The texture of invisibility

The other day, I had lunch with a bunch of engineers whom I don't know very well, and we got onto the topic of nuisance animals, like woodpeckers that drill into the roof, rats that hang around the cat food, and so on.  It was all very polite and ever-so-mildly tedious, when I mentioned that I follow the blog of someone who just rescued 11 baby possums.  (Go look at the pictures!)

There was a little silence.  "Really?  How did you end up doing that?"

I wasn't sure what the actual question was, but I replied anyway.  "Oh, I was following the blog for a long time before this rescue operation." I thought that sounded good, right?  Like, I'm not one to be home on the weekends googling, "possum rescue".  No sirree.

"Really?  You were already following the blog, and then the person rescued the possums?"

"Yeah.  But this week there were pictures of these baby possums.  Snuggled under a blanket."

There was silence while everyone looked at me, waiting for more explanation, but I kept my mouth shut.

"Why were you reading the blog in the first place?"

It seemed too complicated to go into it all, so I replied, "Oh, I guess I just like to see what's going on out there.  I read a lot of blogs.  This one's written by a woman outside of Chicago."

"So, she isn't someone you know?"

"Well, no..."  I didn't want to explain that she's become sort of an imaginary friend, the kind who I'll likely never meet, and I only know the barest sketch about, but I think we would be friends if things were different, and she thinks that too.

There was that pause again, and eventually someone said, "Well, I guess now you do know what's going on out there.  Women in Chicago are rescuing possums." There was hearty laughter among the engineers, and the meal concluded on that note.

I was going to come home and write about that when it happened, but I was afraid it would be weird -- it could seem like I was making fun of the sweet possum rescue and the little blanket.  Words can so easily be misconstrued, and sometimes, finding a joy in someone's quirky parts might be misundersood as making fun of them, which isn't the point at all.

But yesterday, I joined Cake Boss and her kids on a fun bike ride and when we returned to our parked cars, the lot was full of cottonwood fluff.  It looked like a small blizzard -- a few inches had accumulated in some areas, and we stopped to play with it for a while.  It was softer and lighter than I could perceive with my hands, which is eerie in a good way.  We played a game where one person would close their eyes, and another person would drop a fistful of cottonwood fluff into one hand.  The person with closed eyes would have to guess which hand held the cottonwood fluff.  It was surprisingly difficult.  It seemed like this substance represented what invisibility would be like, if invisibility were a texture.

This morning, Cake Boss texted this picture to me, which is a bird that she rescued from her wood stove where it had been knocking itself out, literally, trying to escape.  Her kids have gently swaddled it in fluff, like an army nurse might do.  Providing comfort with whatever's available.

At any rate, it all made me realize how fortunate I am to have my life intersect with these rescuers, who work to minimize suffering in large and small ways, mostly small, because that's how it is with suffering.  You can knock around the inside of a woodstove for a long, long time, and all that anyone can really do is cover you up with the gentlest substance available, be present while you rest, and wave when you fly off.  That's as good as it gets.






Comments

  1. That's all there is worth having really...kindness.

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  2. You got me all verklempt.... I don't even have words.

    You and your blog posts save me in small ways too, and I know well the blank looks and awkward pauses when I try to explain something wonderful I encountered in the blog world to people here in the flat lands. Their loss, that's what I think.

    My sister showed me on skype today a tiny bird nest made from horse hair from her mini ponies. It was the most amazing thing. Every day there are small miracles happening around us, thank goodness, to offset tragedies at every turn. There is so much wonderful and awful happenining in my life that I wish I had a nest of fluffy stuff to hide in some days. That would really be something, wouldn't it?

    Thanks for your kind words. Right back at you... :)

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    1. Exactly, Mel. So many miracles and tragedies at every turn. Does it seem more obvious at this point in our lives? Or do we just notice it more? May you enjoy many more miracles today and on an on.

      I would love to see a picture of the nest. :-)

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  3. Oh, and we would be really good friends if things were different. We'd have lots of laughs and would totally get each other.

    Also, it seems that mama possum died under the porch and it's really awful. Not awful enough to rip out the foundation or excavate, but close. Thank goodness those babies had the sense to wander off in search of options. I saw three dead possums on the roadside today, on the way to my son's high school graduation. Strangely sad. I'm going to have to stop looking. I can't take it.

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    1. Oh, that is the worst. The smell of sadness. We had an animal die under our house when we were getting divorced, and it was like this horrible metaphor for the whole situation.

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  4. Love this post. I am one of the animal nuts who feed all creatures.......stray kitties, possums, raccoons, birds, squirrels and about 25 hummingbirds........as far as I am concerned all of them are better creatures than your lunch companions.

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    1. Thanks Lo! And happy birthday! You might as well enjoy it, right? What's the downside of marching bravely into 85?

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  5. Oh Betsy, What a lovely post. Thank you!

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    1. Oh, my long lost daughter! Thank you!!

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  6. I so understand the blank stares when I talk about something I've read on a blog - from my peers that is. My grown-up kids, on the other hand, know exactly what it's like, for which I am grateful. There are a few like-minded people in our small town, but I am happy that there is the huge blog world out there to find new friends in.

    Went over to Mel's blog; what a wonderful thing to read, except for the mama part, of course.

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    1. Yes, blogs do open up the world in some ways world does open in some ways. And agree on Mel's blog!

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  7. Mel said what I am thinking. It's difficult to explain to some people why I follow blogs. I like your comparison to imaginary friends; it's true. There are people I read that I believe I'd be friends with if we were in the same city. When they're happy, I'm happy.

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  8. I like my blog friends! I can't imagine being without them! Some people just don't understand, I guess.

    Love the fluff-stuff! I was trying to figure out what part of the bird is showing....

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    1. Hi CC!
      I think that's the head showing. The fluff is over the torso.

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  9. Can I be your other imaginary friend from Chicago? Even if I don't like possums? They kind of creep me out.

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    1. One can never have too many imaginary friends, Marianne! (And I have to sort of agree about possums, but I'm trying to open my heart to their prehistoric waddling little selves. . . )

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  10. new reader; late to the party - got here by way of murr's blog. ahhhhh, how I wish I'd had some of that cottonwood fluff the day I rescued a wren from the woodstove. maybe if the (cough) cat hadn't fond it first, the results might have been better. I look forward to dipping into the archive here. so far, so good!

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    1. Oh, thanks for reading! Poor little wren. . .

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