Friday, July 20, 2012

The Scarecrow is not Afraid

Some people have (unjustly) accused me of being a "fradie-cat," and a "nervous Nelly." I'm not sure what a Nelly is, but I can assure you, I am not one. I am a Lucy, a Scarecrow. My job, you see, is to scare off, not to be scared myself.

It's just that in a world where thousands of refuges seek shelter from violence in Syria. Where a Batman screening can be the scene of murder. Where a Google News search of "fear" results in 3,230,000 links. Where a search of  "injured results in 43,300,000. And a search for "death" results in 130,000,000 that I just don't necessarily feel okay with the door unlocked, yanno?

So, yeah, I'm cautious. Cautious about who I tolerate standing within 100 feet of the house (the prison guard and her boyfriend), who I befriend (Mr. Pawsley), who I open the door to (no one).

What? You think the mailman, excuse me, the maulman, looks so innocent, but what keeps him from blowing a heart shaped hole through the front door? What keeps him from barging inside and taking all that I love?

I'll tell you what keeps him from doing that. Nothing. Except me.

I'm vigilant. Some might say hyper-aware (actually they say hyper-active, but I like to think they just don't understand words and therefore choose an inaccurate synonym. Lessons on connotation, anyone?). I have a job, a duty; I have a noble calling, friends, and it is to protect.

Would that I were the police! Oh, happy life, that - when I might pull you over, reader, for each infraction. Where I might cuff you, stranger, and lock you behind bullet proof glass. Where I might sleep with a weapon by my head.

Allow me to paste the entire Emily Dickson poem "My Life had Stood - A Loaded Gun" here for you to ponder a moment:

My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun –
In Corners – till a Day
The Owner passed – identified –
And carried Me away –

And now We roam in Sovereign Woods –
And now We hunt the Doe –
And every time I speak for Him –
The Mountains straight reply –

And do I smile, such cordial light
Upon the Valley glow –
It is as a Vesuvian face
Had let its pleasure through –

And when at Night – Our good Day done –
I guard My Master's Head –
'Tis better than the Eider-Duck's
Deep Pillow – to have shared –

To foe of His – I'm deadly foe –
None stir the second time –
On whom I lay a Yellow Eye –
Or an emphatic Thumb –

Though I than He – may longer live
He longer must – than I –
For I have but the power to kill,
Without – the power to die –

This poem speaks to me of the emotion surging through me when I hear the barest footfall approaching my prison-house. The anger and resolve that wells up within me. Did I have purpose before this?

And my smile, reader, please take note, is most certainly Vesuvian. It cracks my face open like a sun.

Why am I telling you this? Perhaps to keep you away, to keep you out, but it's also in answer to Slippy. Did you read our last blog? The one about vacationing? (Well, and then there's also this.)

Well, if you didn't or if you've forgotten, in it Slippy tells me he loves me and I find I cannot quite reply in kind. I give him a tap dance routine, an "I need time," etc. etc. kind of thing.

The thing is?

I don't need time, not actually. The words are recalcitrant - this is the connotation I want - they disobey me. I can't quite say to him how I feel, so I say nothing instead. Coughing, I lower my head, make excuses, all while loving him, loving him. He who has given me reason. It is for him "the mountains straight reply."

My "empathic thumb." My "yellow eye."

This searching, unending, drowning kind of love where I find myself stricken, tears rolling down my cheeks as I watch him chew grass or chase Mingus. When he pisses on a fire hydrant something nameless is tapped into life inside me; it's like a universe of butterflies alighting on my liver, long golden rays of sunlight, warm sand on my belly, water in the morning, a hand on my forehead, deep silence of time passing; it is the sound of singing, bells ringing, rain storm, wind through trees, lightest kiss; it is the turning over and over of everything I believe in until there is nothing save his little gorilla's face; his floppy Mr. Pawsley ears.

But I can't tell him this with words. I say it instead with my actions. By keeping us safe and safe and safer still. I will protect Slippy from danger.

And I will scare off that horrible mailman for good one day.

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