This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm
April 23rd, 2005


There's an old Peggy Lee song, "Is that all there is my friend? Is that all there is...." The song relates a series of bad stuff and laments life. Quite haunting and very sad.

How many of us go through 'bad stuff' and feel our lives are senseless, joyless and meaningless?

Don't misunderstand me, we all have our problems - as my husband JC (or Castwell) and I age we are aware of the slowing of our step, little memory glitches, more pills than champagne flutes in the kitchen cabinet - all signs of aging. We didn't make our 'annual' trek to the Bahamas this spring, and we both miss that terribly. That really is our vacation, and we have a special feeling toward the out islands and the bonz. It just didn't work out. We lost a few close friends this year as well, and that isn't easy either. There are some problems, but nothing we can't handle. We could feel sorry for ourselves, but in reality, what does that accomplish?

We were watching a little Saturday morning television and there was one program about bonefishing in the Bahamas, and another about fishing grasshoppers on the Yellowstone River where we used to live. "Been there done that." We said it at the same time and laughed about it. I don't know when we will do it again, but I'm not willing to say "never."

I look out my window here in the den and have a lovely view, garden in bloom, koi swimming about and a couple of the koi are happily eating the roots of the water lettuce I put in the pond for them a day or so ago. There is good food in the frig and freezer, JC had a very successful check-up with his surgeon on Friday, we aren't broke and we did actually go fishing over on Rocky Ford a week ago.

Life is good.

So what do we (I) do when things do get me down? Is there something you might be able to do to help yourself? How can we regain a little of the peace and joy we experience when we are fishing...when we can't fish? This may not be something you've ever thought about in this way, but you can use your own mind to call up those fishing trips and events which gave you joy and pleasure.

Some call it conjuring - but that's an old-fashioned word which many may not have even heard. Webster defines it as:

TRANSITIVE VERB: 1a. To summon (a devil or spirit) by magical or supernatural power. b. To influence or effect by or as if by magic: tried to conjure away the doubts that beset her. 2a. To call or bring to mind; evoke: "Arizona conjures up an image of stark deserts for most Americans" (American Demographics). b. To imagine; picture: "a sight to store away, then conjure up someday when they were no longer together" (Nelson DeMille). 3. Archaic To call on or entreat solemnly, especially by an oath.
INTRANSITIVE VERB: 1. To perform magic tricks, especially by sleight of hand. 2a. To summon a devil by magic or supernatural power. b. To practice black magic.
NOUN: Chiefly Southern U.S. (knjr) See hoodoo (sense 1a).
ADJECTIVE: Chiefly Southern U.S. Of or practicing folk magic: a conjure woman.

The active part is this: To imagine; picture: "a sight to store away, then conjure up someday when they were no longer together."

The trick is you can store away more than "a sight" - you can store a whole event or series of events in you mind and call them up when you need to want to.

One of my favorites is JC and I sitting outside in the sun, on the patio of the corner room at Emerald Palms, South Andros in after a morning of bonefishing. The wind had come up too strong to continue fishing and we told our guide Gary to head for the dock. Once in, showered and changed, we sat with a fresh pot of coffee, out of the wind, watching huge fish swim by in four-foot waves. The turquoise waves with little white puffs of foam blowing off the tops was gorgeous. I can also call up many individual fish on the rod, and run a movie in my mind of JC's big 'cuda' tail walking across the water out on the west end of South Andros. Oh yes, I can hear the sounds as well.

I'm not weird (well, then again I may be) but anyone with a little practice and concentration can do the same thing. Is it a form of self-hypnosis? Meditation? Could be. But it does work. It will allow you to unplug from your everyday life or pressing problems enough to get a little renewal. Some peace. It is worth learning how to do. ~ DLB

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