I SUPPOSE I KNEW THE LECTURE WAS COMING...

…”Stress kills,” said Doctor Beth. She explained the biology, the physiology and the pathology of it. It would be up to me, she explained, to do something about it. I needed a break to relax. If I was in doubt, she went on, a nap was in order.

I’d had a tough winter and too many things on my plate the following spring. I knew I was burning the candle at both ends–and–in the middle.

I must have rolled my eyes in denial as I was leaving her office.

“Do you need permission to take a break?” she asked, already knowing the answer, “well, here it is.”

Grabbing a pad of blank prescriptions, she scribbled on one and handed it to me–it said:

“Lie on the grass and look up at the sky and trees–3X per week, 1/2 hour each.” On the bottom of the form, in the spot where it says “refill(s), she made a small infinity sign.

OK, how hard can it be?

On the inaugural of my stress-relief program, I hopped on my ATV and headed for our canyon. Meadow Larks were claiming territory around me and a gentle, high desert breeze filled my nose with the smell of sun-warmed sage and juniper. I found a comfortable spot on the ground, stretched out.

And nodded off to sleep.

Feeling better as I slowly awakened, the first thing I noticed was the Meadow Larks were no longer singing. Then I felt a brief, slight chill of what seemed like the sun going behind a cloud. It happened again…and again.

Opening my eyes, I saw three buzzards circling directly overhead, like planes stacking up ready to land at an airport. To them I must have looked like the carcass du jour. Surprised, I’d never thought of myself as the main course in a buzzard banquet.

Despite what I looked like on the ground, I decided to teach them a lesson…that I’m not prey!

 Still lying on the ground and watching through slitted eyes, I planned on luring them nearby and–suddenly–leaping up, waving my arms and hollering. It seemed a fair exchange for my interrupted harmony and serenity session.

Mother Nature and many, many years of evolution have taught buzzards to keep their eyes open for signs of breathing. Think about it from their point of view–food that doesn’t breathe can’t eat the buzzard. That’s how they stay alive.

The buzzards and I had a waiting game going. They were going to circle until I expired and I had no plans for expiration. This wasn’t helping my stress levels, so I jumped up and watched them glide gracefully out of the canyon.

About a week later, I spotted Doctor Beth in town and told her the story about being buzzard bait. She laughed until her eyes watered. I wasn’t sure what I expected from her–an adjustment on the relaxation program, or perhaps, just sympathy.

She gave neither.

“It doesn’t matter where you relax, but you’ll get more out of it if you look less like a carcass in a canyon, let me know how it goes.”

“OK,” I said, meekly.

Sleep well, folks, and try not to look like a carcass in a canyon.

Hugging a Dog Paperback – 1

This is just one story from my book ‘Hugging a Dog.’ If you’d like to read more or share with your loved ones, it is available in these bookstores. Click the links for access. 

 

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