Forest Creatures

Only vague scenes from my dream remain. In one, I am attempting to sweep up balls of lint from the carpeted floor of the community hall of my church, but the broom leaves most of the stuff on the floor, no matter how much I sweep. This frustrates me because an event is scheduled to take place in the room and the floor is covered with lint balls. Another scene involves people from church, but it takes place about half-way down a steep water-slide. A woman is a few feet in front of me and another one is a few feet behind me. We’re all sliding down quite fast and I am concerned that, when we reach the bottom, I will crush the one in front of me and I will be crushed by the one behind me. There’s more to the memory, but it is so smoky I cannot quite understand it. There is absolutely no “meaning” to the dreams scenes, I am sure; they are just random collections of nerve synapses responding to random triggers.


We finally began watching The Crown a couple of nights ago. I was skeptical, unsure the story could capture my attention. After two episodes, I was convinced I will appreciate the series. It will keep us occupied on chilly nights. When we’re not watching The Crown, I might sneak in some viewing of Inside Man. Or some of the other programs I’ve sampled of late: The Trial; Loving Adults; The Lørenskog Disappearance; Good Morning, Verônica; Into the Night. There are more, I’m sure. I seem to relay on a 65-inch screen for the majority of my entertainment, these days.


If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships – the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace.

~ Franklin D. Roosevelt ~


At what point does the potential danger posed by someone’s mental disorder override that person’s right to enjoy the same freedoms as everyone else? Individual freedoms notwithstanding, when does that individual’s behaviors become sufficiently disruptive to merit labeling her unwelcome—persona non grata? Dealing with behavioral expressions of mental illness tests the degrees to which individuals’ and organizations’ are tolerant of behaviors that do not conform to subjective standards. In most environments, troublesome “abnormal” behaviors are relative rare and, therefore, addressing them may be awkward or embarrassing. And because such behaviors may be relatively unknown in a given situation, responses to them might tend to mimic responses to other unknowns: fear. The fight or flight response prompted by fear may be precisely the wrong way to address abnormal behaviors associated with mental illness. Yet condescension, a fairly common paternal response to “bad behavior” is unlikely to be any better. For example, an adult suffering from mental illness may understandably be offended if she is treated as if she has not developed beyond childhood. Respect can go a long way toward making difficult experiences more tolerable. Like so many other situations, the “right” way to deal with troublesome behaviors depends on the circumstances. Context matters.

I can only imagine how teachers, faced with a classroom full of kids of all shapes and sizes, have to dance on the head of a needle when delivering “custom” education to an exceptionally diverse student body. How does a teacher tailor his responses to a range of kids, from intellectually advanced to emotionally stunted? A student suffering from a mental disorder may need special attention, but providing that special attention may distract the teacher from paying adequate attention to other kids in a classroom. I can empathize, but I would be unwilling (and unable) to trade places.


The pain I feel all along my right clavicle is sufficiently intrusive that I began to think I somehow may have cracked one or more bones. Unhappy joints could be responsible, I suppose. Google gives me reason to think my pain is not a broken clavicle, though. A broken or cracked clavicle, according to Johns Hopkins’ online resources, probably would be more painful and might even be visible. Though my pain can be pretty severe, it is not as intense as Johns Hopkins describes collar bone breaks. Pain can arise from causes other than major bone breaks: osteomyelitis (bone infection); compressed nerves; joint dislocation; distal clavicular osteolysis (cracks or breaks at the end of the bone). It just gets more complex from there, suggesting to me that self-diagnosis is definitely not the way to go.


A brief interruption to join mi novia in watching two deer wander close to the house, enjoying a meal of grass. I like living in the forest, isolated except for the forest creatures and lots and lots of leaves.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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