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The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.


Isak Dinesen

I came to terms long ago with the fact that I’m not going to stride through life.  I have watched the striders with no small amount of envy.  They seem to simply step over life’s hurdles without losing a beat.  These karmic titans have a confidence and determination beyond my grasp.  They are resourceful and quick-thinking.  They see problems as opportunities and opportunities as the fuel to continue ever forward.  I don’t know if they were born this way or they are privy to some secret I have yet to discover.  As I said I envy them . . . their strength, their success, their competence and their power.

I’ve known people that wander through life and once thought myself to be one of them.  When wanderers come up against a barrier, they turn right or left or go back.  When necessary, they leave the path undaunted and meander until a way presents itself.  It may take them longer, but they always find their way sooner or later.  They often learn more on their circuitous course than those taking a more direct route.  Life has a way of making them wiser for their travels and provides them a calm serenity that makes their passage look somehow easier.

I have even known a few folks that float along their feet never touching the ground.  I’ve seen that which they need miraculously provided time and time again through no effort of their own.  I don’t really begrudge the floaters this ease as I’m aware they don’t learn to overcome adversity and someday there will be an obstruction they can’t glide over.  Some very small number of them never experience tribulation and they appear to exist inside the glamour of a fairy tale or sweet dream.  The rest are inevitability crushed when faced with hardship . . . their psyche too fragile to suffer the rigors of harsh realities.

I’ve had association with those unfortunate enough to fight every moment cradle-to-the-grave.  My heart goes out to them.  They throw themselves against each obstacle repeatedly until they batter it down.  They charge headlong through their misfortunes emerging bloodied and bruised, but emerging nonetheless.  They are the warriors that frequently blaze the trail for others to follow.  They are courageous and fearless and selfless.  Even when they end their journey tired or broken, their valor must be respected and we should all give thanks they are in the world to lead the way for those of us lesser beings.

Then there are those that stumble through life.  They take a stride or two, only to falter.  They wander, only to become lost.  They leap attempting to float, only to crash.  They beat their heads against the proverbial wall, only to knock themselves silly.  Mostly, stumblers fall.  It’s what they do.  They often bounce up after a tumble quickly dusting themselves off and assuring others everything is okay.  At other times, they are more like a brain-bruised boxer that doesn’t know the knock-out punch has been delivered and stagger back to their feet only to fall down again.  Stumblers are easily distinguished by the bloody scrapes on their hands and knees.

I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.  It sure feels like I can’t get up, but I know I’m a stumbler.  I’m not bright enough to throw in the towel, so I’ll lay here for the start of the count resting a bit.  I’ll be on my knees by the count of eight and manage to get my feet under me before the count reaches ten, because — as every stumbler knows — part of falling down is getting back up.

I’m trying very hard to normalize my life after all that has transpired this past couple of years, but this Alice, alas, has fallen down the proverbial rabbit hole. I tumbled . . . rolled . . . lurched . . . lunged . . . plummeted and finally crashed. It was truly one helluva drop. I did not land on my feet or gracefully arrive. Rather, I came to an abrupt, teeth-jarring halt flat on my ass. Blessed be an ample and cushy posterior. You never know when you’re gonna need one.

There was a bottle at the bottom tagged “Drink Me” and, as it was not also marked “Poison,” I drank. This served to shrink me enough to get a job. Now, from 8-to-5, I am a wee, tiny version of myself. There was much concern that my significant experience, out-going personality and self-confidence might topple the precarious arrangement of cups, saucers and other china at the Tea Party; therefore, I must regularly spike my tea in an effort to remain adequately small as to be non-threatening . . . mostly.

We all know the importance of appeasing the volatile Queen of Hearts when in Wonderland. I strive accordingly during my daily rounds of Croquet to keep myself and my flamingo out of the way of my personal trio of Red Queens. Despite numerous cries of “Off with her head,” I have to-date managed not to get the axe. I – like Alice – realize common sense and sanity have little to do with surviving in this world on the other side of the looking glass.

My training is by osmosis with the dormouse designated my primary source of information; at least, they keep telling me – figuratively – to “remember what the dormouse said.” When I ask what it is the dormouse said, they go all Mad Hatter on me and can only respond, “I can’t remember.” I keep telling myself there will be an “aha” moment and suddenly Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dum will start making sense or the Cheshire Cat will solidify. Instead – for now – things just keep getting . . . curiouser and curiouser!

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February 2016
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