(with only a passing similarity to the original . . .)
The Crone is Beside Herself
Our kids brought groceries to our door.
They left them on the breezeway floor
and gently crept away.
The bags sat out for several hours
while I mixed potent cleansing powers
of bleach and Lysol Spray.
I spritzed the cans, the grapes, the bread.
How long before the bugs are dead?
Does Dr. Fauci know?
Do I feel anxious? Bet your ass.
Will we all buy the farm, en masse?
I’m hoarding Lexepro . . .
If you’re not a Woody Allen anxious type, the above scenario might seem melodramatic.
But this Nervous Nellie, Our Lady of Perpetual Overthinking, isn’t worried about a lack of toilet paper. Nuh-uh. I worry about my current supply of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman calmatants, and (chass v’cholileh) should they run out before the villainous virus runs its course or CVS is shuttered, then who can this Crone turn to?
Back in the 1100s, the Sephardic philosopher/astronomer/Torah scholar/physician Moses ben Maimon (aka Maimonides, or the Rambam) was recognized as “a healer of the body and the mind” for his grasp of the connection between physical and mental well-being. “If emotional stress is maintained for a long period,” Maimonides wrote in Regimen of Health, “one will definitely become ill, for constant anxiety damages the body.”
And so, to counteract the effects of anxiety and stress on his patients, Maimonides concocted a Medieval Herbal Smoothie. The instructions on the bottle read, “This anti-anxiety formula should be taken regularly, at all times. Its effects are that sadness and anxieties disappear. This is a remedy of which no equal can be found in gladdening, strengthening and invigorating the psyche. It should always be in your possession.”
Blenders ready, kids? Here’s the recipe.
Take one pound fresh rose petals, 1/2 pound ox tongue, two ounces lavender, raw silk, chopped fumitory seeds and citron peel. Steep the whole in six pounds of hot water for one day and one night. Then boil well, crush and filter in a strainer, throw over it six pounds of wild sorrel and put over a slow fire to attain the constituency of syrup. Spice with Iraqi musk and serve. (Before you poo-poo this, Maimonides’ formula contains ingredients that today’s docs consider some of the most effective anti-stress herbs. No mention is made of ox-tongue.)
It’s clear that Maimonides was into holistic medicine. He used aromatherapy — “good odors, like musk, ambergris, basil, rose water, lily and violet” — and suggested “strengthening the Vital Faculty with musical instruments, by bringing the patient joyful news and by telling tales that divert him and make him laugh, and by the presence of someone whose company cheers him.” (Which means ix-nay on watching White House press conferences. Just saying . . .)
Maimonides also believed we should live in the moment. “Most thoughts that cause distress, sorrow, sadness or grief occur from one of two things. Either one thinks of the past or one thinks of something that may occur in the future. Yet sorrow and gloom over the past is of no value. It is the occupation of fools. Similarly, anxiety that results from thoughts about what may happen in the future is pointless, because every outcome lies in the realm of possibility.”
Oi, Moishe, Moishe.
You tell me it’s pointless to think about the future, but when/if my stash of Lexapro is kaput, where the hell will I find fumitory seeds and Iraqi musk?
Meanwhile (to quote Woody Allen in Play It Again, Sam), if anyone needs me I’ll be home, on the floor, having a panic attack.
Love to all.
And rest in the way things are.
At the Seaside
When I was down beside the sea
A wooden spade they gave to me
To dig the sandy shore.
My holes were empty like a cup.
In every hole the sea came up,
Till it could come no more.