Thoughts on a snowy October evening

It’s October but outside it’s like deepest January. This beautiful doe showed up at the Hardscrabble Times world headquarters this evening just as I was signing out from an afternoon of work on a technical editing job. I actually took the photo through the window.


Dr.Phil Maffetone has weighed in on the flu vaccine and the debate over the H1N1 “swine flu.”

Since finishing “The Horse Boy” the other day hardly an hour has passed that I have not thought about the book, the story and autism. Of course I’m reminded of autism all the time since my son

Harrison is an “autist,” a word I picked up from the book.

Harrison goes to the Custer County Kid’s Club after Kindergarten some afternoons. Yesterday when I went to bring him home I had extreme difficulty getting him into the car, seated and buckled up. I’ll spare you the details but just know that there was no reasoning with him and this ended up being a 25-minute ordeal. At one point I was so frustrated I actually considered sitting down in the snow in the parking lot to cry. And I’m not overly prone to shedding tears.

There is a certain obsessive-compulsive component that goes along with Harrison’s autism. For instance, when leaving for school in the morning, he has to stand against the refrigerator and see the headlights through the front door window when I start the car. Then, he has to run to the car, get in the front seat and “steer” the wheel four times. Not three times and not five, but four. Then he will usually get in the back seat and we can drive to school.

Then there’s the blender. We make smoothies often, starting the Vita-Mix on low, then dialing it up, and finally hitting the high switch for a few seconds to crack the flax seeds. This is simple enough except we need to consider Harrison’s sense of order. He must be in the room when we turn it on. Sometimes he will turn it on for us. Then he runs to the bathroom and closes the door as we dial it up and turn it to high. Once there, he runs out and turns it off, first switching off the high switch, then dialing the speed down, and then finally turning the machine off.

Any deviation from this order and a tantrum is certain. For instance, the other morning he was in the bathroom when I started the blender. Bad idea. If you don’t allow him to turn it off himself all hell can break loose. If you didn’t add flax seeds and don’t need to switch it to high, you better switch it to high anyway or there will be trouble.

Yet even with all these strange challenges, there are moments that are truly amazing. This evening he pulled a book — one that we don’t often read to him —out of the bookshelf, and started reading it out loud. Had he memorized this book word and verse or was he actually reading it? I believe the latter, but either is remarkable.

According to several sources, Ted Andrews, author of “Animal Speak,” the most comprehensive book of animal totems, died this week at the age of 57. This book has been an amazing source of spirituality to me and I actually learned of Andrew’s death after looking up deer tonight in “Animal Speak.” His words on deer say it all: “When deer show up there is an opportunity to express gentle love that will open doors to adventure for you.”

One thought on “Thoughts on a snowy October evening

  1. I enjoyed your “deer/Harrison” story, especially your last sentence. Parents weep many times for lots of reasons. I can recall a few such occasions, but there are (for sure) new doors and adventures to look forward to. Keep those deers/dears showing up. Love, Mom

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