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Monday, February 7, 2011

Arrow

“I shot an arrow into the air, it fell to earth, I knew not where…” (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow).

Well, I found it! And it’s not cupid’s arrow either!

On Sunday, January 30th, before the snow came, I looked out my back window and saw this arrow stuck in the back fence… Hmmmm…. I had a certain sneaking suspicion where this errant arrow had come from. But I just left it there, waiting to see if its owner would own up to its ownership – or better yet, come into our locked, fenced-in backyard to try to retrieve it when we weren’t looking… He did not…

Initially I was quite p.o.’d by the sight of this arrow in the fence and marched out to take pictures, just in case. Earlier that morning I had been out in the backyard in the approximate area of the path of the arrow… We live in a residential area. There are no acres of land separating houses here. We are basically in each others' pockets, so-to-speak. So an arrow stuck in the back fence is serious business, especially when two little toddlers live on the other side of that fence where the arrow was headed…

I was tempted to pull Arrow out of its landing spot and march to suspected neighbor, arrow in hand, and give him a piece of my mind. Maybe that would have been a good idea – to give away that piece of mind that was p.o.’d. But I thought better of it and kept my mind to myself. He is the same neighbor with the two dogs – you may remember from previous posts. Last Summer he decided to play target practice in his backyard with a bee-bee gun late at night when he thought we weren’t watching… I was “window sitting” so I saw everything. :)

So what to do about Arrow, and the evidently irresponsible neighbor who thinks target practice with bows and arrows and bee-bee guns are acceptable in residential neighborhoods. I knew this was an opportunity for me, but I didn’t quite know how to approach him, being p.o.’d and all. So I waited, just waited for that inner voice to say something. But nothing. There were no directions forthcoming. So for 4 days Arrow sat in the fence, and I pondered Arrow and its metaphors. I knew it was there to say *something* - besides the fact that my neighbor was not cupid, but stupid. So I inwardly listened. (More on this later this week).

Then last Friday morning, while standing in our driveway, taking photos, after snow the night before, my neighbor came out and we unexpectedly met – across the yards. We looked at each other, said hello, nodded, no usual niceties. I turned around to continue taking pictures, thinking should I or shouldn’t I – approach him that is. Now, I had basically rolled out of bed, not showered, was in sweats and coat, hair amiss, etc., etc. Nah, not good timing.

I heard him say something under his breath and start to walk towards me. I thought - here it comes, he’s going to own up to Arrow. And then he said: “I had a dream last night.” Oh really? I replied – thinking now I’m going to hear the story of how the arrow got in the fence. Instead he narrated that in his dream his two dogs were barking really loud and it really bothered me. He wanted to know if his dogs were bothering me. I was shocked. I thought - are you serious? Do you think I dropped off a turnip truck or something! I know that you know about the ARROW! What about the ARROW! I want you to own up to ARROW! But I smiled and went along with his little dream story. Oh no, they are fine, no bother. Are you sure, he said… Yes, they’re fine. (Their barking has been an issue in the past and both now have bark collars on, so very little barking occurs – anymore.) He evidently felt we were finished and started to walk away. Not so fast cupid…


I then said: Well, I had a dream last night too. (I thought two can play this game). Oh? he said. Yes, I dreamt that an arrow flew through our yard and landed in the fence. Would you happen to know anything about that?

Yes, I would, he said… His son (about 13 yrs old) thinks he is Daniel Boone, and his mother bought him a bow and arrow… But cupid, I mean stupid, now agreed that it was “not a good thing” to be doing target practice in the backyard– and would reign his son in. “Daniel Boone” has now been relegated to the fields beyond the park two houses away – not in shooting distance of any houses. I’m still nervous…

Anyway – After the fact, pondering our little conversation, I thought the way my neighbor approached me was rather skillful actually: indirect, focusing on the dream, the story, not confrontational – although not admitting to anything, not taking responsibility until “found out” – which was rather bothersome. But - it was an interesting repartee where what was needed to be revealed was revealed in its time. It gave me an opening to address the issue and we could both walk away “unharmed” – no anger, no conflict, no blame, no judgment – issue resolved. I could meet him in the dream, in his story – and he in mine. Wow – I thought, how simple, why didn’t *I* think of that… Now I will.

I returned the arrow – unbroken…

I love this opening: “Say, I had a dream last night…”

Can we meet each other in the dream? Sure we can. It’s really kind of fun… Wanna play? :) Your dream or mine…



5 comments:

  1. What an absolutely fascinating story--and beautifully written. It stirred up a variety of emotions, and I had to LOL at "Maybe that would have been a good idea – to give away that piece of mind that was p.o.’d." And, yes, an intriguing idea . . . to "meet each other in the dream" . . . a way to diffuse negative energies yet resolve potential conflict. Beautiful.

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  2. There are some that would say "it is all a dream", what is reality, what is a dream? So in a strange way the neighbour was also speaking a truth, perhaps unwittingly. Yes very skillful. Blows our expectations and stories right out of the water. Illustrates to me the complexity of humans and the strangeness of life. A reward to you for not acting out of anger! The importance of non action sometimes. Love this story!

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  3. Darla ~ It certainly was an eye-opener for me... Seeing how 'the dream' works; not pushing away the dream, not dismissing everything as dream - but seeing the value in meeting each other *in* the dream... Was very healing actually.

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  4. ZDS ~ Yes this one seems to be full of dharma! :) It is an interesting conundrum, to say the least, what is dream, what is reality... I have tended towards believing it is a dream, and yet I see that everything is also very real... And even if we regard everything as dream, we still have to function within the dream...

    Yes, it blew me away that my neighbor was speaking truth through the example of his skillfulness... I ended up learning wonderful examples of dharma from him! One was just being open to what comes and how it comes...not getting entangled in my story, as you point out. Arrow turned out to be a gift! :)

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  5. "Arrow turned out to be a gift! :) "...lovely last words.
    XOXO

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