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On her way with me to fetch her little sister, The Grand Other, from after school care, The Grand Otter confided the underlying concern she'd held when agreeing to spend time with The Muse and I. Her perspective tends to shift around us, and some of the more upsetting elements of her life come into sharper focus when we're around. I have no idea why this might happen, but I could not successfully argue against this being her experience. We each hold the ability to go unconscious to frequent annoyances, and any change can bring these back into disturbing focus again.

The fundamental difficulty with any form of enlightenment seems to hover around the issue of coping. Any Jehu can stare into the eye of God, but not everyone can avoid blinding themselves with the experience. Mindfulness might bring any number of blinding revelations, none of which improve perception, absent some barely-describable ability to discern while experiencing. Full immersion too easily produces drowning sensations.

Meaning lives at a distinctly different address than does sensation, and making meaning often involves much messy wrangling with the least malleable entity around, one's self. Seeing provides input to a resulting story which must be written and repeated, then rewritten perhaps several times to make much sense. The first iteration might more easily blunt deeper meaning than enhance it, and might well prove nearly impossible to change. Once burned, many times wary. The more scandalous the initial story, the more difficult it can prove to shift it into some more satisfying form.

I asked The Otter what she wanted me to do, and she responded that her difficulty wasn't mine to fix. I emphasized that The Muse and I would act without reservation to keep her safe, and she acknowledged this while wrestling with her demon. Much as I'd like to possess whatever superpower might resolve her wrestle, I acknowledge my own powerlessness to contribute much. Her little sister can still be easily mollified by the straightforward application of anything intended to spoil her supper, rainbow sherbet satisfying this day. The Otter's snakes cannot be so easily chased off.

I know The Otter has grown up considerably since The Muse and I could reasonably fulfill the role of grand protectors. She's still plenty vulnerable and we seem no less resourceful, but the demons have changed. Her sister sees the world in simple dichotomies, rainbow sherbet or pistachio, either selection might prove satisfying. The Grand Otter with her situationally shifted perspective, perceives greater complications, the implications of which leave her with distinctly unfair-seeming choices—damned whatever she chooses—and she must mostly make her own choices now. I can certainly support her as she sifts through her choices. The Muse has proven herself a master at proliferating choices beyond the initially unsatisfying two, but the sifting and the choosing belong to The Otter now, whatever the implications.

I should be celebrating. That once gawky kid has now graduated into an adult world populated with disturbing revelations and unsettling choices. Some seem able to extend their adolescence well into physical middle age. The more fortunate ones step into successive stages, leaving childish simplicities behind them, wrestling at seemingly still innocent ages with the snakes intended for grown-ups. How else could anyone ever grow up?

©2016 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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