A Flight of Whimsy

28 04 2011

I knew I’d regret summoning that second butterfly to my toes. I’ve been overcome by the vagaries of livin’ lepidopteran.

It wasn’t long after this photo was taken that I was struck by my first of several recent bouts of catatonia. I was camping along the banks of Idaho’s Coeur d’Alene River with four wonderful friends. They were all fishing. Though I adore eating fish, the process of catching them does not strike my fancy, so I wandered away from the group to bury myself in a little spring break fun-time reading. I tucked myself into a little reading nook that had been carved out of the earth by a recent flood, seating myself not 20 yards away from our tents. Apparently somewhere around page one hundred and sixty, while our plucky hero “Zits” was inhabiting the body of an adulterous pilot, a real-life emergency played out right behind my head. Cyndee had gone fishing and caught herself. The fly was buried deep enough in her finger to merit a quick trip to the hospital, 45 minutes back up the road. People were calling my name, hoping to inform me of the situation; then they hopped in the car and left. I was completely oblivious. My first clue anything might possibly be amiss came after I finished my book, tucked it back in my Puma pack, and traveled all three strides necessary to bring our campsite into view.

‘Something is wrong here,’ I thought. ‘Didn’t we come in two cars? How is there now only one?’

I was thoroughly perplexed. Soon Cori appeared and explained everything that had happened. Her story only left me more bemused.

The next paroxysm of abeyance was not nearly so innocuous.*

It was Wednesday morning and I was faced with a much smaller number on my clock than I had been hoping to see upon my return from the Land of Nod. My habitual method of coping in such trying circumstances is a brimming mug of blackcurrant tea, so I staggered into the kitchen, filled my kettle, placed it on the stove, then stumbled back into my room and picked up a new book. An hour and a half later I was rudely jarred out of my happy place by the incessant wailing of the fire alarm and a startlingly thick cloud of smoke billowing out of the kitchen. Every last molecule of water had been boiled out of my kettle and the whole assembly had gotten so hot the heat-resistant plastic handle melted right off, fell onto the burner, and burst into flames. The whole shebang reminded me of high school.

I tend to excoriate myself for these and other, less story-worthy, failures of attention. I pride myself on my awareness of the world around me at all times, no matter how engrossed I may seem in one particular activity. It was quite sobering and unsettling to miss such huge goings on. I thought I was coming unhinged.

My therapist had an entirely new and remarkably kind take on the situation:

‘Not only does this display an incredible power of concentration on your part, it also suggests to me that you are feeling incredibly relaxed. You could never be so thoroughly absorbed in what you were reading if you weren’t first at ease with the world around you. Do you think this might have any ties to your new experience of coming home from home?

Why yes, sir,now that you mention it, it very well may…


*I’m intentionally using obscure words to convince myself I’m still a smarty and that my loss of mental acuity hasn’t spread to every bit of my brain. Bear with me




One response

3 05 2011

confession: I had to look up a few words from this post and have now promptly forgot all of them and their meanings.


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