Admit it or not, nearly everyone has a secret place in their mind where they can hide away. I have two places where I may retreat in times of extreme emotional or physical pain. They are both in my imagination. Through the years I have developed those fantasies when I need them. They can become as real as the desk where I am sitting. Think, for example, of laying in a dentist’s chair. I hate that simple act of submission let alone the tools and apparatus employed. For me, the loss of control is harder than the pain to deal with. I want to be anywhere else; and so I go.
One is about warm, green translucent sea water sluicing through the skuppers of a beautiful sailing boat. There are teak decks and humming rigging. An ensign cracks happily in a fragrant breeze. The boat heels on a starboard tack and that canted deck plunges into the crests of waves. The sandy beach lays dangerously close downwind yet I have a light and steady grasp on the helm and I feel superbly in control. Palm trees wave in the shore breeze and nothing else exists to cloud my mind. I can sail like that all day and sometimes pull myself out of a successful trance with reluctance. And so I endure an ordeal in that dentist’s chair or similar spot of hell.
At other times, usually when having difficulty falling asleep, I put myself in a tiny log cabin. It’s old but sound. The logs are recently chinked and there’s a rough plank floor. A comfortable bunk is built against one wall, big enough for a man and a dog. On the opposite side is a small but heavy door and one tiny window. A stove used for cooking and heating sits beside the bed and provides the only light inside. There are some fruit box shelves, a small wooden table with two chairs. It is minimal but snug.
In that fantasy a severe winter blizzard moans outside. Snow drifts against and over the cabin and despite the stout walls, tiny tendrils of the blasting wind make it in through the walls. I nestle in the bed beneath a thick wool blanket, with a furry companion curled beside me. The heap of embers in the stove beside me pops and shifts. Its warmth defies the singing wind outside which drives rasping billows of snow over the cabin. I am secure and want to stay forever. Many nights in my real world, that cabin is where I go when sleep comes hard.
As I write this I look outside where a scum of grey slush covers everything. October twenty-fifth in Ladysmith where only a few weeks ago some folks were still whinging about the heat. We’ve had a horrific front bring a day of torrential rain, now this. A weather girl in a tight skirt will tell us about an “atmospheric river.” I have other names. There are only four or five months of this ahead. The following night we’ve had our first frost and it’s frozen hard. I know, I’ve just put the garbage out. Now doggies and I will head out upon the boggy moor and do our daily patrol. At the moment they are curled up together by the fireplace and who am I to tamper with a tender moment? We have a few sunny days ahead in the forecast and nobody is shooting at us; yet. Life is good.
Two weeks have passed. After my incident on my motorcycle I have not felt very frisky. The grey weather has not inspired much photography. My days have not been eventful and one hand has been too jammed up to even poke at this computer. But we move on. A few days ago I sold my little old car. The price was two thousand dollars and when the new owner went to register it and pay sales tax she was told that it was worth three thousand and that was the amount she would pay tax on. Well, we live in Canada and so far as I know, at the least we’re still free to leave. Last night I attended a local municipal council meeting. Good grief! There’s another blog in that story.
The following quote came from a photo taken by friends exploring in South Africa. To be truly free is about much more than just ourselves.
“To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” Nelson Mandela