Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Me and Julie Andrews

by Shannon Baker

It’s been a rough week here in Colorado. Not just here, everyone in the country feels the horror of random acts of violence and the tragedy of wasted of lives. The air itself feels heavy with grief.

The Nebraska Sandhills, a few miles from here where I lived for twenty years, has turned into Crematoria. It is bursting into flames. The drought has sucked the hills so dry the incredible waves of grass are now incendiary fodder waiting for lightning strikes to send surges of fire to devour pastures, buildings and critters.

Last week not one but two of my friends had the heart-shredding experience of ending long-term relationships. Yeow. Life will go on for them, of course. But before they experience the exhilaration of freedom and the relief of getting away from a bad situation, they will live through the agony of loss.

And also, I found out I can't just cut and paste pictures willy-nilly from Google images so I'm stuck with what I can find on my computer and I got some weird virus because my sister was visiting and exposed my computer to some awful things and the IT guy who set up my new computer after my old one got stolen forgot to put virus protection on it and I am having all manner of technical difficulties just getting this blog to post and I want to tear my hair out but will probably settle for another Moscow mule...

Even for a shallow person like me, this bad news and tragedy can feel like the end of the world. I’m not nearly as wise as Solomon (wise-ass, maybe) but I feel sort of like doing what he did, throwing my hands up in the air and declaring life is all vanity. Really, what’s the point?

I’m no spring chicken (as if a pullet is something we all aspire to). I’ve seen a bit of sadness from time and time and I know that as callous as it all seems, we don’t live in that dark place forever. There’s always going to be good times and bad. As The Dude says, “Strikes and gutters, man.”

So I’m going to go all Julie Andrews on your ass and give you a list of My Favorite Things that have been helping me cope with this particularly sad week:

  • Fresh Colorado peaches from the farmer’s market.
  • My bike to work commute that takes me by a farm with piglets snorting in the tall weeds along the road.
  • A random glimpse of the Flatirons looking over Boulder.
  • Dogs at the pond at the dog park—even though they aren’t my dogs. 
  • Toddlers in the pop-up fountain at the Pearl Street Mall—especially since they aren’t my toddlers.
  • The movie Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close that I watched with my sister on Saturday night.
  • My sister, obviously. 
  • An hour by the pool in the bright Colorado sunshine reading Defending Jacob, by William Landay.
  • The cool breeze from my bedroom window in the deep night.
  • A giggle or two during phone calls and emails from my daughters.

Even though it sounds trite, I’m hugging the Man With Endless Tolerance especially tight and feeling the MWET hold me even tighter. I’m sending out my best thoughts for the multitudes in sad places in their lives and I’m hoping they can just keep swimming. I don’t know much but I do know that it gets better. It always gets better.

PS. I hope you enjoyed the random picture of our old dog, Boomer, who's no longer with us. It always makes me smile and maybe it will make you smile, too.


Shannon Baker said...

I've got to add this site to this post. It was shared via Terri Bischoff through Jess Lourey on facebook. Go to it and smile:

Beth Groundwater said...

Loved your post, Shannon. Yes, it's a sad week in Colorado, but there's hope, too. I've found it in the brave stories of the survivors of the Aurora shooting, who helped each other and are working through the recovery process with stoicism. My own troubles seem pretty minor compared to theirs. And, what's lighting up my day today is that my daughter is visiting from Oregon!