What's Up With That? ~ Katy Byrne

Katy Byrne Katy Byrne, MFT is a Psychotherapist in Sonoma, editor and animal lover. Her private practice specializes in: life transitions, couples communication, eating issues, moving forward, conflict resolution and the kitchen sink.


Hairballs gone wild

Posted on August 24, 2020 by Katy Byrne

Social solidarity hasn’t vanished in Sonoma during this butt-kicking pandemic. We share hardships and we care. All of us are challenged at this time with the entire globe off its axis. If I wash my hands one more time I’ll wonder if I’ve gone completely wacky. But, along with this cavernous crevasse of distance between us, acts of kindness hit my heart daily with a wallop. Even though the streets are quiet, we are Sonoma strong. 

Both grief and gratitude deepen in this covid crisis, but the great power of community remains, radical reaching-out continues. 

While our fears and range of troubles are as wide as the great divide separating us, Sonoma sustains support. Whether an email, a text from a relative, or a meal from the Vintage House, every little thing we do, no matter how small, is a remedy for loneliness – a ripple of love, renewing our weary selves. Sometimes I call an old friend and reboot a bond. One morning I found tiny tantalizing donuts on the porch.

Still, I have to honor so many people who are struggling, working long hours wearing smothering masks, while some seniors long to see their grandkids or else have houses stuffed with kids who can’t go to school. Other friends are looking to replace lost jobs or trying to find a decent doctor. Elders are isolated in nursing homes. This worldwide plague tests us all in some way.

It is a time of contrasts, both generosity and anxiety. Like, this week I dragged myself outside to rake leaves, for “defensible space,” fire season clean-up. On a humid, hot summer day, I was struggling with nature’s incessant demand for attention. I picked up my oversized garden gloves, started raking and shoveling downed branches, full of complaints and emotional hairballs. All I really wanted was to lie down in the grass and read a good book.

Suddenly, the guy who uses my garage for storage started cutting the huge, overhanging branches, hoisting his heavy, buzzing saw while lurking bushes disappeared beneath his burly, tall body. A big, towering man, gripping his powerful tool. 

There he was, lugging his heavy jagged cutting machine, up his ladder to the tops of erect, persistent trees, determined to groom those bulging bushes. Then, my roommate, Jay appeared with another rake, 20 years younger than me, bronze from his day job. He’s a handsome dude, at least six feet. 

Our rakes thrust in tandem, in a whirling rhythm, bending, picking up, and filling the bins. Bulky logs and snarly, tangled vines vanished before me. Teamwork transformed my day. Our energies blended while weeks of work were done in one afternoon. 

My load lightened. In a flash of a minute, Jim seemed to shift from a bulldozing dude into Superman, elevated like an eagle soaring through the sky, transforming my yard into an organized piece of property. Jay looked like Robin Hood, swooping in to help us. Or, maybe my imagination got away with me. 

Isolation only goes so far… so, show you care in whatever safe way you can. Drop off apples or exchange ideas of helpfulness. This is an urgent, life or death time to isolate but it is equally important to do radical reaching out.


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