Disembodied voice

This morning I was eating some breakfast while surfing the web, checking work email, the usual stuff.  Cassandra was in the kitchen doing some dishes.  Cassandra looked out the back window and made a comment about the poor neighbors being outside with their dog for 15 minutes (waiting for the dog to do its business).  About 5 seconds later I hear over my right shoulder about where the staircase is a child say, “15 minutes” in kind of a light hearted tone.  It didn’t quite sound like Cameron, but it didn’t quite sound like Lauren either.  I asked Cassandra if the kids were awake.  She replied they weren’t (I later went upstairs to brush my teeth and their door was closed and both were sound asleep).  I also asked if she repeated saying “15 minutes”.  Nope.

I have no idea who or what said the second “15 minutes”.  I guess this is just another one of those quirky things in life that goes unexplained.

Things are not always what they seem to be

Tonight just like every night I put the dogs out so that they could go do their business. I got one of them back in his crate and then I heard the other one that was still in the backyard barking like crazy. That meant pretty much only one thing; he had cornered some animal. I got a flashlight and stood on the deck and with the flashlight located the what was causing all of the commotion. Sure enough there was Loki and a bewildered looking opossum suffering the wrath of a pissed off boxer dog.

I started to think how stupid this animal was. It was next to a tree yet it didn’t even try to climb it. It had sharp claws and lots of fairly big teeth and yet it decided to just stand there. Hell, it didn’t even play the "playing dead" card. It just stood there. You dumb freakin’ beast I thought. How did your kind even evolve to allow for one of your species to be in my backyard on this night?

I was finally able to get Loki by the collar and get him in the house. After a quick check to see if Loki had received any cuts or bite marks, I decided to go back out and check on the poor beast to see if it had suffered any wounds. Yep, the critter was still standing there just as dazed and confused as I had left it. It hadn’t even moved an inch. It didn’t appear to have any wounds inflicted upon it either.

And that is when I noticed it. The opossums eyes were all milky gray colored and not the typical dark black they normally have. It was obvious it had cataracts in both eyes. I shined the flashlight away from its eyes and then back again. No response. I did this a few more times. Again, no response. The poor thing was blind. I could tell it could hear as its ears perked up when I made a noise and it was constantly sniffing the air.

I started to look at the creature a bit closer. It was obvious this critter had seen better days. Its fur was really matted. It was underweight. It also had a few scars on its ears and down its side where some fur was missing. I started to wonder how many other animals had attacked it.

I left the animal to its business and purposely didn’t bring in the dog food bowl that had a few kibbles left in it so that this old and busted up marsupial could have its snack that it had earned and almost lost its life over.

I learned something in all of this. It might sound funny, but it was almost a religious experience of sorts. What I had thought was just some stupid animal causing me frustration and didn’t deserve to live as it was so dumb to not even try to flee or defend itself in any way was actually doing all that it could. In my mind I had condemned this creature to suffer and die because it was annoying. As it turns out, all that it was doing was trying to survive the best that it could with what it had to work with. It amazed me how quickly I had made all of these assumptions of what this animal should be doing when it was doing exactly what it could do.   Sometimes all you can do in life is sit where you are and take whatever life presents good, bad, or indifferent. 

Yes, tonight I learned something from an old blind opossum.  Things are not always what they appear to be.

Flashback

It is a lazy rainy Saturday afternoon today.  A while back my parents sent a box of things that contained some memorabilia from my two trips to Japan. 

These pictures were taken in August of 1985.  I was 17 years old.  I am standing on top of Mt Fuji (12,388Ft) in my bleached out levi’s, way too thin wind breaker (temperature was hovering around freezing), and my Purple Converse Chuck E. Taylor’s.  MtFuji-1

I had just arrived in Japan a few days beforehand.  I was seriously jet lagged.  It takes roughly two days to climb to the top, so we stayed in one of the many huts that my host family had arranged for us to stay in.  We had an early evening meal with what I can best remember to be a chicken curry.  I got very sick from the food and was up all night from the jet lag and the rumbling in my guts.  Just about the time I was falling back asleep, they woke us up at 2AM to finish the ascent to the top so we could see the sunrise from the top.  All I wanted to do was go back to sleep, but I thought this is my only chance at doing this, I might as well push on.  

As I was hiking to the top in a dazed and confused stupor, I slowly began to gain an energy that I hadn’t had previously.  I became calmer and even though I was freezing, cold, and half awake, I felt great. 

When we got to the top, the sun was just starting to peak over the horizon.  What happened next will be seared into my brain forever.  Standing about a dozen feet to my left was a Buddhist monk in a saffron colored robe.  He was standing next to the main hut at the top.  It was the first time I had ever seen a Buddhist monk.  I tried not to stare, but he fascinated me to no end.  He was obviously deep in contemplation and was reciting some sort of prayer in almost a whisper.  Just then the sun crested the horizon and it was like it pierced something in me.  I looked over at the monk and he stared at me and with some of the most determined eyes I think I have ever seen said to me, “Wakari masu ka?” (Do you understand?).  BAM!  Yes….Yes I did. For a few moments I did understand completely.  I replied back “Wakari masu” (I do understand).  It was incredible.  I was there on top of Mt Fuji, and yet I wasn’t. 

As my host brothers and I hiked back down the hill, I felt like I was floating.  We got to the train station and I had two big blisters on my heels where my Chuck E Taylor’s had done their damage.  I smiled.

MtFuji-2