I've been spending a lot of time thinking lately. Must be the time off of work and all the fence painting I'm doing...there's something to be said for manual labor...kind of like exercise...as soon as you find your rhythm, your mind is free to wander. I've found it to be very relaxing out in the beautiful 70 degree weather...just me and the birds singing...ANY-who...I recently watched a show on, I believe, NatGeo, where they were exploring the world under the ground of our every day lives. They toured the labyrinth of sewer systems in Dublin, IR (did ya know, "Dublin" means "dark pool?" Just a little tidbit there for ya from the teacher in FatMom)...very pretty sewer system. Lots of brick work...quite lovely.
They also toured some cave-like structures in another part of Ireland...where??? Don't recall that, but people 4500 years ago (!!!) built these rock tunnels and chambers on top of the ground, using only rock...no mortar... then covered them with mounds of dirt to look like a "simple" hill. These tombs were "built" 500 years BEFORE Stonehenge! That's so crazy cool! And they're still in pristine condition! So, anyhow, after they built these tombs, they piled the dirt on top of them and it wasn't until just recently that they were discovered. People thought "oh, that's a nice hill," not knowing it was a manufactured landscape! Experts surmised that the tombs were built to protect villagers from marauding bands.
But the one that really fascinated me was the tour of the caves in Dowd, IR. These naturally existing caves were likely also hiding places for villagers from the Vikings. Seems those Vikings were some nasty people! In one section of the cave, they found bones carbon dated back 1000 years ago...bones of women and children. See it appears that the Vikings had a very lucrative slave business in Europe. They'd snatch up teenage boys and women and sell them to powerful and rich persons throughout Europe, especially in the Roman and Greek empires (after they castrated the young men...ewwww). So, when the Vikings were coming for a visit to your village, they didn't just want some tea and cookies. Archaeologists think that the women and children who hid in the cave were in essence smothered to death, as the Vikings likely tried to smoke them out, thereby denying the air of oxygen. I suppose it'd be better to die that way than at the hands of the Vikings. Another interesting side note...the word "slave" comes from the word "Slavic," since a HUGE proportion of slaves the Vikings snatched were of Slavic origin. You know, just in case you're ever on Jeopardy! or something like that...
Can you imagine? How our lives have changed. We don't have to worry about bands of marauding Vikings anymore, blazing into town to steal our sons, killing our husbands, raping our daughters...or do we? Maybe life can be just as scary, except it's not Vikings, it's just life in general that destroys us.
My son's best friend's neighbor was just murdered by her boyfriend. A father in our locality just attacked his girlfriend with an ax and then kidnapped their 2 year old son and killed him with a screwdriver. We've had 3 home invasion robberies in my VERY SMALL, VERY NICE neighborhood (that's maybe one square mile in size) in the last 2 months. An acquaintance just blew his head off with a 12 gauge shotgun the other day in his home with his bride in the other room; he was apparently abusing prescription drugs. My daughter's best friend, who just turned 11, was diagnosed with a degenerative disease and 2 brain tumors.
I just want to keep my kids safe and healthy. When my kids were very small babies, I thought: Man, THIS is the hard stuff! Then, they got older and I realized that babies are not difficult. That's reactionary parenting...they cry, you run through a list of what could the the issue and most likely, you'll figure it out. I was able to nearly completely control their atmosphere. Now, I can't. I still do to a large degree, but I know that that door is rapidly closing. I've spent their whole lives (11 years and nearly 13 years) trying to teach them many lessons, but I think the MAIN theme tying them all together is this: Respect yourself and others around you. It seemed to me that if one 'respected' themselves, they would avoid many of the pitfalls of life than can lead to precarious living conditions. If one has 'respect' for themselves, they are likely to resist drugs, alcoholism, abusive relationships, dead end jobs, etc...things that can lead to a lifestyle that is not safe.
So I started pondering this idea of "safety," while painting. Safety is a big concern for me; always has been. It's been a rare feeling for me my whole life. Growing up, I lived in a somewhat rural area. We didn't have a lot of things growing up, but one minor (and yet significant thing to ME, was that) we didn't have any window coverings. (I guess you don't think it's necessary when half of your windows are broken and have been for YEARS...) At night, when I'd be falling asleep, I could look out my window and only see blackness. I was always sure I'd be looking out there at one point and see a pair of eyes staring back at me...I referred to our land as "ax murderer country." We could all be killed and no one would know FOR DAYS!
Blah, I digress...I have rarely felt completely "relaxed" and "safe." Is it because I'm female? A mother? And thus the most vulnerable of the group? Trust me, it's not just because I live in a city that has it's fair share of crime, because I KNOW statistically speaking, it is rare that violent crime is a completely random thing. Car break ins? Yes, random. Murder? Usually not... it's the family member who does it, or it's drug related, or some other 'lifestyle' situation. So, it's not that...maybe it's the whole "out of control" thing. I've been accused of being a control freak by my husband. Maybe...maybe not...but I do know that I don't like that out of control feeling, which may explain why I've NEVER done drugs (seriously, folks), and why I've not drank more than 2-3 drinks in a row since my 23rd birthday. Maybe I feel so unable to control so many things in my life that I feel compelled to control the only thing I possibly can 100%, which is me. That would likely explain my eating disorders.
Whew...I'll bet all of faithful readers (all 3 of you!) would really like me to go back to work and stop thinking (and writing) so much!! Sorry....2 more weeks of this then it'll be back to normal!
All the best,