I can’t die yet—I just spent $2,000 at the dentist.





The other day I reached inside the mailbox, which I share with seven other people. There were Christmas cards, credit card offers, a Victoria’s Secrets catalog that has no secrets, and a gourmet gift catalog with giant walnut chocolate cookies, baklava, biscuits, and cinnamon swirl buns for those no longer watching their figure.

     On this day the only item in the mail for me was another discreet reminder from Smart Cremation that my journey in this world of pleasure and pain is coming to an end.
      I can’t die yet—I just spent $2,000 at the dentist. The root canal is fixed, my chipped front tooth is whole again. But the thought of all the work I have to do to earn that money back is exhausting. Yesterday, as I assessed my life situation, I hit a wall. I fell into that depressing place where you just want to pull the covers over your head and give up. I felt tired and close to tears. So I decided that, instead of scooping the poop out of the kitty litter and making a dent in the endless hopeless housework that comes with five four-leggeds, I would run away with Honey and Chico to the basin near Pratt Trail. We would hike and I would do yoga in my favorite panoramic spot. I still had the car that I borrowed the day before to go to the dentist, so off we went.
       Chico and Honey were yapping with joy and ready to fly out the window. As I eased the car into the dirt parking area, I caught a glimpse of a Ventura County spray truck. Seeing those workers with gloves on, once again spraying toxic weed killers up and down the side of the basin and surrounding areas, killing everything that was sprouting after the rain, my heart sank. In years past I’ve questioned them . . . they have their reasons (flood control), but their reasons make no sense to me.
       The dogs were so wild to go running that I didn’t get out to question the workers. I turned around and drove away. Later I heard from a friend who lives nearby on North Signal Street that she could smell the spray from her house. The whole scene of man still poisoning the Earth, after all we know about toxins traveling up the food chain, killing wildlife. . . all this put me further over the edge. I told myself that in other countries they’re spraying people, poisoning and killing human beings—that I’m among the lucky ones; I can walk away and find refuge somewhere else in nature.
470591_10150741641279703_266408929_o        Later the dogs and I walked the creek bed in the river bottom. I’d cancelled my Thursday night class, feeling that I had nothing to give. So I had time to drift off into the sunset, to watch the light change and sink into stillness. When I came home, my sweet daughter brought me my favorite bird seed cookie with strawberry jam in the center, fresh-made at the Farmer and the Cook. “Here, Mom,” she said, “I’m sorry you’re having such a hard day.” I felt slightly ashamed that I had dumped my troubles on her earlier in the day. Laughing, I bit into the yummy cookie, and thus my hard day dissipated.

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