Simple PleasuresJuly 18, 2007
My son’s brand new cell phone was lost/stolen on the fourth of July. It was a present for his sixteenth birthday and he was anguished that he lost it. Sprint really took care of me – their second level support is outstanding. After I decided to replace it and all was worked out with Sprint – they sent it to me next day air and it arrived yesterday afternoon. This morning I drove down to Staunton, to deliver it to him. He was appreciative and promised to keep in touch with me. <grin> We’ll see if that happens! They keep the kids going from 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM most days.
As I drove home, I listened to the tale of Wolfen from CPE’s Theatre of the Imagination. I picked it because I had made a note on the tape that it was about courage and after the last few weeks, I have been feeling far from my center. With deep gratitude, I listened to her teaching tale about new potential and the need for death and allowing of entropy. The part that really pierced my heart, was the grave that the knight created for his faithful and loyal dog and his ritual practice of asking for forgiveness. He didn’t run around saying – “Oh, I am such a loser, I am such an idiot, I am a failure.” He buried the dog, created a cairn, and everyday prayed and asked for forgiveness.
If you are familiar with the Jungian practice of dreamwork and mythwork, all the parts of the dream or the story are parts of our psyche. When the knight accidentally kills of Wolfen, he could have become bitter and beat himself up, but instead, he chose to practice forgiveness. As I mused on this and its message for me and how hard I am on myself about my failures, I noticed that the Liskey’s had corn.
I pulled off the highway and felt such sweet pleasure at this simple ritual of buying corn. The family greets everyone as if we are family or dear friends. As I was selecting my two dozen, I eavesdropped with pleasure – hearing plans for the corn – I am going to can – I am going to freeze – I am taking some to a picnic. I couldn’t help smiling. Just then, John dumped a 50# bag of corn on top of the pile. We smiled at one another and he said this is paradise isn’t it? I smiled back and felt that all was right with the world. Simple kindness and some summer corn and I felt happy and grateful.
In this mood, I pulled into my favorite service station to get diesel. As I walked to the door, I noticed a young farmer holding the door for me. He was several yards in front of me, so he had to stand there for a minute waiting for me to cross the parking lot. I smiled and told him thank you and he looked me right in the eyes and said you are very welcome and tipped his hat to me. How easy it would have been for him to slip in and slip out. Instead, he seemed to have all the time in the world as he held the door for me. In my teens and twenties, I might have felt angry and thought “I am quite capable of opening the door myself!” Today however, it felt sweet and tender – just like the two dozen ears of fresh corn in my car.
The bees seem to already be at work making honey in my heart and for that I feel deep gratitude.
This version is slightly different than the one that Clarissa Pinkola Estes tells – but it captures the main ideas and can be found on project Gutenberg
THE STORY OF GELERT.
(AS CURRENT IN ANGLESEA)
It was somewhere about 1200, Prince Llewellyn had a castle at Aber, just abreast of us here; indeed, parts of the towers remain to this day. His consort was the Princess Joan; she was King John’s daughter. Her coffin remains with us to this day. Llewellyn was a great hunter of wolves and foxes, for the hills of Carnarvonshire were infested with wolves in those days, after the young lambs.
Now the prince had several hunting-houses–sorts of farm houses, one of them was at the place now called Beth-Gelert, for the wolves were very thick there at this time. Now the prince used to travel from farm-house to farm-house with his family and friends, when going on these hunting parties.
One season they went hunting from Aber, and stopped at the house where Beth-Gelert is now–it’s about fourteen miles away. The prince had all his hounds with him, but his favourite was Gelert, a hound who had never let off a wolf for six years.
The prince loved the dog like a child, and at the sound of his horn Gelert was always the first to come bounding up. There was company at the house, and one day they went hunting, leaving his wife and the child, in a big wooden cradle, behind him at the farm-house.
The hunting party killed three or four wolves, and about two hours before the word passed for returning home, Llewellyn missed Gelert, and he asked his huntsmen:
“Where’s Gelert? I don’t see him.”
“Well, indeed, master, I’ve missed him this half-hour.”
And Llewellyn blew his horn, but no Gelert came at the sound.
Indeed, Gelert had got on to a wolves’ track which led to the house.
The prince sounded the return, and they went home, the prince lamenting Gelert. “He’s sure to have been slain–he’s sure to have been slain! since he did not answer the horn. Oh, y Gelert!” And they approached the house, and the prince went into the house, and saw Gelert lying by the overturned cradle, and blood all about the room.
“What! hast thou slain my child?” said the prince, and ran his sword through the dog.
After that he lifted up the cradle to look for his child, and found the body of a big wolf underneath that Gelert had slain, and his child was safe. Gelert had capsized the cradle in the scuffle.
“Oh, Gelert! Oh, Gelert!” said the prince, “my favourite hound, my favourite hound! Thou hast been slain by thy master’s hand, and in death thou hast licked thy master’s hand!” He patted the dog, but it was too late, and poor Gelert died licking his master’s hand.
Next day they made a coffin, and had a regular funeral, the same as if it were a human being; all the servants in deep mourning, and everybody. They made him a grave, and the village was called after the dog, Beth-Gelert–Gelert’s Grave; and the prince planted a tree, and put a gravestone of slate, though it was before the days of quarries. And they are to be seen to this day.