Friday, September 29, 2006

Safety in Numbers

Well, folks, I saw his soft underbelly. He didn't shake it at the sky or at me, but he exposed it. Bravely.

He wants to move to Missouri and marry me. Ever muscle, every fiber of my being wants to scream NO, but instead I said I'd think about it. And I am.

This morning I sat down in front of the windows in the sun room to meditate. Before me were two geese and one duck, citizens of my little pond. One of the geese, a guy we call Marvin, has been on the pond since I bought the house almost two years ago. The flock comes and goes, but Marvin always stays, always alone. Occasionally he tries to join the group but gets chased away by snarling ganders.

The other goose and the little brown pin duck are newcomers. They swim with the flock when it's here, but stay behind, together, when it leaves. On land or water, they stick close to each other. With the flock gone right now, they stay close to Marvin.

This little pin duck is so much smaller than the geese and seems so much more vulnerable. But when surrounded by Marvin and the new goose, it can curl its head onto its breast and sleep safely. When they swim around the pond, the little duck is flanked by the larger geese, who face whatever is to be faced before it has to.

On Tuesday evening when The Man and I were carrying my things (vintage pieces he brought to me from storage in MN) into the house, he suddenly called out to me to stop, to stand still. From the tone of his voice I simply knew there was a snake nearby.

Snakes terrify me.

The Man walked quickly but carefully to stand beside me, telling me to stand still all the while. I tried but failed at that standing still thing. I did stay in one place but did a fair amount of nervous bouncing up and down. When he reached my side, The Man told me to carefully back up. Not to run but to move away slowly.

I managed that.

After I was safely out of the area, he moved away, too.

There had been, of course, a snake about 18 inches from my feet. He had deliberately stepped between me and danger, had put himself in harm's way to give me time to get away.

The whole thing upset me so badly I nearly vomited. It was half an hour before I could breathe normally.

Before he left yesterday (when I was away from the house), The Man went to a farm and garden supply store and bought some sort of organic snake barrier powder, which he spread around the perimeter of my house. After he left, I found a pair of tall, heavy-duty rubber boots in the front hall. Bright pink. Just my size.

It would be so nice to have someone to swim ahead of me. Someone to step between me and danger.

But what price would I pay for that? And what price would he pay for marrying a woman who doesn't love him the way a wife should love a husband?

Greater than rubies. Greater than I can envision or imagine, I'm guessing.

Hmmm. . . . Why do you suppose that lone pin duck lives with two alienated geese? Does it know it can never mate or have a family with a different species? Does it care?

What price is it paying for the safety of their numbers?

3 comments:

Mystic Wing said...

Brilliant, soul-searching writing. Your conflict is our revelation. But that's the artist's way. This is the real stuff, and you're the real thing.

Tongue in Cheek Antiques said...

What do you want? Where does your heart sing? Everyone for everything has to pay a price, the price is unfair sometimes...it must be measured over the long run and though a price might be high and even unfair ...it might be worth it, it might not?
Your reflections will lead you. My thoughts are with you as you consider what to do....

Marilyn said...

I've only just discovered your blog, so I realize this might seem completely inappropriate for me to say...but when I read these words, "Ever muscle, every fiber of my being wants to scream NO"...I couldn't imagine why you'd consider saying YES for even a moment. If there's anything I've learned in my 51 years, it's that my intuition NEVER lies. My HEAD does (and can rationalize with the best of them), but my intuition has never told me an untruth. My problems have resulted from when I HEAR it...and refuse to listen. That said, please know that I place no judgment on your decision. I just felt compelled to share that as someone who has often heard every fiber of my being screaming NO while hearing my head/voice saying YES...and living with the always-painful consequences as a result. Wishing you the best in your decision-making process. Truly, I know it's not an easy one.