minds. I am grateful to experience, teachings I stumble on that waken meand graceto be able to see more connections on my own.
This mid fall afternoon, leaves swirl by my window. By the look of them, theyve held the heat of every flaming summer day. In those leaves, I see the beauty of the trees that yielded them. I see that trees which turn our world glorious in fallall treesgive to us, and give, asking nothing, and deserve our endless caring for them.
Sharing this connectionthis thanksgivingwith my grandchildren (including the youngest wise one, nearly seven months old), I share my heart, which their hearts understand.
"Hello, Tree," I say. "Youre beautiful. Meet Keira (Anna, Lena, Aaron, Pemmawhichever grandchild Im with)! Keira (Anna, Lena, Aaron, Pemma), meet Tree!" I talk to flowers and ants this way, too. Yes, I do. ("Oh, MumMum," my grandson giggles at me, "youre so silly!")
Did I ever say I wasnt silly?
NEIGHBORCARE NEWS On Saturday morning, July 26th, eleven of us representing the newly formed Peninsula Pride Pick-up and various communities on our Blue Hill peninsula collected litter along two miles of the Mines Road in Blue Hill. Though easily we could have zoomed past astonishment, barreled past frustration, and hurtled headlong into resentment, seeing the amount of trash that had accumulated, we managed to spend our energy beautifying instead of blaming.
We wanted to be visible and indeed we were with our orange vests and grab sticks, not to mention our home-made and home-painted Peninsula Pride Pick-up sandwich boards.
A PPP courtesy truck circled the route several times during our two-hour stint, offering water, fruit, trash bags and rides back to our meeting place. Following the pick-up, two volunteers collected bags of trash left along the side of the roadthree pick-up-truck loadsand delivered them to the Surry-Blue Hill transfer station, where station folks were expecting us.
Like neighborcare (alive and well on the peninsula after seven years), Peninsula Pride Pick-up is a no-cost/no sign up/non-paperwork/help-when-you-can model. Many people crave something they can do, without fuss or contrivance, to make the world a better place. This is one of those "somethings."
In the tradition of those dauntless ones who, anonymously and alone, or during town clean-up efforts, have for years been picking up litter, please consider (if youre not doing so already) helping keep the roadsides clear in your own neighborhoods. Perhaps some passersby from out of town will see you and take the notion home. At the very least, the more we tend our embattled roadsides, the more likely well feel invested in preserving the integrity of life along and beyond them. Well be doing another pick-up before the snow flies.
more from Marjo: "Recently, I met a ninety-four-year-old woman who lives alone, and suffers from poor vision, poor hearing, and severe moment-by-moment memory loss. I took her to see her doctor and have her medical tests, helped her get her groceries, then made calls to find additional services for her. At the end of the day, we sat at her little kitchen table drinking the instant coffee and eating the molasses doughnuts she served with pride. (During our time together, the neighborcaring eased anxiety and increased hearing ability!)"
Arie lived in Appalachia. Her spirit was unflagging, her humor legendary
in her little corner of the world. Her concern for others, too, as evidenced
by what she said one day about getting older to some of the young people
who were living with and interviewing her. "I love twork,
but now Im as slow as cream arisin. The saddest thing
thats come my road, though, is not bein able tdo near
what I use to. I cant get about and get stuff tgive people
like I use to. . . Cant give away quilts now like I use to cause
I cant quilt. Cant cookem somethin good teat
and giveem a good drink awater like I use to cause I cant
hardly cook. And theres smany things Id love tbe
able tshow you younguns how tdo, but I cant now. Cant
crochet any more. Cant card and spin any more. Cant make
willer baskets and bottom chairs any more. Cant do hardly anything
I use tdo. But I can still love."
FOR THE SAKE OF BEARS At the polls in Maine this November, please take a moment to sign a petition indicating your support for fair bear hunting. As the law stands now, bears (here long before we "invaded" ) can be lured to an area baited with doughnuts, etc., and then (in effect) be slaughtered (not hunted, though we might stretch that definition to the moon).
