Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Old Woman in the Trees

One could say it's been one of those weeks in our neck of the (soggy) woods.  It began with my wife Kimberly being hospitalized last weekend for emergency surgery.  Thankfully, she's doing fine now--and we're all catching-up on sleep after a challenging week.  (It's not as much fun as one might think getting along on two hours of sleep; fortunately I stayed out of new car lots last Saturday.)  

This is going to be a short entry today, but I did want to quickly share a a short story that illustrates...well nothing really, but I wanted to share it anyway.  So, some of my readers know that I work for the State of Oregon as a number cruncher.  Sometimes my work makes it necessary to make personal visits to homes.  These visits can be weird--to say the least.  When I worked for a previous state agency, they were often a little more stressful than today.  Still, anything can happen, and it often does.

Some (undisclosed) time ago, for example, I visited a rural residence.  I parked my state car and, after my standard "safety" pause, I headed for the front door.  I immediately had a strange feeling at this particular home.  This may have had something to do with all the bugs gathered in the area of the front door.  It was the kind of place you felt dirty even standing outside.  I brushed cobwebs from my face and tried to wave away the bugs, slapping a mosquito or two in the process.  I knocked loudly on the front door and noticed that the curtains were not drawn, but the inside of the house was comparatively pitch black.  I could see the top edge of a rocking chair inside, silhouetted by a crack of light from a window to the rear.  

With some uncomfortable curiosity, I noticed the chair begin to rock as if someone was rising out of it, but I couldn't see anyone, and no one came to the door.  Brushing the flying bugs out of my hair, I began to leave one of my standard notices on the front door. It was a couple minutes before I left the notice and turned around to return to my car.  As soon as I had walked a couple steps, however, I noticed an old woman just staring at me from the corner of the house.  I'm not sure how long she'd been standing there quietly watching me, but, all in all, the conversation that followed was not altogether a "comfy" one.  It was also oddly disquieting that she didn't really look at me when I spoke to her, but her eyes seemed to look just beyond or behind me.  Fortunately, at least, no spooky music began to play and no old farmer appeared carrying a shotgun.

Why share this little work-related adventure?  Because, I suppose, it's worth bearing in mind that we're not really in control of what happens to us.  We can plan and use common sense, but the good, the bad, and the pain weird and ugly are still going to come our way.  The best thing to do is to take each day as it comes, offering it up, and hoping that the one that follows will be a little better than the last.  I don't know about you, but I hope I don't see that old woman again any time too soon!

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