Someone stole one of my blue ceramic pots from a small arched alcove up by our gate. To take the pot, the thief had to wriggle it through Spanish iron. This is the second theft I have experienced in two months–first my wallet from my purse in Chicago and now, a simple cobalt blue pot. I thought, “Why wasn’t that rattlesnake I killed in my garage last month coiled under the alcove? Why wasn’t I looking at my security camera with a loaded shotgun?
I was so mad that I took my dog for a walk up the road at a brisk pace.
A sweet and gentle woman who lives on our road stopped to say hello as she drove home from work. I lamented and vented. She suggested that I just “give up the pot” to that person.
This type of thinking, while a way to unload frustration and Buddhist in nature, runs counter to my whole existence.
“NO!” I said. ” Are you kidding me? The person who took my pot is a thief. That person deserves to go to that part of Hell reserved for those who take others’ personal property.”
While yammering there on the road to a woman who, in her last life was that of a sweet doe, I found myself up in one of the oak trees, looking down on a 10-year-old girl, with straight hair and bangs, trying to make a point on the playground to a bossy group of 6th grade boys. Such emphasis!
I think I scared her. Actually, I know I scared her. I asked her if she had read Dante’s Inferno? She said no. I suggested that a 13th-century treatise on morality might be important to have under one’s literary belt.
If she had had her fawn with her, they would have leaped up the dead-grassy side of the hill, nosed hysterically through the barbed-wire in a panic, and trotted gracefully, as deer do, away from that little human with tremendous emotion.
I continued to march up the road, yellow Labrador in hand, hoping that the thief would find herself with other thieves in the Malebolge of the 8th Circle of Dante’s Hell, holding my blue pot, caught blue-handed. In that bulge would be snakes and dragons. She would find herself bitten by dragons and snakes incessantly.
When I studied the Inferno in Fiesole, Italy, sixteen years ago, it was the Malebolge that captured my imagination. There, deep in the bowels of a fiery earthen cavern, lay ten darkened ditches reserved for the worst sinners–flatterers, hypocrites, sorcerers, and thieves. These sludgy trenches led to the infamous 9th Circle of Hell where the worst of the worst were.
Perhaps, as you are reading, you are thinking that I am a bit dramatic–that this is an overreaction to the theft of a small nothing. That I should “let it go.”
I am not a doe.
I am a hot dragon. Well, a small hot dragon.