Keeping despair at bay (part 13)

Real mail, delivered to the mailbox, is an increasingly rare event. Mostly these days, I get paid by e-transfer, so I almost never even have the anticipation of a possible cheque when I see the mail carrier approach our house.

Imagine my surprise, when, from the clutch of pizza coupons, invitations to put my house on the market, the weekly Princess Auto flyer and other bits and pieces of junk mail, I pulled a hand-addressed envelope with a local return address on it.

Inside, proof of the impact of the pandemic: the handwritten equivalent of a door to door Jehovah’s Witness visit. D. Preston, whomever that might be, offered their hope that I am “doing well during this terrible pandemic” and then went on to share some “important information” with me:

“Our work is not commercial and is done in over 240 lands. We help people to learn the Bible’s answers to such important questions as ‘Why does God allow suffering?’”

And on it went in a similar vein, concluding with the hope that I might join a free Bible study, online of course; website address provided.

I’m tempted to reply to let D. Preston know not to waste another stamp on further communication, but I fear that, as so often happens with Jehovah’s Witnesses at the door, even an indication of my lack of interest might spark a further attempt to draw me into the fold. Although, given that their religion claims there are a limited number of spots in heaven (144,000), I have never understood why they want to sign more of us up. Surely, we are just competition for those already in line?

Are you well?

D. Preston’s concern about whether I am doing well reminded me of a column I read recently in The Guardian Weekly, in which Eva Wiseman took a look at the new meaning of the cliched questions we ask about how others are faring:

“And when [the] email lands, [it] hope[s] it finds you well. . . . Well. How does it find you? Does it find you well? You ponder the ache in your wrist, the sour taste on your tongue. ‘Well’ is a word that has been forced to do much heavy lifting this year, having come to mean, “heart beating, lungs acceptable, brain connected, not yet dead.” So, yes, it finds you well, but it has had to search hard. . .

“It finds you four pages deep in a thread about an influencer’s alleged affair. It finds you surrounded by yellow succulents you had moved too close to the window with misplaced love. It finds you drinking vodka from a mug during a Zoom meeting. It finds you, yes, well, sort of.”

Walking for wellness

My long daily walks in San Miguel – whether to and from tai chi classes, to the market and back or for no reason at all  — were a big part of what made my time there so restorative.

To my surprise, I have found similar solace in my pandemic-motivated walks over the past 11 months. Whether it’s a walk at one of the conservation areas relatively nearby, a stroll with friends who live in the country or a simple walk around our neighbourhood, I always come home feeling energized and calm.

Last Sunday, which was sunny and mild, my partner and I headed to our most frequent walking destination of Lemoine Point. Once we saw the jammed parking lot, we realized that we were not alone in our desire to take in the sun, but the park has enough kilometres of trails that we were not bumping up against other people. The sky was a perfect blue, without a cloud in sight. Towards the end of our five-kilometre walk, we came upon 13 well fluffed-up mourning doves perched on a tree branch, apparently basking in the sun and seemingly unperturbed by either the black squirrel occupying a nearby branch or the fairly steady stream of people walking past. Just ahead of us, we saw quite a crowd of people all looking up at something. We wandered along the trail to see a beautiful barred owl surveying the meadow for possible mid-day meal ingredients.

Two days later, the deep freshly fallen snow had me dressed and out the door shortly after 6:30 a.m. The snow continued to fall steadily as I meandered around our neighbourhood for close to an hour, soaking up the snow shower. It may not have contained the vitamin D that we get from a walk in the sun, but it replenished something my body and soul needed.

When I got home, I treated myself to a mug of cocoa, made with Mexican chocolate. What a perfect way to start the day.

A year ago today, I met my partner after my tai chi class and we headed to San Agustin for our favourite late-morning treat: glasses of cold, foamy agua de pina. After a stop at the market for dinner ingredients, we walked up the very steep and long hill to our house and, later that evening, enjoyed homemade chorizo and black bean tacos.

While this week held no agua de pina or tacos, it did hold lots of walks, a few BB&B (basement, bike and book) sessions, a dinner with friends, another with family, and a (masked) reiki treatment.

I am well, truly well, at least for another week.

4 thoughts on “Keeping despair at bay (part 13)

  1. I hadn’t thought about the 144k limit in the JW heaven. I did some reading, and it appears that this is based on verse in Revelations that says that, in addition to Jesus, God, and various angels, that heaven has 144,000 male virgin residents. When the number of JW adherents passed the 144k total, the JW theology was changed and the heavenly quota was maintained, but the rest of the saved would live here on an earth transformed into a paradise. The 144k are referred to as “co-rulers”. Haven’t you always wanted to be controlled by thousands of male virgins?

    • Hmmm. 144,000 male virgins. It’s quite a leadership concept. I hope the guy who zoom-bombed me last week during a panel discussion about gender-based violence with some very sexually explicit suggestions about what he would like to do to me isn’t among them.

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