Around this time of year we sometimes get cranky. Every non-work moment is taken up with some kind of community activity. There are end of season picnics, there are playoff games in effing Byfield which is apparently a place or something, the inbox fills up with invites complete with requests to bring a nut and gluten free dessert. It always seems like there are ten more things happening every day than we’d previously heard about. “We’re going to the end-of-season flaming hula hoop demonstration set to the music of Brahms. It’s in someplace called ‘Arkham’ and I volunteered you for the oboe solo, so you’ll need to learn how to play one. Also we have to carve an eagle out of yak ghee.”
This year has been particularly insane and has culminated with your clameditor down in NY at a somewhat massive close-family Jewish/Hindu wedding. It’s been no small undertaking and last night we were in a post-driving/overtaxed/culture shock haze at the Sangeet, which is sort of like a rehearsal dinner, but with elaborate dancing and food so spicy the caterer can’t drive over major bridges without special permits. After a few hours of this were ready to crawl back out to the minivan and curl up into fetal position when we got to chatting with a lovely older Indian couple who’d flown here from Sri Lanka to be at the wedding. They asked about Gloucester where we and the bride’s family are from and we sort of rambly described it through the lens of the seven beers we drank in an attempt to get our intestinal tract back out of the plasma state it had entered because of the shrimp curry.
“You seem to have a very strong community there,” she said which was sort of shocking because I thought I’d been talking about harbors and the fishing industry and such.
She then related an Indian fable we’d never heard about a man who was sick of people so he went up into the Himalayas. There he lived, alone mediating until one day a lost kitten wandered into his hut. He was welcome for the company, but the kitten needed milk so he had to get a cow. Then the cow needed grass so he had to build a farm. The farm needed keeping so he got a wife and they had children who needed teaching and you can see where this goes. Because of his cat he’d founded a village.
OK, neat. Didn’t think about it much till this morning when we got a note on social media reminding everyone that now that school is out some kids have lost their only sense of stability. For some its the only decent meal and healthy social interaction they get all day. No one is sending them to camps, signing them up for summer soccer or Spindrift. Nobody is packing sandwiches to take them to the beach. This person reminded us to keep an eye out for kids who need extra support during the summer. This was not a social worker, by the way. It was just another Gloucester mom who cares.
It reminded us that there are a lot of lost kittens out there. And it further reminded us that it’s sort of all or nothing when you live in a community like ours. We thought back to the guy-in-the-hut story. What wisdom was that dude really going to get out in the mountains thinking about stuff all up in his own head? His real wisdom was more likely to come fixing the cow fence for the five thousandth time, stepping in crap, cursing the sky and then looking down to find the kitten rubbing up against his leg.
In the end, we are who we are in our relationships to others.
Anyway, Namastov or Mazelte or whatever to all.