Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The dog whisperer

Second sight. Is it from our understanding of animals?

A fox ran across my lawn this morning. She thinks she lives here, and I will not dissuade her. Is this where cats evolved from? Her legs mix back and forth so quickly I can hardly see how she moves. The quick brown fox indeed [jumps over the lazy zebra/dog or some such typing exercise].

I need more time with animals. Not so easy when my allergist forbids most interesting pets. Have you read Temple Grandin and her autism and her relationship with animals? That will have to be another post but let me say I totally get her perspective. I don't think I'm autistic---who knows maybe I am it would CERTAINLY explain a lot---but I understand the feeling of being overwhelmed by input from the world, retreat to save one's sanity, and the elemental goodness of relating to young children and animals.

My children persuaded me to keep the anoles they had in science class, requiring little except for weekly trips to the pet store to buy live crickets for food. The poor crickets! And so each week I would be there, again, wondering in amazement at the things we do because we love our children.

On my daily forest sanity walks I see birds, squirrels, ducks, geese, and swans every day. Yes in fact I DO know how lucky I am. I feel my Cherokee ancestry when I communicate with animals. And I hope to see my beloved deer. They know the sound of my voice, and swish their tails in response to hand gestures I make to mimic their flattened ears when they are happy. They feel safe around me. If only I could feel safe around other, larger creatures.

These larger creatures, humans, can be scary to those of us who do not easily read nor understand social cues. I have to have the rules spelled out for me. In new social situations I feel that I am swimming in the deep end and have forgotten how to swim. That covers a great deal of my high anxiety around the day at the Libby trial. My mind is advanced but those brain cells came out of the social adaptability center, wherever it is. Talk about working in the yellow zone, this was all the way to red.

So why, then, would I reply in the affirmative to an invitation to meet complete strangers over a lasanga dinner for our county Democratic party? Using a cattle prod my rational mind, I remembered that I promised our local state rep that I would become more involved with the local party. His car was parked in front of mine at the last election [Webb!!] so I viewed it as a sign and introduced myself.

On today's cattle prod-induced voluntary walk, I encountered my neighbor who has taken in a shelter dog who was abused. I also am a sponsor of a little dog named Bingo who was found wandering the streets and starving. I wish he could live with me but the allergies.... So my neighbor was only too glad to hear what was going on in my life, and it occurred to me how lucky I am to have a dog whisperer living next door.

Thank you God for putting such people in my life. I NEED THEM as one needs water.


egregious said...

Your response to animals?

egregious said...

Seeing into the future. They call us mentally ill, but in the past we were called the seers. The visionaries. The ones who could see the future. We are your scouts, your birds returning with branches to the ark, your canaries in the mine. I have the second sight but it is painful. We are different and strange but you need us. Don't exile us for being difficult to understand. Many times we don't even understand ourselves :)

egregious said...

I am stepping out on faith [the Bible capital F faith kind] that if I withdraw to tend to myself, others will step forward with an understanding of the urgency of the issues. My mental health and physical health and perhaps more depends on my belief that others will take up where I have left off.

I am depending on the kindness of strangers.

I thank you, anonymous people, who are giving yourselves battlefield promotions to the next higher level of political and socio-economic involvement so that I can in good conscience rest a spell. I am more than willing to burn the candle at both ends and even melt it down if necessary. Hoping that won’t be necessary.

egregious said...

Ok the best way I can describe it is like you have a grid of 12x12 little seedling plants. You are looking them over. And something is a little wrong with one, the soil level drops a little. And you know the universe is changing. Sorry I cant be more specific.

NZ Expat said...

You highlighted some quotations that caught my eye too. I noted the book about Animals in Translation (Temple Grandin) from somewhere yesterday (of course, must have been fdl) and here you are writing about it too.

Someone was telling me that up to an IQ of around 135, people are helped by their intelligence. Beyond that, it can go the other way. My daughter, with her IQ of 148, is as far from the education designed for the mean as someone with an IQ of 52. She keeps asking me, Do others not see the inconsistencies, the ways in which what they are saying and seeing things just don't add up? Is it willful self-deception or are they just trying to snow me?

And the old question, when am I going to find "my peer group"? I think many of you brilliant folks who don't fit may have had it easier a hundred years ago in terms of the pace of life and the types of expectations. You are expected to be "on" day after day, to be incredibly productive. Instead, you should be able to access your insights and share them at the pace they come.

egregious said...

NZ does that mean I get to take the rest of the day off?


NZ Expat said...

Since that thread ended on FDL, I thought I'd bring the conversation over here. I was thinking just now about the candystriping days (over 1000 hours volunteered). I think that time sort of sealed it that I would never be flowing in money; I loved the work and didn't mind the lack of pay. I've never regretted doing it and I think the joy I got from it kept me sane and on kilter during the teenage years. I was part of something larger than myself.

My husband was similarly inovlved in Civil Air Patrol in his state and he thinks it too gave him a sphere away from parents and teachers where he could prove his competence.

Despite our best efforts, we've not managed to get our kids involved in such endeavors. I think it would have steadied them immensely.

Yes, yes, take the day off....Or take the day on, taking on the rich peace of the woods and the bird song. Fill your reservoir; do it for yourself. Do it so that others may come and rest beside you.

egregious said...

"...take the day off....Or take the day on..."

Profound. Must contemplate.