|Florida Porches by Raymond Cloutier|
Over the past thirty-forty years when ever I’ve felt this way I’d find myself daydreaming about being in the Federal Witness Protection Program. I’ve always been a sucker for books that use this scenario for a plot device. Pacifiers for adults I call them. I can daydream myself being placed on an Amish farm in Pennsylvania or in a cottage on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. My imaginary life in the FWPP would separate me from mainstream civilization but with my own private guardian angel to keep me safe. I suppose turning off CNN, internet news sources and social media is another, more practical way I could accomplish the same thing, to escape the overload of information coming at me. It’s something I instinctively did in the months following Don’s death. Handling my own grief was enough and the world had to wait. If I’d gone to a bridal shower back then, I would have been counted in the Clueless Club if something major was going on in the world. Sometimes we’re the Yin and sometimes we’re the Yang.
These past few weeks I’ve been reading and am half way through a non-fiction book about a political activist who left New York City to stay alone in a cabin on an island off the coast of Maine. She had no phone service, no electricity or inside plumbing and she learned to eat off the land and the water. I keep thinking to myself, Could I ever actually do that? Be a hermit, be a recluse? And then I remember all the times since Don died that I’ve felt like a bird in a gilded cage with no one to hear my morning songs. You don’t have to be totally isolated from society to feel isolated. But the thing is, the author of the book didn’t feel isolated and alone. She was finding herself in the simplicity of living close to nature, finding oneness with the world. Maybe my infatuation with the Federal Witness Protect Program is more about running away than running to something like Ms. Shulman did in Drinking The Rain. I've often thought I feel too connected with the world...but isn't that just right brain, left-handed liberal non-sense? How can you be too connected to the suffering of mankind?
Today was the first time this spring it was warm and dry enough to sit outside and I welcomed hearing the birds chirping. For a brief moment I entertained the idea of planting a garden so I could spend more time outside listening to the birds. Then I decided that what I really need to do is to learn NOT to multitask. If I want to listen to the birds I shouldn’t have tend garden to justify being outside. Life is too short and unpredictable. As a septuagenarian I need to start pondering age-old questions like: Why does it take adversity to bring out the goodness in people? Why can’t we skip the bombings, the fires and the buildings collapsing and go straight to the part where people step up to show extraordinary kindness to others? Sometimes the contrary forces that govern the world suck! I want the light without the darkness, the highs without the lows, the love without the hate and life without death. Since I can't have any of that I want a porch overlooking an ocean where I can come to terms with the fact that disasters and evil are as much a part of the Natural World as the sun rising and setting. Utopia is just a fictional island we can only dream of seeing through the mist or on an artist's canvas or read about in a book. ©