Saturday, October 18, 2008

Trying to make sense of messages

My partner and I returned Saturday late morning from a mini-vacation in Wabasha - on the drive we soaked in the breathcatching vibrant colors of leaves and enjoyed the sight of gulls gathering around Lake Pepin. We visited the National Eagle Center and met Angel. Our lives had gotten so busy, we needed to stop and take some time for ourselves. While we were gone our pups Mister and Missy got to be pampered at Pampered Pooch Playground.

This morning i find myself reflecting back on the happenings of yesterday. In a seven hour period after our return, three events happen that have caused me jolt, pay attention and pause ...

At 2:35 pm on my drive back home after picking up Mister and Missy from Pampered Pooch, I am coasting along highway 62 heading east. As I approach the Bloomington Ave exit in Richfield I hear a loud noise. I turn around and simultaneously notice Missy in a panicked state and the rear passenger window of my partner's Honda CRV on the verge of shattering - what was once a smooth clear window now looks like a network of nerves and veins and the mere touch would cause the entire window to crumble. In the top right hand corner I see the entry point of a pellet. My partner later points out that the trajectory and angle of the gun shot pointed right to my head. In the hour that follows, I pull over on Bloomington Ave and calm the pups down and settle them in the front seat and floor and make my way home -- the window crumbles and all that remains is the small section in the top right hand corner where the pellet attempts to enter. I am guessing some kids are shooting at passing cars - entertainment in some sick sense.

At 7:20 pm on our way to the State Theatre in downtown Minneapolis, I am driving my Honda Element on Cleveland Ave in St. Paul heading north. Out of nowhere a white sedan flies out onto Cleveland from a side street. My partner screams. Time freezes for me. I'm driving 35 mph as the white sedan is coming at us at a 90 degree angle at an accelerating speed. A collision is imminent. I don't know what happens. I sensed a protective barrier come down around my car and somehow, my hands, which no longer feel like they are mine, take control of the steering wheel and what should've been a collision resulting in severe injury or death, is now a moment in time i will simply remember, not truly understanding what happened, or more accurately, why something didn't happen .. a "lucky" escape?

My partner and I discuss turning back. What's going on? Hours earlier, I had been shot at - another "lucky" incident where neither the dogs or myself were hurt. Now this?

At 9:30 we're heading home from the State Theatre, driving on 6th street in downtown Minneapolis, after hearing Khaled Housseini , author of "The Kite Runner", speak. My partner and I are engaged in conversation. Next to me on my right is a red Mazda pickup truck. Out of the blue, he swerves attempting to turn onto Chicago (a young man from Wisconsin claims he did not see us) and rams right into the passenger side. This time - not so "lucky" i guess; however, maybe lucky in that no one was seriously injured. Amazingly, there is no outside damage to my car - just some internal damage causing my passenger door to no longer be able to open.

This morning i reflect on yesterday. The BB gun brings back memories of how my first dog, Splat, a black cocker spaniel was shot and killed in my backyard on July 20, 2000 less than one month after moving to Minnesota. One week prior, a hate note taped to our front door - police in Eagan saying they couldn't do anything until "something happened." My mind flashes back to Shadow (our lab mix who crossed Rainbow Bridge in July 2007) whom I rescued from the streets of Owasso, Oklahoma in 1998 a victim of a gunshot wound to his head - a "lucky" survivor. My mind flashes back to how on Saturday night, while in Wabasha, I am deeply impacted by a comment made by a friend who challenges me on the changing of a dog's name from a simple english name to an ojibway name (my wish to reflect the heritage of where the dog is coming from). The comment strikes a sensitive nerve in me and pierces my heart... at first i don't know why. After hours of conversation with my partner I realize it's personal for me. My father had to change his name when he came to the United States for schooling because his name was too hard to pronounce... from Banharn to Bob ... my mom's name changed from Araceli to Sally because it was too hard to pronounce. Our culture, our heritage dismissed and discounted in light of a more dominant culture. And last night, interestingly, Khaled speaks about cultural oppression that is happening in Afghanistan. What struck a nerve in me Saturday night regarding a simple name change of dog ... while yes, it is personal for me, i realize is not so personal. I believe many don't intend to offend ... a simple name change, however, brings with it an entire history and cultural heritage. Maybe it's not a big deal for a dominant culture; it is, however, for those of us who come from an non-dominant culture.

Somehow, i know there is a thread in the events of the past 24 hours; there is a message in all of this. There is something I need to hear. There is something I will be called to do.

I am not clear yet on what it is, not at this very moment. I trust clarity will come to me when the time is right.

For now, I am especially grateful, to be here today.

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