My friend told me the Buddha said, ‘life can change like the flick of a horse’s tail.’ That rested well over here, where nothing seems the same anymore. Like a moon disappeared from orbit, offsetting your planet’s rotation, or an element such as the wind ceased to blow. So then, with the flick of a horse’s tail, what you thought was your world is changed. Lopsided orbit, no pollination due to no wind. Bees. Or rats. We had rats in the wall this Winter, never happened before. The hard scratching became crazy-making but the exterminators were busy and I felt bold. I picked up a Rat Zapper ($57 at hardware) lured by its “never have to touch another rodent” ad on the package. I didn’t remember touching any really, but the promise of not one more seemed really good too. I caught three over a two month period, then left the thing outside and it got rained on. They sent me a new one for free but by then the last visitor had vacated due to warmer temperatures.
Todd left a memoir, its called “Rats in My Skull”. It’s a good read, hard to put down and I hope it can be published someday. The same friend who mentioned the ‘horse’s tail’ recounted seeing Todd for a weekend a few years ago and that the buzzing in his head, the scrambling scratching in the walls, it must have been exhausting. That after so many years of that, who wouldn’t want some relief. Somehow that brought comfort as well. I do know the feeling, the racing thoughts that never seem to stop. Exercise, meditation, medication, love, mostly love can certainly help. But combine it up with real physical pain, ambivalence about your purpose in life, and you may need more than one Rat Zapper.
I think this photo is of my dad as a boy. I just noticed how the pony changes color half way through. Its like you think you’re riding a dark horse but everyone else thinks its light. Todd always thought my horse was brighter than I did. It felt good to be reminded regularly that your horse was gleaming and heroic, even while you, looking forward saw a darkened blur.