2010–2023 Writings
by Michelle Margaret Fajkus

How to Be at Home

Written in


“Pondering issues, triggers, and inner logistics”
Advice to self, love to self, self as other
“You have time and not much else to do”
But is that true?
I do have time but also lots to do: sentences to edit; articles to write; books to read; daughter to raise up; friends and family to quietly love
“Watch all the credits; remember how many people come together just to make a story or a picture”
You can’t go dancing, but that’s OK with me; I only dance at home anyway
This poignant piece of poetic 2020 beauty (video below) may resonate more with city folk
And I am not of the city; I am a forest lake yogi editor hermit, these past 7 months at least
An expert at staying home, and from home I gaze upon volcanoes and blue and green nature shimmering, shifting, just being
But it contains are many words and phrases that resonate with my own heart
“Death is a truth we all hate to know. We all get to live, then we all have to go.”

Death came to visit two weeks ago
Our dear fur friend Lola had to go
It seemed to soon; she was only six

But she lived a fierce and full life of unstoppable loyal canine power, an abandoned street dog in Antigua turned star of the shores and public boats of Lake Atitlan. Her long shiny hair would wave in the breeze, her tail like a flag. Her head tilted as if posing for the perfect foto. Lola once went day-tripping to San Pedro on her own.

She made friends with anyone who gave her a pet or a kind word; she knew no boundaries and although she was not a small dog, would go ahead and try and climb in your lap. She was gifted with ear scratches and fried chicken and guest beds. This damn dog even got me a job and us a housesitting gig. I can actually say I am a professional translator thanks to Lola. She made friends with our neighbor on the hillside before we did; a neighbor with a translation company and a generous heart and a love for this wild yet tame dog, Lolita.

But her heart was too big; the x-rays showed it enlarged. What happened? Why? What was the cause? It will always be a mystery but within a few days, Lola’s labored breathing and disorientation ended in her collapse and end. We buried her on our property, a grave with a view, we buried our dear friend on the day she died, in the rain. Thank you Lola for everything.

“In our era, it is not enough to be tolerant. You tolerate mosquitoes in the summer, a rattle in an engine, the gray slush that collects at the crosswalk in winter. You tolerate what you would rather not have to deal with and wish would go away. It is no honor to be tolerated. Every spiritual tradition says love your neighbor as yourself, not tolerate them.” ~Isabel Wilkerson

Take that, teaching “tolerance.” I have lived outside the US for so long, I feel I barely have the right to say anything. But even though I’ve opted out, I was born and raised in that nuthouse for my first 29 years, and I can see more clearly with each passing era the bankruptcy of the culture. The purposeful polarization.

Neoliberal patriarchal white supremacist capitalism is the tie that binds, a tie of thick steel that needs to but cut, but how? We tolerate the system, most of us, because we know no other way. We tolerate Trump with all his humiliating and gory orange wrath and lies, and we tolerate the two-party political system that prevents real change from being effected.

I tolerate scorpions hanging in spiderwebs; our au natural Halloween decorations. I even tolerated a scorpion stinging me in bed the other night. (My fourth one in more than eight years.) The least painful of them all, though still potent enough to make my lips and tongue tingle. Throbbing at the point on my calf where she got me. And yet I finally did fall back to sleep.

I tolerate the bellowing cries of the neighbor’s dogs when she locks them inside for too long. I tolerate the sounds of passing mototaxis and trucks, although I’d prefer to be even more isolated, in a place where no cars can reach. A warm and sunny land where everyone walks or rides a bicycle.

I tolerate the aches and pains of life, because you have to, don’t you, and they are always there in some form or another. But the author of the quote above is so right, isn’t she?

“Tolerating” other people, with skin colors and classes and castes and religions and statuses different from our own just isn’t sufficient.

We have to transcend mere toleration and move into genuine appreciation. Genuine gratitude. Look at the rainbow spectrum of all the people. However different we may look—the tall and short, thick and thin, dark and fair, open and closed—we all have hearts and mothers and fear death and want love.

We have to do more than tolerate, more than accept. We have to love, respect, care, give, serve.

We have to transcend and remember our ever present, since always and until forever interconnection.

Photo by Breston Kenya on Pexels.com


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