June 25, 2008 · Updated 12:36 PM
"Disappearing deck becomes a meditative experience For most of the summer and into the fall, I've been worried about my disappearing deck--large chunks have vanished, wide crevices opened up. It has become a sad sight. I remember clearly when it was being built, how strong and masculine it looked; how supportive and attractive it appeared next to my feminine house. I hired a really nice young man, Bob, who needed work, to build it. He told me he'd built lots of decks. I wasn't sure he was telling the truth, but I didn't want to hire an impersonal, all-business contractor. Professional contractors won't usually share their feelings with you or listen to your problems. I wanted some one who would share personal stuff over a cup of coffee.I watched as a strong, straight-as-an-arrow deck began to emerge from the dust. I thought things were going fine and then, about half-way through, over a cup of coffee, Bob admitted he was having a few problems. He said he wasn't sure how to deal with the large septic tank he had to build over or if he needed to pour cement for the uprights.I realized then I may have made a mistake; perhaps I should have gone with the less communicative professional, After all, one doesn't go to the internist to have him/her say to you while thumping on your stomach, I'm not really sure about all this stuff. I must have missed the class in medical school. I called one of my sons, the one who is a frustrated contractor and loves giving advice. He came over, stood around for a while staring at my unfinished deck, drank coffee with Bob and, I assume, offered advice. After he left, over more coffee, Bob said he thought he could continue and finish the job, but I was left with 20 years of doubts about my deck. Last summer while I enjoyed the good weather, reading, napping, having a meal on my deck, I watched in shock as items such as pens, knives, forks, small screwdrivers, dog leashes, disappeared through what appeared to be chewed-on cracks between the boards. It looked like an army of squirrels, mice and large insects had decided the shortest way to get anywhere was through my deck.I had to crawl under it to retrieve all the objects literally falling through the cracks. It was not a pleasurable experience; in fact, it would completely destroy my sweet disposition for at least two days. In desperation, I tried doing healing meditations for my vanishing deck. They didn't help. I looked in a number of books but couldn't find meditations for any kind of healing of household projects, not even jammed garbage disposals, dysfunctional toilets, or leaking roofs. I asked friends, more knowledgeable in the spiritual field than I, if they knew of any. No one did. The meditative winds evidently don't care about things like disappearing decks. As it came time this fall to put away outside furniture, I decided I wanted to move my wicker rocker inside the house. I'd had many pleasant rockings in it. It was not heavy but turned out to be larger than I thought. It took considerable wrestling to get it into the house, Then I realized there was no room for it in the living room; it would have to go upstairs to the room with the computer and all my other extra stuff.It took several meditations before I was ready to man-handle it up the stairs. I accomplished my mission only to find it wouldn't fit through the door of the room it was supposed to go in. I sat down and waited for a message on how to fit it through the door. No messages arrived. Back down the stairs it went and out onto my evaporating deck. It was at least a week before I was able to tell it I was sorry and wrap a sheet of plastic over it. I'm thinking now about next summer. Since my vanishing deck is masculine, perhaps I should seek out the spiritual healing endeavors of males. I could ask Robert Bly to come by to do some chanting and recite a few verses. If any Hmong tribesmen get to Seattle, I could ask them to come do a ceremonial dance. If that fails, I could invite a few taiko drummers to come and drive away whatever is munching on my deck.It may not be a rich spiritual experience, but I'm not giving it up. Remember to vote on Tuesday. I'll say nothing more on the subject, we've all been sufficiently bombarded. However, I've wondered for some time about the quietness and stiffness of our Washington, D.C. Congress. Could they have all peacefully passed away like John Quincy Adams on the floor of Congress? Except, of course, for Strom Thurmond who is immortal and a close friend of Adams. Would we be better off voting for the honorable, experience-proven deceased? At least they wouldn't be taking PAC money. "