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All the worries I don’t have…for now

December 5, 2008
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I just hailed my neighbor, who was in his tree, dressed in camo. I figured he’d just joined the ninja reserves. It didn’t seem that odd a sight; he looked purposeful, stringing some sort of line. He wasn’t at all embarrassed to tell me he was squirrel-proofing his bird feeder. His wife feeds the squirrels enough that they don’t have to go after the birds’ food.

Even though I consider squirrels rodents and figure wild birds can fend for themselves, for some reason, it brought joy to my heart that my neighbor was in a tree squirrel-proofing his bird feeder. I mean, squirrel-proofing a bird feeder might not be the highest and best use of anyone’s time, but given foreclosures, bankruptcies, job losses, and vaporized wealth, it seemed one of the higher and better ones. It was, in fact, a vignette of luxury, belying the day’s headlines. Hardworking, self-employed, and successful, my neighbor had nothing better to do for that snapshot of time than squirrel-proof his bird feeder. What a happy thought.

My neighbor’s house, like ours, is worth less today than it was a week ago Tuesday, according to those whose business it is to calculate these things. We don’t care, because we don’t owe anything on our houses. In theory, our taxes should go down, but somehow they never do. A lot of economic theories seem plausible that fail reality-testing and government resourcefulness at exacting tax revenues.

I can now sit on my front porch at night and look at Christmas lights on my neighbor’s house and shrubs across the street. We don’t do outdoor lights, but I enjoy other people’s. My husband spends enough time on ladders and with electrical wires countering entropy in our house; we find the idea of stringing lights on the house a weird way to celebrate anything. Blessedly, the ladies a few doors down appear to be economizing this year, and we won’t have to look at their deflated gargantuan inflatable Snoopy Snowman, or the Santa hitched up on their roof, alongside the huge cross. It’s all just way too weird.

Our printer died, which was nice, because at last we could get a modern convenience that is a copier, scanner, and printer. I got out some old photos of my sister and me and our kids and a stray Family Dog that showed up for the photo shoot. I scanned them and emailed them to my sister and she was thrilled. So simple and happy a thing to be able to do, and for free. I wonder what would happen if my Cat stood on the scanner long enough to scan his image into my computer. . . .But he wouldn’t.

None of this joie du jour is to say that worries will not come; sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof (Matthew 6:34). Just for now, I wanted to record a moment that I was not worried, that I am enjoying a period of gentle provision, and that Rachmaninoff’s Vespers remains one of the most beautiful choral works ever written. Allelujah, indeed.

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