Random thoughts from an animal-loving French prof / mom of three on things she finds beautiful, funny, sad, or strange.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Work in progress

The semester is over, my annual respiratory infection is gone, and I'm now in New York getting some much needed R & R and holiday cheer. With any luck, the black cat will be back soon.

Meanwhile, I'm (finally) getting started on my other gig, blogging with the Attachment & Trauma Network. It's a cause I really believe in, so I encourage all my readers to click the link and enjoy.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Searching for a starfish

You probably know some version of Loren Eiseley's story, the one where a child is throwing starfish into the ocean one by one, only to have an adult chide him for wasting his time. After all, he will never save them all, right? The child, however, has the last word, that his efforts do matter to each starfish he saves. 

It's a good story, albeit beaten to death by motivational speakers slightly overused, and it's not a bad response to November 2016, a month I generally think of as follows:

I am not just talking about THAT day. I might have been able to withstand that. Doubtful, sure, but it's what I'd like to believe. 

No, my fracture came a few days later when Vesbo, subject of Why are they always orange?, crossed the Rainbow Bridge. "I just really needed to save him," I sobbed on the phone to my parents. "And I failed."

Eventually, I cried (most) of the tears I had to cry. In their place, nothing. Yes, I had my friends, my family, my students, and they all held me together more than they will ever know. But deep down inside? That's where that big dark space was born.

Then I opened yesterday’s mail. One of the envelopes, larger than the others, bore the return address Open Arms India. I eagerly opened it, and there I saw her. Our sponsored child, holding a picture of… I looked closer…us. There we were, my family grasped in the hands of a child with a phenomenal smile. 

Something in me started to spark, a piece of my inner power grid coming back on line. I looked at that smile and thought maybe, just maybe, we were playing some small part in making that light shine. For the first time in weeks, I felt something like belief. 

I don't know what the future holds, and that thought scares me half to death. So does the fact that no matter what I want or what I try, I won't be able to save every cat or every child. 
But maybe, every once in a while, one of them will be my starfish.