com-mún-ion
n.  sharing the sacrament of the Eucharist;
the act of sharing one’s thoughts and emotions with another;
intimate converse with deep understanding.

Many Protestants celebrated Communion last weekend, the first Sunday of the month. It is an act of remembrance, I’m told, remembering the lifeblood and body of the soul whose death revealed the eternal truth of every human being’s equality in God’s eyes. That’s my interpretation of what is often said in fewer words. There are other meanings of “communion,” no less holy. For me, communion is whatever opens us to or reminds us of our true identity as a child of God, a member of the universe.

I have just come in from my new summer morning routine of sitting in the back yard with coffee and watching the passel of kittens play. There are 3-month-old kittens encouraging yearlings, two-year-olds and even older ones to remember their youth and their true natures as hunters. As the day warms up, the kittens wear out and disappear into their morning naps. The others resume their status as cats, more or less domesticated. But while it is still cool and the hunt is on, there is communion between the generations as well as with their genes. I’ve got some pumas out there.

Every year, when the June bugs hatch in July and take to the sky, there is entertainment enough for the entire feline flock. It astounds me to see normally sedentary cats launch three feet off the ground and capture (or miss) the green bombers, and then turn over the catch to kittens who are just discovering the meaning of prey. In the past I worried that the cats might exterminate the bugs, but they seem only to increase. It takes pressure off the birds, who are now free to steal fruit from my grapevine, as well as greater freedom for their babies to grow—the ones that didn’t get eaten when they fledged and fell to the ground earlier in the spring.

In the same way that it is the grapevines I planted 25 years ago that now feed the wild birds, it’s possible that I’ve been promoting production of June bugs through the maintenance (however faulty) of a compost pile. By foregoing pesticides and other landscape maintenance practices that some people think of as normal, even mandatory, I’ve contributed to the environment that my flock so enjoys. Their haven is also my haven; I’m a member of their household, not just an observer.

My new routine, which at first seemed so unproductive, has begun to pay dividends during the rest of the day. I get housebound easily, still commandeered by the antique idea that women’s place is in the kitchen—and all the other rooms, anywhere inside. When the heat hit in May, I reverted to my indoor responsibilities too soon after winter’s episode of house binding, and depression set in. I am naturally an outdoor person, so this small, precious morning time spent in communion with whatever is just beyond the walls of my indoor spaces, re-unites me with my real self. That’s who goes back inside to take on the day. With my whole self intact, I’m getting more done.

That brings me to a subject I want to touch only lightly, being ignorant: the baffling mysteries of gender identity raised by the rising of LGBTQ communities around the globe, and the issues they’ve raised regarding pronouns. Recently I was at a Friends meeting and when we went around the circle making introductions, they included the pronouns they desire to be used in addressing them. In that meeting there were only people who identify as “he/him” and “she/her,” but I found myself rebelling anyway because (as I discovered at that moment) I resent having to be reminded that I am female. I didn’t realize how jealous I still am at this moment of anyone who can use the stigma-free pronouns “he/him.”

Perhaps the stress of being “non-binary” could be reduced for these young people if more of us were aware of and claimed both sides of our personalities, male and female together. It’s another form of communion that could help all of us feel ourselves to be children of God.

Trudy Wischemann is a former horse-loving tomboy woman who now herds cats and writes. You can send her your pronoun conundrums (to add to the list) c/o P.O. Box 1374, Lindsay CA 93247.

This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.

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