In my life, with my writing, I try to stay on the positive side (while not wanting to be a Pollyanna, who is not facing reality). That is why I don't write often about GW Bush. Oh I do a rant now and then, but I am showing self-restraint that those don't happen regularly. I believe in general we are better off if we can look to the good rather than the bad, but I can't always do that.
For me, this last week-end had a lot of good things in it; but it had some negatives too. The tragic one was a reminder of how abruptly life can end. That came from Steve Irwin being killed by a stingray. I felt sad about it and am sure others felt it more than me as I have rarely seen his programs. I knew he did dangerous things but was still shocked when he was killed. He seemed like a good man, trying to do good for the world, and just a shame his life ended in such a tragedy.
Did he die to feed the insatiable need for excitement that seems to be growing across this globe? Is this becoming a gladiator world where the risks must increase to feed that excitement? Is that why it's not enough to see a stingray swimming, but we have to see someone near it, someone facing danger, to make it worth our time? I have read that, as a naturalist, when he did what seemed reckless, it was to help others see the value in preserving the natural world. It sometimes seems the world is full of those who only get interested if there is some risk (but not theirs) added to the mix. I understand he wasn't forced into what he did, but maybe we need to think where we are heading.
For me this wasn't just about a sudden death of a young person who was contributing much to the world, but it was also why he was there. Yes, I know freak accidents happen, maybe it was his time; but he was swimming that close to make the pictures exciting and we all know it.
Then there was a personal negative that comes with raising livestock. I write about the beautiful and satisfying part of living on a farm, but there are other sides. Sometimes bad things happen.
This week-end, once again, the neighbor's dog showed up to chase the sheep. He's a big dog, a full-sized boxer, and he has killed their own chickens. When he comes here, so far he has only chased the sheep. One night that was right into the creek and if we had not been here, a lamb would have drowned. Another night possibly he did it when we weren't here as one of our lambs did drown in the creek-- something we can't prove as we didn't see him chase it in that time.
This week-end, the neighbor came to get her dog fairly quickly, but this has been a year and a half of them saying the same thing-- we just can't keep him in. This week-end he had been tied again with nothing but a piece of baling twine. He's a husky dog and he worries those things until they fray. Nobody was checking and why they figured a piece of twine would do it since it hadn't umpteen times before, I don't know.
The truth is they have not cared to keep their dog up. She said--well why do your sheep run? Why didn't your fence keep him out? What does it hurt if he chases them? I saw her reaction on her stubborn face when I told her it's not a question of if her dog will kill but only when. As a child, I grew up seeing sheep ripped apart by other people's pet dogs. She stared blankly at me. She simply didn't care. I didn't bother telling her all of the nights I have lain awake listening to hear if the sheep are running. She would not have cared about that either.
I was mad; so mad that to avoid saying more, I walked off. It was obvious words were not going to get either her nor me anywhere. I don't normally act rude. I try to keep good relationships with neighbors. But my sheep are scared and I am mad at her for not caring about her dog's rogue behavior.
I am also mad that, since they don't care, from now on every time their dog chases the sheep, the sheriff is going to have to be called. A formal complaint must be made, and these neighbors will get a call from an authority as well as a fine. Our county's law is that no dog is allowed to run off its own property, and any rancher having stock chased has the legal right to shoot the offending dog. Bringing the law into this doesn't make me happy, but shooting their dog would make me more unhappy. And it's not okay to keep having the sheep chased-- eventually to their death. The whole thing left me grumbling to myself and living in negative space.
So I am trying to put a positive spin back into my life energy. I know life ends abruptly as it did for Steve Irwin. I know we can't throw away precious days on anger that does nothing to solve problems, but sometimes... sometimes there just are negatives and this week-end, along with good things, had some of those times.