Went out again with a good torch last night and looked for leopard toads, an endangered amphibian locally. They are yellow as neon and have chocolate markings so I can spot them quite easily and monitor their whereabouts. Each year I am afraid there might be none left, but Iwon’t know if numbers have decreased until the end of August. There are gorgeous little green and black tree frogs all over the place and blacksmith plovers all along the edge of the field.
Went to a shopping mall this morning with a newly sober friend. We had coffee and talked recovery; then she shopped while I read a David Mitchell novel. I don’t like shopping, don’t window shop and only buy things if I have to. Many of my sweaters and shirts are neatly darned or repaired by my seamstress neighbour and have been with me for more than 15 years. ‘What are you thinking about?’ said my friend as she came back with armfuls of shopping bags and saw me gazing across the mall while disregarding the muzak from the Spice Girls
‘Leopard toads,’ I said sorrowfully. She looked at me as if I was crazy. But I care about all kinds of small threatened creatures and plants these days. My heart seems to have turned to mush. And there is no virtue in my dislike of shopping. I grew up on lonely African forest reserves and didn’t like monthly trips that involved going into crowded towns or cities and having to try on clothes in strange places and visit the dentist. Spending money seemed a waste of time when I could be out riding my bicycle or reading books or writing stories.
Came home and realised I should have bought torch batteries, rolled oats and loo paper. Went out into the garden with the puppies and picked leafy bunches of an aromatic new marjoram growing like crazy right in the depths of winter. Snow clouds coming over the flat-topped mountains to the north. In a little while I shall make a pot of vegetarian minestrone soup and throw in roughly chopped fresh marjoram.
In between the fiction, I have nbeen reading articles ( not online) about non-violent communication. My take on this is that non-violent communication works well when the participants are playing by the same rules and are willing to acknowledge their own stuff and unmet needs and covert agendas in a debate. It doesn’t work at all with abusve people who are only interested in winnning or intimidating the other. Reasoning with abusive people is like arguing with drunks, a waste of breath. Sometimes the protective use of force is needed and often it is better to just get away.