During my college years, my classmates and I were continually encouraged to “Think outside the Box.”
This and “Synergy” hid in the suitcase of my degree, refusing to return to my lecture halls, preferring instead to raise their massive heads throughout my life.
During my many hours of window gazing this week, I watched a tractor and slurry tanker stop, a field from my home. Pulling up on the side of the road the farmer turned on a large nozzle at the back of the tanker and proceeded to move slowly along the road, spreading slurry over a low ditch, into the field.
His thinking meant, the large tractor wheels and the weight of the tanker didn’t need to haul themselves across sodden grass, instead he successfully spread slurry from the safety of a tarmac road, saving his field from destruction, while reducing the amount of slurry in his farm yard tank.
Since Christmas, our Island has been battered by storm after storm, the latest being Storm Darwin – it occurred on the birthday of Charles Darwin – and these endless torrents of rain have caused extensive flooding, both to homes and land. Farmers fields are beyond saturated, while, in their farm yards, animal waste has been building up in slurry tanks. Some farmers worry daily their tanks will overflow but their land has been too wet to travel across, so farmers have had work within their limitations and think outside that box, just as this farmer did.
It’s not always easy to do this, it requires turning the problem on its head, looking at it through a mirror, backwards, while standing on your hands.
I’ve spent a lot of my time in this bizarre yoga pose since the arrival of my friend, myalgic encephalomyelitis and many hours learning what I can and can’t do. I’ve had to accept my limitations, twist them about, live with them. And most importantly, I’ve had to accept some people will never understand my illness.
Those in my inner circle are experts on all things ME/CFS, but there will always be a few on the outer layer who, no matter what I say, will make their own minds up about my illness, my limitations, my acceptance. They will judge me, pass remarks such as “are you still a bit tired,” following up with how tired they are with work etc. reminding me everyone gets tired, as if ME/CFS is the same as the tiredness one feels at the end of a long day! And there will always be the comments “I thought you’d be better by now”, some people becoming medics overnight.
I used to rattle inside when such people showed up with these unhelpful comments but now, having tried and failed to educate them, I smile and walk away, leaving them talking in a field.
Apprentice (From Observant Observings)
Three cow lengths wide and ninety long
With udders full of summers song
I walked with you, stick in hand
Mine trailing dust and licking pats
Yours coaxing traffic, white and black
Your voice was strong, a single yup
Mine couldn’t learn quite brisk enough.