FROM THE KITCHEN For the holidays,"basic" low-fat and tasty stuffed mushrooms: Select mushrooms with centers large enough for stuffing. Clean. In non-genetically engineered canola oil, saute´ minced mushroom stems with garlic, minced onion, minced celery and/or green pepper, sprinkling in fresh parsley and/or dill and/or cilantro, and Braggs (soy sauce-like seasoning) at the end. When done, add in canned tuna/salmon or minced clams, or minced spicy and well-browned chicken sausage. Mix well, and pile into your mushrooms. Top with crumbled goats or sheeps milk feta, and bake or brown under the broiler. Depending on thickness of your mushrooms, you may want to bake them a little, before stuffing them.
FROM THE NOT-A-DOCTOR Following a fairly insulting wisdom tooth extraction this summer, nothing would stop my longterm bleeding but a spray mix I made up of ladys mantle, yarrow, echinacea and goldenseal tinctures. (If you dont have the tinctures, but ladys mantle, for example, is growing in your garden, make a strong tea of its leaves and add some to tincture mix.) Bleeding stopped in five minutes.
COME LIFT YOUR HEART I read the following account in the Friends of Peace Pilgrim Newsletter. The author, Dan Menkin, titled it: And They Call Some of These People Retarded. "A few years ago, at the Seattle Special Olympics, nine participants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash. At the gun they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a relish to run the race to the finish and win. All, that is, except one little boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times and began to cry. The other eight heard the boy cry. They slowed down and looked back. Then they all turned around and went back, every one of them. One girl with Downs Syndrome bent down and blessed the boy and said, "This will help it get better." Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line. Everyone in the stadium stood and the cheering went on for several minutes. People who were there are still telling the story. Why? Because deep down we know this one thing. What matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves. What matters in this life is helping others to win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course."
a tale by Jean Giono, author of The Man Who Planted Trees , Giono
"tells how a young shepherd one day came to call on his friend
Firmin, way up in the isolated hill country. The two friends finally
could not stand to hear Firmins wife crying in labor. So they
walked all the way down into the valley, uprooted a large cypress, and
lugged it back up the hills to home. They planted it by the front door
where Madelon could hear it singing to the wind. Her baby was christened
in it shade. The tree burbled in the dry wind storms like a stream of
water in heaven. Firmin passed on. Madelon, too. The boy never came
back from war. The tree is still there."
CAREGIVING TIP Make sure people you care for have all they need, to do what they love to do. A friend of mine who was very, very old and nearly blind, passed time knitting. It was important to her, till the end, to have yarn that felt good to heralso needles the right size. Often people are reluctant to ask you for small things that matter to them. They dont want to trouble you or theyre afraid that if they ask for too much, you wont come by at all, so fear rules and they do without even the most modest help.
LIVING QUESTIONS "[W]hen . . . the big change in your life is merely an insight, isnt that a strange thing, that absolutely nothing changes, except that you see things differently and youre less fearful and generally stronger as a result? Isnt it amazing that a completely invisible thing in your head can feel realer than anything youve experienced before? You see things more clearly and you know that youre seeing them more clearly, and it comes to you that this is what it means to love life. This is all that anybody who talks seriously about God is ever talking about. Moments like this."
from The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
GIFTS OF PEACE AND WHOLENESS FOR THE HOLIDAYS Purchase any of my titles directly from me, note NEIGHBORCARE on the check you mail me (which would include book costs, current ME sales taxif Maines where you liveplus donations toward first-class shipping, if youd like), and neighborcare will receive 20% of the retail cost of your order.
Thank you! ( You can find praise and excerpts at http://www.caringinrememberedways.org) maggie davis, P.O. Box 370, Blue Hill, ME 04614
Blessings all around youthis fall and in every season,