Monday, June 27, 2011

Chain Reaction

By Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO
AANP Past-President (2008-2009)

Photo by Don DeBold via Flickr, used under the Creative Commons License.
There is an interesting and, frankly, ear-splitting phenomenon occurring in my household. We love birds, so we installed a variety of feeders in both our back and front yards. We diligently fill the feeders as they are drained by hungry birds. Our efforts are worth it. We are treated to a plethora of warblers, wrens, finches, woodpeckers, chickadees, doves, and hummingbirds. The colors are spectacular and we grin with satisfaction at the busy chomping occurring outside of our windows.

We are not, however, the only ones grinning. Our neighbor’s cat now loves us, or rather our yard. Not only can he sit in-wait for a bird, but the seed droppings have attracted a variety of other delectable critters. We have what seems to be several families of chipmunks and squirrels that come to eat the discarded seeds on the ground. Unfortunately, the cat has made off with quite a few of these little ones.

And that brings me to Nora, our dog. Upon waking in the morning, after a good stretch, she eagerly trots out of the bedroom and hustles down the stairs. She gains momentum as she goes so that by the time that she reaches the main floor she is galloping towards the bay windows in our kitchen nook. With her tail a blur, she carefully scans the yard. She is usually rewarded with one, and then several more, chipmunks; and on a good day a squirrel; and on a particularly phenomenal day, the cat. She greets each one of these critters with a wildly enthusiastic barrage of barking, moaning, squeaking and (dog) talking. The bigger the animal, the louder she is. Unfortunately, our house has wood floors and minimal carpeting, so her barks bounce off the interior of our home with ear-splitting volume. Inevitably, after about 10 seconds of this cacophony, we command her to stop. She does, but proceeds to whine/talk/moan at the world on the other side of the glass. Exasperated, we often let her out on the porch where she barks her way into the upper hand and clears the lawn of all creatures – winged and tailed. And then there is blessed peace and quiet. She comes in content, we settle in, and soon the birds come back and it all starts over again.

Despite the fact that we are probably losing the upper register of our hearing, we just won’t take the bird feeders down. We recognize that we are completely responsible for initiating this chain of events and, as such, have no right to complain. It is a daily lesson for me too as I can’t help but wonder what other chain of events I have unknowingly or inadvertently set into motion. Wondering about that also gives me pause whenever I start to blame someone for something as I realize that there is very likely possibility that a long series of events, decisions, and situations led up to what I see before me.

Actually, just about everything seems to work this way – illness included. A sickness is usually the result of a long series of events, decisions, and circumstances. What we see manifested is the tip of a vast iceberg of interconnections. Perhaps, spending some time taking a look underneath would be a good idea, and certainly recognizing the ever-present connectivity in the world gives us deeper understanding and, ultimately, compassion.

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