Showing posts from October, 2011

Bats in the Cracks

Wilderness living means sharing my environment, but not my home. Rodents are uninvited guests. I’m generally ruthless when it comes to mice and rats. I assure you, my cat is worse. But what I’ve really come to deplore are bats.

I remember reading in my old hometown newspaper about a man who died of rabies—after a bat had apparently bit him while he slept. Ever since then I’ve had a wholesome respect, if not fear, of bats.
It doesn’t help that our log cabin seems to be a bat magnet. They love our chimney. Around its outside edge there are numerous cozy, warm places to sleep until their evening hours. We have reluctantly co-existed until a few years ago when they decided it was even warmer in the cabin.
As fate would have it one swooped into our bedroom as we were sleeping. I awoke as it was flying around the room. The bat and I both frantically tried to find the nearest exit, and in the process we collided and it scratched me as it flew off and disappeared. The health authorities need…

Shaking Off Hard Times

It’s everywhere we choose to look.  Unemployment. Cutbacks. Higher costs. Lower benefits. Here in the land of free and the home of the brave, a wave of discontent has settled—and not just amongst the Wall Street protesting crowd. Looking at the poll numbers-- it’s across the bandwidth of our society.
The loudest protests seem to be from the youngest workers—the ones with the least experience dealing with tough roads, longer waits, and the reality that good things come to those who are willing to work hard for as long as it takes.

I’ve been wondering what the cure will be, knowing that it won’t be easy, cheap, or quick. Early in my marriage, during the years without enough money to pay the bills, we tacked up a wall-to-wall chart of our debts in the bedroom. It was the last thing we'd see going to sleep and it greeted us first thing each morning. While it might have been nice to protest or be bailed out, that wasn't happening. We worked....and worked. Climbing out of that hole …

Finding my focus on the ferry

I decided to remain in my car for the thirty-minute ferry ride from Edmonds to Kingston. I needed time to think. Recent business expenses and issues were piled high inside my brain.
Through my windshield, I could look out the ferry’s gaping mouth and watch the clouds and nearby ships. I then noticed a car a couple lanes over. It happened to be the same model and bright red color as my son’s car.
I recalled the day he and his dad had found his car. He bought it before he even had his license--with savings from a job he’d had since he was 12. I smiled as I remembered him passing his driving test—and then taking it to high school afterward. Now he is a college senior. Where did the time go? I suddenly felt much older.

Those thoughts didn't help me shake my dismal gloom. I leaned my head back and rested. Soon I felt the ferry begin to slow down.

We were close to land now and I watched people come down the stairs, unlock their car doors and prepare to disembark. The workers were standi…

The Final Door

Maybe this is weird, but I actually read the obituaries. I’m fascinated how someone’s life can be summarized in two or three paragraphs. Certain things stand out—for some it’s their hobbies. Sometimes you can tell their work was their life and notable accomplishments are listed. At the end are the names of those who died before them and those family members that still have time left.

If life is like a run-on sentence, then death is the period at its end. Just so you know, I don’t spend lots of time dwelling on death, even if I do read the daily obituaries. Like most everyone else I don’t think about death until it comes close to me.
The final chapter of my father’s journey took him to the hospital intensive care.  My visits were limited to 20 minutes every two hours.  A nearby waiting area could be reached by walking down a long hallway. It was a typical hospital corridor painted institutional mellow yellow. What made this hallway unlike any other I have ever seen were the thirty larg…