Friday, 17 June 2011

Luck and Wisdom

Yesterday it was pure luck that I showed a visitor the baby robins that are nesting on the ladder.  One had fallen out of the nest onto the aluminum step.  The mother bird was in a nearby tree scolding as we used burdock leaves to hide our scent as we replaced him in the nest.  I try to stay away from the nest as much as possible so it really was fortuitous that I saw the problem before it became impossible to solve.  God, baby birds are ugly at this stage ... all beak with almost naked bodies.  The few straggly down hairs just make them look less warm blooded.  Only a mother bird could find them beautiful, I think.  I don't like watching hearts beat under such a fragile covering.

It was also pure luck that allowed us to discover the tick on Kenya before the necessary 2-3 days had elapsed which could have allowed the tick to pass on Lyme disease.  The vet dealt with it by saturating it with tick and flea poison, allowing a few minutes for it to die and then using tweezers to remove the entire tick intact.  He didn't charge me, likely because Kenya's meds this year did nothing for ticks.  Instead he told me to bring back the remaining meds and exchange them for meds that would work well.  I say it was luck because long haired dogs are harder to examine and this tick was near her mouth where the hair is short.  When I returned to pick up the Advantix, I learned that we have a real tick infestation up here in these hills.  I had to wait to get the medication because so many dogs had been brought in with ticks in the past two or three days.  The vet told me he'd had to remove one from his wife's leg the day before!  That tick had been sent to a lab for testing for Lyme disease.

I had my chimney swept for the first time ... and it wasn't even dirty!

Another friend is visiting this weekend  ... we haven't gotten together for ages ... and I am looking forward to spending time with her.  I hadn't seen nearly enough of Tamarack either and it was good to at least go shopping at Ikea with her and Carlos on Tuesday.

And that brings me full circle from luck to wisdom.  I am reading The Wisdom of Tuscany just now.  Nothing is new really, but he reminds me of the wisdom of living in a close community ... the kind that is easy to find in Tuscany's towns, at least in those that have not be changed by the influx of tourists with too much money. 

I think one of the reasons I love the lake even though I don't always agree with everyone's thinking, is that it is, for all its faults, my community.  A Harvard medical school study has documented the influence of people on happiness. Happy people and happy relationships help us be happier.  A live-in partner can increase our happiness by 8%; siblings who live close by by 14%; neighbours by 34%.  The only relationship that made a bigger difference was having a good friend living nearby.

He spends a good bit of time musing about our very strange propensity for living in cities or soulless suburbs where our only connection with our neighbours is that we all park our cars on the same street ... especially since people dream of quite different things than the anonymity of these places.  Most Americans wish for lives where they are known, where they make a difference, where their children can grow up safe and cared about by a whole community ... for small town lives ... but the small towns continue to disappear and be replaced by bedroom communities and sprawling urban centres.

I remember talking to an Ethiopian taxi driver in Ottawa who was returning to Ethiopia as soon as his youngest now a teenager had completed his education ... why? ... so that he could go home to life in a community where he mattered ... where people would check on him ... bring him coffee and news ... a place where  he was known.  And then he told me of someone living in a Canadian highrise who was dead for a few days before anyone noticed.  He did not want that to happen to him.

Wakefield is not an African village, nor a Tuscan small town with a piazza, but it is the closest thing to them I've found so far ...   I feel lucky to have laid down some roots here all those years ago.


Barbara Carlson said...

Nice. You are lucky. My neighbour & her husband are making noises about moving to their cottage and selling their condo. I dread this. She is a good friend and it's hard to make good new friends at my age. She doesn't want to move, so... we enjoy each other till then.

I spent the day with another good friend who had moved to Nova Scotia "for good" in February, but is back! Decided she didn't feel retired enough. Yeah!
She learned how to airbrush today, with me as her companionable sidekick. When she sprayed her first set of objects (she does wonderful wire work), we high-fived each other. A good day.

kingmisha said...

That's why I really like Peterborough. I am part of a community where I feel I'm making a contribution, and where a few people will miss me when I'm gone.

I felt that way about Pte.- au - Chene too, but now less so. My generation is dying off and because I don't live there year round, the younger people don't know me.

But I've had that sense of community in New York too, which is a huge city made up of communities. I felt I belonged in my upper West Side community as well as my Brooklyn community. In both there was an active street/stoop life where the neighbours knew one another. I loved living in N.Y.

I didn't love Toronto and certainly felt no sense of community in north Toronto at all.
Lovely homes, great schools and parks and yet the people bond was missing.

It's important to belong somewhere. It anchors us and creates a sense of safety. So I'm glad you have found it at the Lake.

hybrasil said...

Call me an Ethiopian taxi-driver... but I've always felt exactly the same as he did, not only in Canada, but everywhere I've lived in what we call 'The West'... ever since I left the Irish farming community where I grew up. I experienced a sense of community in Nigeria (but rather a negative one) and in Yemen... positive. Being an expat can provide a certain kind of community... but it's artificial, and you wouldn't want to depend on it, as I found in several Gulf countries.