Monday, September 10, 2007

A Bit Of Inspiration

I love Starr Ann.

That's not her in the picture. I just like looking at that and, hey, there are no grownups around to tell me I can't.

Anyway, I love Starr Ann. You might think it'd be difficult being best friends with the most exasperating woman on the planet. It certainly is! But it's also thrilling, inspiring, wacky, and sometimes dangerous. Bottom line: If I had to notch down my life and spend it among so-called sensible folks, I'd surely die of mental and emotional starvation.

All that is enough to make me thank the goddess for putting Starr Ann in my life. But there's more. Starr Ann is my hero.

I can't tell you how many times I've stepped back and looked at that girl in amazement. Amazement at some incredibly brave, unthinking, heroic act of hers.

Here's an example:

One afternoon in the record-setting winter of 1994, Starr Ann and I spotted a lost German Shepherd dog wandering laplegged along a snow-covered road. Temperatures were in the low single digits. We followed that dog for over an hour, and each time we got close, she darted away, more scared of us than the cold or of being lost.
Her evasion becomes a pretty amazing feat when you realize what we found out later - this dog was completely blind.
Well, she finally made a mistake that nearly killed her and Starr Ann. Her random turns and bearings eventually led to two ponds. One was frozen hard all the way across. The other was spring-fed at one end, where the water's movement kept it slushy on top, but not frozen.
The dog hit the first pond and started falling and flopping all over the ice. Starr Ann ran to one side of the pond and I took the other. We just knew we had her cornered at last. When she came off of that ice, we'd grab her for sure.
Well, somehow, she got herself some footing and darted up over the bank well away from both our positions.
Next thing she did was pop up over the little hill that led to the pond with the soft spot in it. Starr Ann was closer to that hill than I was and as she disappeared over its crest, I had the clearest picture in my mind of finding Starr Ann in the water, in those frigid temperatures, along with the dog.
I ran for all I was worth, screaming and pleading with Starr Ann not to go out on that ice.
But my vision had been accurate. The dog had found the slush and fallen through. By the time I got to the bank nearest them, Starr Ann was in there, too, holding onto that dog like both their lives depended on it and flailing wildly at the slush.
Lucky for us all a woman and her daughter had seen us from their kitchen window about 200 yards from their ponds.
They got there at the same time I did and we quickly fished Starr Ann and the dog from the water. Starr Ann was in the first stages of shock and we had to pry her hands free from the dog's collar. We had to drag the two of them the whole 200 yards to the house, with Starr Ann struggling to look back and make sure we still had the dog the whole way.
By the time we reached that warm kitchen, Starr Ann's jeans were frozen stiff and we had to cut them off her. The lady helped me with Starr Ann while the daughter rubbed the dog's fur and wrapped her in towels.
Later, Starr Ann told of how she could feel heat radiating off the house from thirty feet away. That's a pretty good distance, but she said it felt like a furnace blast, the contrast was so great. Guess that tells you just how cold Starr Ann's surface was by that time.
The dog, we named her Roselyn, came out okay, too. We found her owners, but when they told us they were about to put her down because of the blindness, we didn't send her home. Ros gave us eleven great years after that incident. She didn't give much of a damn about the blindness. Said as long as her smeller didn't fail her, life was way worth living.

There are some strong spirits walking this earth. And I'm proud to know a few of them. A bit of inspiration now and then is good for the soul.

And for those who do not draw inspiration from such tales, which is true, by the way, there's always that neato photo up there.