Sunday, August 24, 2014

Shoot that Poison Arrow

Yesterday was a long one for me. I started out with a rescue transport of an Airedale who's been in my care for quite some time-that was the easy part. I bought some clothes hangers, went to see my friend Amy briefly at her job, and then headed down the road to my father's the cemetery.

Mom is buried in my father's family's plot. When I learned last week that I've won the state library association's mentoring award, I grabbed my cell phone as soon as I hung up with the association president with the first thought, "I have to call Mom and tell her!" Well, that would be impossible without a psychic medium at this point, and it hit me a lot harder than I care to discuss quite yet. Then it turned out that no one in my family can attend, and Stefan can't be there because it will run longer than his allotted lunch hour.

So, I had this long, sobbing conversation with my mother's basket of geraniums at the cemetery before driving back to my house, two hours northeast, to pack for my trip to Smalltownland. As I was headed over, Stefan texted me that Hopkins, who ostensibly was supposed to be unpacking his moving boxes at his new apartment (which was what he'd said earlier in an e-mail to me), had showed up at the improv show in the Big City.

A few quick texts to him later, it began to dawn on me how little I actually matter. It was a hard blow after the week I've had- there have been several other trying moments- and add to that Stefan's gratitude that Hopkins was thoughtful enough to come out to support his act even though I was on my way to buy Dad's groceries...I was stung. I felt betrayed on two fronts. If I must, I will eventually rationalize that the troupe needed Hopkins' ten dollars, but I'm still a bit bruised about it at the moment.

Someone posted a meme about arrows on Facebook a little while ago that resonated with me. The  image that leaped to mind was of May Welland in The Age of Innocence winning the archery contest, which was a sign of her health and appropriateness as a marital prospect, but later proved to be indicative of her character. May, who seemed simple and uncomplicated, proves to be quite cunning and defensive of her home and hearth after her husband strays- her strength was required to draw the bowstring and accurately target that which threatened her peace. She neatly removed the threat and her husband, who never suspected she had it in her, is stunned.

I think sometimes we forget that we have the strength to draw the bow, much less shoot the arrow. It requires so much control...and we must master ourselves, our movement, thoughts, and emotions, in order to shoot true. It's when I become cold and calm that I'm at my most dangerous and decisive, when I reach zero tolerance for fools and cowards. I can feel my finger on the string...all I have to do is pull...and release.

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