Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Fresh Healing Angles

Five summers ago, at the little Idaho hideaway cabin where I lived, I pruned back a sugar maple branch, to affix a small suet feeder, six feet off the ground. The maple was adjacent to some cottonwoods by a trickling creek. The brook was a lifeline for birds, especially magpies, kingfishers and the occasional mysterious owl. After attaching the birdfeeder, I found that we needed to refresh the suet, around twice a month. I usually remembered to do this on time. However, toward the end of summer, I realized that I had forgotten to check it for a while, walked over and found it full of some unidentifiable black goo. At first, I thought that the suet had turned rancid, but then, while prying the object out, I realized there were black feathers attached and something sadder had happened – a poor blackbird had become stuck inside the feeder and was unable to extract itself, leading to its untimely death.

I shuddered slightly and immediately looked at it as a bad omen. To me the bird augury was powerful enough that I decided to keep it a secret from my housemate, so as not to frighten her. I didn’t think much more about the matter, until a few weeks later: While winterizing the grounds, I placed a large tarp over a tent next to the maple. As I made a broad swooping motion with the tarp, the same sharp branch I had pruned earlier, speared through my ear and into the side of my head. It was a Tuesday afternoon and almost five o-clock. After standing there stunned for a few seconds, trying to figure out what had hit me, I realized the severity of the situation. I was alone and bleeding profusely from the left side of my head. Hastily, I rounded up the dog, grabbed a small towel, to press against the wound and drove 2 & 1/2 miles to our local emergency room.

It’s a small hospital, but well-staffed. As I arrived, something deep inside, switched my gears into survival mode, and helped to rally me through the surgery. I cracked a few jokes about my dilemma to the physician and his assistant, hoping this would put all three of us more at ease. (I truly believe that there are cases where if you act like a jerk, your level of quality service is apt to diminish.) This seemed to help, but while examining the complexity of damage, the young doctor expressed hesitation as to whether he could stitch my ear back together properly, and suggested that I may need to transfer to a Boise hospital. That was going to be a long expensive haul and I was not looking forward to seeing a specialist three hours away.

However, right then, a visiting plastic surgeon *just happened by* our emergency room to see the problem. He encouraged the attending physician to try a specific stitching method and even made some animated motions of how to do this. After the physician made a few careful stitches with the newly suggested method, he soon gained more confidence. The visiting plastic surgeon saw the doctor was getting it right, so he left us alone. Soon all was well and I was back at work the next afternoon. However, a few weeks later, my housemate broke me the bad news that the developer, who bought our tiny tumbledown shack, would soon be smashing it to smithereens and we would have to move.

(One of the new property owners speculated that they would try to save the maple, because such trees are rare in this climate and its vibrancy would enhance the property. However, the maple is gone and we’re not sure what happened.)

Meanwhile, the Near Death Experience trauma from the sweet sugar maple seeded something new into me. It forced me to reflect hard about the haphazard direction of my life and slowed me down enough to dedicate some quiet time to writing. In the five years since the incident, I’ve had a small measure of success at this. I feel strongly that writing about items of a meaningful nature is something I should be dedicated to for several hours each week.

Until now, I have shared this personal tale with only a handful of friends. Yesterday evening I recounted it to a new friend. She is a professional Hypnotherapist, recently transplanted to Idaho from Africa, and I am helping her with her Bio. While getting to know her, she has earned my trust in her powers of intuition and yesterday she expressed a new viewpoint of what happened that evening in the emergency room. When I told her that I never caught the name of the professional plastic surgeon that walked by at that synchronistic moment, she suggested that I have not yet fathomed the extent of what actually occurred. She claims that even if I tried hard, I would not be able to discover the Good Samaritan’s name, because he is not a human being. Rather she believes he is a guardian angel, who sensed that my time here on earth five years ago, was not yet finished, and that I still had some good work to give.

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