NEIGHBORCARE NEWS #27 MARCH '04
"No service is too small when given mindfully, with good intention and an open heart."
Dear neighborcare friends: Mention of spring peppers our talk these days. Bursts of crocus and daffodils from dark cold ground profusions of color and scent rising soon after stun us and are not old hat. In this and recent springs, especially, with Earth and our hearts buffeted so, the most ordinary sight becomes beautiful and then, poignant. Kindnesses, spilling, feature their own beauty. They soothe us and stir us, too as if any good we might invoke is categorically assured.
NEIGHBORCARE NEWS Thanks to all of you who have written or said youre enjoying the newsletter and/or have sent in monetary donations (of whatever amount), or (such handsome)stamps. These sparks keep the neighborcare fire blazing.
Neighborcare stalwart J. Adele Christ is seeking calendar pictures appropriate for puzzles. The puzzles will be handmade and available, free-of-charge, in three sizes for those suffering from arthritis and other diseases reducing finger dexterity. Many will find their way to nursing homes and senior centers and apartment complexes where the physically challenged and elderly live. Though the larger picture will end up cut to make the puzzle, its snapshot version, often shown on calendars as well, will be taped to the outside of the ziploc bag that holds the pieces so that the puzzle doer knows what s/he is aiming for. (Call 207-374-2175 to donate.)
Spring picture: You are very old and look as if a breeze could blow you over. Someone in your life is in your corner, helping you to live to your fullestcelebrating you till the last as if you were fresh and filled with promise as a new spring seedling. (May it be so !)
come lift your heart Stop thinking this is all there is . Realize that for every ongoing war and religious outrage and environmental devastation there are a thousand counter-balancing acts of staggering generosity and humanity and art and beauty happening all over the world, right now, on a breathtaking scale, from flower box to cathedral . Resist the temptation to drown in fatalism, to shake your head and sigh and just throw in the karmic towel . Realize that this is the perfect moment to change the energy of the world, to step right up and crank your personal volume; right when it all seems dark and bitter and offensive and acrimonious and conflicted and bilious theres your opening. Remember magic. And, finally, believe you are a part of a groundswell, a resistance, a seemingly small but actually very, very large impending overhaul, a great shift, the beginning of something important and potent and unstoppable. Mark Morford/San Francisco Gate columnist
for the sake of all of us Whichever presidential candidate you plan to support in the coming election, the time is now, if you havent already done so, to remind family and friends and neighbors and acquaintances (including those on list servs, in church groups, knitting circles, etc.) to call, email, fax and write state legislators urging them to make certain each persons vote counts. (Of course, you have done this!). Who would argue that securing this safeguard is crucial to all other issues as well as to the very soul of our country.
highly recommended The
Way Home is an exquisite and understated Japanese film/video
featuring the unfolding relationship between an insensitive boy and
his mute, bent grandmother. The film is dedicated to all grandmothers.
from the kitchen Here are ingredients for a quick and tasty guacamole: a couple of ripe mashed avocados, a squeeze of lemon, two very generous dollops of medium-hot salsa, chopped cilantro, chopped onions, a liberal sprinkling of cumin, and lots of garlic. Serve with baked tortilla chips or Finn Crisp rye crackers.
caregiving tip Instead
of saying "May I get something for you?" to a person who is very ill,
be as specific as you can, once youve tuned in to that persons
preferences. Imagine yourself in bed, in pain, hardly with enough breath
to speak. What a boon to be able to answer with the flick of a finger
or a tiny smile or a whisper.
living questions "How much of what I do is all about me? How much am I truly curious regarding anothers view? Am I the friend someone would call for solace or inspiration? Why am I? Why arent I?"
for pondering The world needs our warmth, which is the fire our heart makes when its open. Without that fire, whatever we offerfriendliness, courtesy, service (no matter how grand and/or ostensibly stupendous)is woefully lacking our core power.
from the not-a-doctor Recently (and with far too much gusto!), I bit into a slice of hot pizza. Doing so cost me skin from the roof of my mouth. I swabbed the area, faithfully, with a mix of tinctures (echinacea, goldenseal, calendula, red clover) a dropperful of each diluted in half a cup of warm water. Within twenty-four hours, the area was healed.
"Sorrow is a wound that bleeds when any hand but that of love touches it and even then but bleeds again, but not in pain." Oscar Wilde/De Profundis
tiny neighbors For years, during spring and fall, Ive been catching mice in our home using Havaheart traps. Some years, more than thirty have been released in a season. Other years, Ive seen nary a whisker. (A few black oil sunflower seeds will do to entice them, and/or the scent of recent "guests," plus the stationing of the trap in the midst of known "highways").
Into the trap (so as not to interfere with the doors snapping shut), I place a thin carpet of paper towels. In chilly weather, metal is the first material to feel icy, even in a fairly warm room. If I were a mouse caught in the middle of the night I would not want to dance on it for hours on end.
Once I hear a rattle, I move the trap to another room, spoon some water into one side of the trap for the mouse to drink, maybe add a few more sunflowers seeds to the other side plus a few reassurances then go back to sleep minus the sound of "the cage bars rattling."
The next day the mouse is driven at least two miles away to a release spot far from other homes but near, perhaps, to members of its family previously let go. This happens near a creek if possible, so the mouse might have water, and if the weather is nippy with a modest stash of sunflower seeds and some lint from our dryer. Im not sure what good all this does for the mice whether family ties, food and drink are ignored in the ecstasy of being free and/or under the pressure of trying to survive. Yet each mouse has his/her own personality, so who knows . . .
One dawn last year, hearing a trap rattle I woke and found a mouse so quiet as to seem dead, even when its cage was tapped and shaken. When s/he did move, the mouse shivered ( I assumed, with terror.) Though I believed I might well pay for leniency, I released it not the customary two miles away but just beyond my back door, where recuperation was immediate and triumphant!
Yes, I discourage mice nesting in our home (thats another story . . .). But catching them provides opportunity for studyand appreciationfor life smaller than my own. Times children are in the house, they are included in the experience (for compassions and learnings sake). When the weather dives below freezing, and/or if theres serious snow on the ground, no Havahart traps are set. Mice remain in our walls. If chewed electrical wires were to become an issue, or a mice brigade showed up in full view, I would face hard choices.
When everything is a wonder to everyone, nothing will be harmed and all will be cared for. In the end this is how we each will be cherished—more and more companies of strangers lifting their eyes to the skies or peering deep into the hearts of flowers and feeling one in their willingness to do so and in their knowing of the power of these small, small things they do. We are the treasurers of the universe, we are. No one of greater title or outward fortune could be gladder that we who touch wonder every day. maggie davis/Caring in Remembered Ways
Blessings all around youthis spring and in every season,