Sarah Simpson

Sarah Simpson Column: A shift in perspective can change everything

What she saw as a strength I saw as a weakness

I woke Monday night to the cat chewing on the carpet. Again. I’d fallen asleep with the kids during reading time — we are reading the Mysterious Benedict Society and the Riddle of Ages. The whole series is so good but having my husband read them aloud to us makes them 100 times better.

Anyway, I’d fallen asleep with the kids but I had already hopped out of bed and was standing in the hallway staring at the naughty cat when my husband arrived upstairs to also deal with the cat.

“You can’t leave us unsupervised,” he said.

I knew what the cat had been up to but wondered what my husband had been up to. Why can’t I leave him unattended? He’s a grown up for goodness sake.

He didn’t waste time making me guess. It turns out he’d gone and got himself named to a community organization’s executive committee — a role neither of us are sure he has actually got the time for.

After giving him an exasperated look, he quickly grabbed the Mr. Brat Cat and went back downstairs. Perhaps just to avoid any further conversation about his new venture. It’s all in good fun. He knows I’ll support him (most of the time anyway).

Instead of following the man and the cat downstairs, I donned my PJs, bushed my teeth and climbed back into my bed. I was tired.

That night, a storm was rolling across Vancouver Island and lying there I listened as the wind tore through the neighbourhood, rattling the windows and making the small trees outside the house bang against it. It was really howling out there. I’m actually surprised we didn’t lose power, though I know a lot of homes in the Valley did.

The wind reminded me of when I was a kid.

I grew up in a flat area so when it was windy, there was little to no relief. The house I grew up in had a view of a stand of about six giant trees in the yard of the neighbour behind our house.

(As an aside, the back of our shed and the back of the shed on the other side of the fence, in amongst the trees, made for a favourable dumping ground for apple cores and peach pits and the like. We’d eat whatever we had then chuck the remainder over the fence… so I’m sorry to my neighbours for any inconvenience and/or rodent issues that may have occurred over the years of my youth. I blame my sister mostly though. She ate more fruit than me as a child.)

Anyway, in that house, when the wind would howl at night, I would lie in my bed watching the branches, or their shadows, flail about as if they were big many-fingered monster hands taunting and waving at me, and I would genuinely worry that one of those giant trees was going to fall right onto the house and come through the roof.

I wondered if it would hit my room, or my sister’s room — because our rooms were at the back of the house and closest to the trees — or, if in a stroke of luck, it would split the two and land in the bathroom in between. Truth be told, we all would have been in trouble either way.

It really troubled me and there were times I’d go to my mom looking for relief from that burden of worry.

“It’s been there 100 years, it’s NOT going to fall down,” my mom would declare in an attempt to comfort me.

“It’s been there 100 years, and that’s WHY it’s going to fall down!” I’d always reply.

What she saw as a strength I saw as a weakness.

It’s all about perspective.

Quite a number of decades later, the trees have weathered storm after storm and are still standing tall. In fact, they now house some rather noisy eagles.

Again, some perspective is required for this: the eagles make quite a racket and often leave feathers and the remains of their various meals in my mom’s backyard. Not cool. But, to have a front row seat to a small family of giant wild raptors is super cool, especially if you’re keen on watching birds like my family tends to be.

The good with the bad, I suppose. It’s all about perspective.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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ColumnistComedy and Humour