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©Katherine Dunn.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Pickles learns what peace is

 “What’s wrong with Mrs. Dunn?” I heard Pickles ask Earnest the Pig.

“She’s feeling upside down today” said Earnest.

“Upside down? That sounds dreadful,” said Poetry, one of the old goats. “It would give me gas.”

“Mrs. Dunn, what does it feel like to be upside down?” Pickles asked me as she jumped up on the rock next to me.

“Out of sorts,” I said.

“But it’s your birthday!” squeeled Pickles. Suddenly everyone broke out in a very disjointed version of the birthday song and despite my upside downess, it did bring a smile to my face.

“Are you feeling old, is that it?” asked Earnest the pig.

“Not really,” I said.

“How old are you, Mrs. Dunn?” asked Hannah, who was one.

“Sixty four,” I said.

“Oh my Lord, that is very old,” said Poetry the old goat. “You must not have long to go.”

“Humans live longer than goats,” explained Earnest.

“That’s even older than that ancient turtle that was in National Geographic,” said Pickles.

“I am moving as slow as turtle today,” I said. “Sometimes, you just have to be with your upside down feelings, even if it’s your birthday,” I said.

“When I get upside down, I close my eyes and think of the things that I can do to make it a better world,” said Earnest. “Like write a sonnet, or a poem of love.”

“That’s very nice, Earnest, and very wise. But the world needs more than I can give it right now,” I said.

The donkeys had slowly made their way across the field to join the conversation.

“Mrs. Dunn is upside down,” Pickles told the donkeys.

“Oh dear, being upside down is a dreadful state” Paco the poet donkey said.

“Just sit with me,” I said. And they did. “I am grateful we are all here, and not in danger in Ukraine. Those poor people, those poor animals,” I said. “If I could have one birthday gift today, it would be peace, and I would give it to Ukraine.”

Pickles leapt to action, and Hannah followed.

“Where are we going, Pickles?!” Hannah asked.

“We must find “peace” and get it to Mrs. Dunn,” said Pickles.

“Oh, little Pickles,” Earnest the pig said, “I’m afraid “peace” is not an object to be found, it is something one grows in one’s heart, and it goes out into the world through peaceful actions.”

“Why is that man hurting the people and animals?”  asked little Hannah.

“He has no heart,” I said.

“Then how will he grow any peace inside of him if he has no heart?” Pickles asked.

“He won’t,” said Earnest the pig. “He won’t.”

Hannah cried. Then Pickles cried. I cried too.

Old Matilda, the very old matriarch donkey cleared her throat to speak. Everyone stopped crying, as Matilda rarely spoke but when she did it was always with wise, motherly love.

“We must visualize the mothers and children and animals and elders surrounded with sunflowers,” she said.

And we did.