Combining Life and Work at the Center for Sustainable Medicine, Part 2

When I tell people that I have moved into my former office and created a home-office type situation, a lot of them look a bit sorry for me, and many of them ask “Why?” as if they can’t think of a single reason why I might do that. I elaborated on many reasons in my last posting on the subject, but now that I have tried it out for two months, I am realizing that consolidating my life by moving into my clinic has turned out to be one of the best moves I have made. Not only does it simplify things for me in a multitude of ways, but I now get to live in the village, something I have wanted all my life.

Tonight I was at a co-counseling meeting. One of my neighbors was there, and, knowing that I lived right next to the village green, he suggested that we take our dogs for a late night dog walk and continue the counseling session. It was nice and quiet and we sat in the gazebo while our two dogs raced around madly. “Doggie Discharge Session.” I call it—as the two dogs run and growl and bark and wrestle, discharging all that they have been holding in during the day while behaving according to human social rules. Humans need to do something similar to that to stay healthy and happy, but we don’t often get the chance. In co-counseling, people do a lot of laughing and crying and hugging and sometimes even wrestling to let out all the stuff we’ve been holding in while trying to behave according to social rules.

When I walked back to the house at 10 p.m.,  I remembered that I needed to close in my chickens on their first night out of the new henhouse. Unfortunately the wind had blown the door closed, leaving them stuck outside. I found them perched up in a crabapple tree. They looked pretty comfortable, but I decided they’d be safer inside for the night. So I put a chair under the tree and caught one, then another, then a third, who let out a huge series of squawks. The rooster, however, didn’t want to be caught, and kept moving farther away from me.

Suddenly a voice very close to me in the dark but on the other side of the tree said, “Didi? Is that you?”

“Yes.” I said “Who is that?”

“It’s Ted. Is everything alright?”

“Yes, I’m just trying to catch a rooster.”

“I heard the noise and thought a cat was being killed.”

I apologized for the ruckus and told him I appreciated him looking out for us.

As I walked inside I thought how much I truly appreciated the whole scene. The fact that I can have a rooster right in town. The fact that my neighbor felt comfortable walking right over to my house in the dark. The fact that my neighbor knows my name. The calm but concerned way he said my name (unlike the way someone would say it at 10 pm in the dark in the city, if they even ventured out). The way he and others offered to help me move in.

As I was feeling gratitude for all these things, I looked down and noticed a shopping bag full of potatoes on the handicapped ramp, no note, just a bag of potatoes.

That bag of potatoes could be from any number of people. My guess is it’s from my neighbor’s Lorraine’s daughter and granddaughter who both got free acupuncture from me earlier in the evening. But it could also be from Jack, the little boy who lives one house down, who has been selling vegetables under a beach umbrella all summer. It could be from Tom who brings me milk. It could be from Boots who barters weeding my perennial beds for acupuncture. If I didn’t live in the village, though, it would be highly unlikely that any of these people would drive the five miles to drop them on the porch of my hill retreat, which is now rented out to the new English teacher at the high school.

Living in town gives me a constant ebb and flow of easy contacts. No appointments necessary to simply drop in and say hi and see how someone is doing. Far more sustainable for me, and my children (and Phoebe the dog, who has friends up and down the street.)

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