Hitching a ride, trusting a partner, marrying the same person three times
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Derrick Jensen’s interview with Jim Nollman [“When Nature Speaks,” January 1997] struck a chord with me, as I have long considered myself a garden-variety Dr. Doolittle. Reading the interview, I was reminded of a curious fact: that, when slowed down, bird song sounds like whale song. I wonder what a whale would make of a slowed mockingbird. Is it possible that most living creatures have similar languages but communicate at different speeds? Perhaps we could understand our fellow creatures better if we knew at what tempo they hear the universe.
I enjoyed the interview with Jim Nollman, especially the reference to Frank Robson, who communicated telepathically with dolphins. I believe this ability is not a unique gift, but can be developed by any of us disciplined enough to quiet the inner static, center ourselves, and focus our intent. Communication is possible not only with animals, but with plants as well. Perhaps if we acknowledged the intelligent nature of all the beings surrounding us, we would behave more respectfully toward them.
For those desiring more information, I’ve found the following resources helpful: Pegasus Publications, P.O. Box 1060, Point Reyes, CA 94956; and Perelandra Center for Nature Research, P.O. Box 3603, Warrenton, VA 22186.
My heart goes out to Jane Bernstein [“On Regret,” December 1996]. I certainly know what she’s going through. Our son, George, had open-heart surgery when he was not yet five. The surgeon botched the operation, causing George to have a massive stroke.
Our son is eleven now, and we’ve been through many hells. Luckily, he can walk and talk, but it seems likely he will need us to care for him as long as we are able. (I’m forty-eight and trying to stay in good health.) Do we have time to finish a sentence? Not for a while now. We’ve learned to abbreviate.
Poe Ballantine’s “Last Day at Lemon Acres” [December 1996] touches on an important medical issue. Although the use of psychedelic drugs has proven to be helpful to terminal patients in a number of well-documented studies, almost all further research and therapy has been prevented by the War on Drugs. It’s a Catch-22: applications for further research are denied on the grounds that there is not enough research to justify approving them.
Several scientists have even speculated that regular, small dosages of psychedelics may enhance cognitive functioning in Alzheimer’s patients. When my father was almost entirely lost to us due to his progressive dementia, I was tempted to try this strategy on the outside chance that I could spark some reemergence of his old self. After agonizing over the pros and cons, I finally abandoned the idea. I will forever wonder whether I made the right decision.
I’ve been a subscriber for a while now. In the past, I always sat down and read The Sun cover to cover, and even mailed pages to my friends. I haven’t done that for a long time. Each month, I wonder whether I am going to have to avoid Sparrow and Antler. Each month, I wonder if there will be anything of interest for me — a sixty-one-year-old, happily married, white, straight mother. My choices are decreasing with each issue as you become more and more unrelentingly negative, male, and seedy.
The November 1996 issue of The Sun was one of the best I’ve read. Halfway through David Guy’s “Everything I Ever Wanted: Reflections on Sex at Midlife,” I decided to send a copy to the man to whom I was once engaged. A few paragraphs later, I also wanted to give a copy to the woman I’ve been in a relationship with for two years. It is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to share with them both.
I totally agree with Sy Safransky [“My New Car,” November 1996]: if you do something fancy to your old car (like any repair that costs more than $150), you can expect a breakdown. It’s like a curse. It reminds me of when, early in the day, my wife promises me a hot night in bed. None that night!
More than ever, my eighteen-year-old daughter is beginning to wake up to the world beyond clothes and boys and television and the twisted lessons of public school. She’s reading and thinking and, in her own time, growing into a beautiful human being. I am careful to respect the pace of her unfolding and not to sit her down and tell her what to think. But I have subtly placed issues of The Sun where she will find them. I rejoice when she shoves an article at me and says, “Mom, have you read this? This is cool. Read it. I want to talk with you about it.”
Thank you for helping with my daughter’s continuing education.