Monday, November 19, 2012

Plink, Plunk of Falling Acorns

Acorns and Other Dangers in the Hood

"If you stand for a reason, be prepared to stand like a tree. If you fall onto the ground, fall like seed that grows back to fight again." ~ Author unknown

Plink, plunk! It’s that time of year when small projectiles known as acorns come plummeting down to the earth and onto my back deck, making life a real challenge. Acorns present a real hazard to anyone who may have any type of mobility impairment. I’ve hit them at full speed in my wheelchair and have come to a screeching halt before. I laugh, but I know that there is always the possibility of kissing the deck. It happens. In our lives, dangers are present everywhere.

It is rather alarming to be asked to evacuate your home immediately or to look out of your window and see an armored SWAT team of police officers. During that moment of not knowing if you are in imminent danger, one is most frightened. Regardless of your faith, panic sets in.

Car accidents are similar. If you can see it coming, there is a moment before the impact as if time is seemingly passing in slow motion, time spent not knowing if you are going to live or die. I can only guess that it must be the same for anyone sinking on a ship or plummeting to the ground in an airplane.

I never lost consciousness after my car accident, and somehow I maintained the belief that I would be okay, even when I could clearly see my motionless limbs still partially draped over the seat in front of me. The thought of death was brief, my goal was survival. I thought that I was going to be okay. I guess that is what one would call faith.

We all need to feel a sense of control. To trust that things are being handled properly and to maintain a belief that everything is going to be alright is difficult for anyone. Sometimes we simply have to trust the people who are suppose to be taking care of us, as we would trust a pilot to get us to our destination safely. That’s what their job is. This doesn't mean that they're not going to be questioned, but during an emergency you usually have to let them do what they do.

Last Thursday night I looked out of my window and police cars and heavily armed police officers were everywhere in my suburban neighborhood. I was alone and no one knocked on my door to tell me what was going on. No emergency alerts or text messages were issued. I didn’t dare go outside. My instinct was to call a neighbor, and she had no idea either. We could see cars stopped and other neighbors being escorted out of their homes. The only thing that I could surmise was that this was a serious situation. My speculation was that something must be happening down at a house where several domestic disturbances had occurred previously.

My husband was on his way home from work, and was originally prohibited from entering our street. Eventually, he convinced an officer that he needed to get home to be with his 'disabled' wife. Yes, he played the ‘gimp card’ on my behalf. He was told that there was someone armed at a residence at the end of the cul-de-sac where I had assumed things were happening. We were advised to stay away from our windows. Later, we heard a gunshot. An ambulance came and went, and after that, everything seemed to settle down.

It wasn’t until the next day that we heard that there was someone armed in the house with both a gun and a knife, and who was apparently suicidal and had taken the others in the house hostage. No one was injured, and the gunshot was a misfire from one of the police officer’s gun. Our assumptions were indeed correct and it was the estranged wife who we had seen months before escorted away in a police car. I’m thankful that things did not end badly for anyone. You simply never know about life, even in a somewhat calm and ordinary suburban neighborhood.

Communication amongst officials and neighbors is important in situations like this. Staying out of harm’s way is also a must. I believe that it would have been helpful if someone had knocked on my door when I was alone and had assured me that I was in fact safe. Even a security alert by the town or by our Homeowner’s Association would have been helpful. The situation was indeed unnerving, and the very close sound of the gunshot didn’t help.

I personally do not know the exact detail of my neighbor’s mental health, but I do know that with the approaching holidays many people have a difficult time. Please be in tune with your loved ones, friends and check on those who are alone. For me this time of year brings back many sad memories too. Please ask for help if you yourself think you may be dealing with depression. In life, we have to take care of both our mind and body.

For many of us our activities are slowing down in the garden. I am fortunate enough to have spinach and lettuce growing. I learned my lesson about expecting to find fall vegetable plants available at our local garden centers. There was only lettuce and swiss chard. I should have started more seeds, but honestly, it was too hot in August to even want to think about gardening. I had a lot to do just keeping everything watered. I know that more selection will be available fairly soon after the Christmas trees are gone in time for a spring garden.

Gardening is a fabulous way to keep our minds occupied even throughout the winter months. I love plowing through numerous gardening magazines, books and online articles in preparation for next year’s garden. I have been inspired by a friend to try growing some micro-greens. They are very high in nutrients.

As Thanksgiving approaches this week, I work hard at trying to stay upbeat. I am so thankful for everything in my life, that I refuse to let the trivial things upset me. Last week I learned that the White House Kitchen Garden created by school children for nutritional and educational purposes was probably not accessible. I’m still trying to confirm this very possible and appalling fact. The garden’s original intent was for it to be developed and maintain by school children and by people with disabilities. Sad, if it is indeed not accessible.

I’m one who likes to think that they are in control of their life. We all know that isn’t always possible. I always said that I would choke the next person who told me that “God only gives you what he knows you can handle!” Enough already! (Sorry, Joni Erickson.) I have faith, I just question it frequently. Time to pull out some good gardening books!

Please have a very Happy Thanksgiving and watch out for those falling acorns!

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