Today is All Saint’s Day. I once had a wonderful golden retriever with today as her birthday, we named her All Hallow’s Tessa. A well bred, well trained, loveable girl. But this is not about how well she hunted or the number of spirits she lifted when visiting nursing homes and the sick.
This is about how she changed the course of a little boy’s life.
When placing puppies from a litter we scrutinize each possible owner with an application and references. Since our dogs are high energy bird dogs, almost all owners are hunters or families that include dogs in activities.
Such was one new owner, a young boy soon to be 11 years old. He had waited for a puppy and proved to his mom that he was ready. Of course. she knew she would have to provide a safety net. The application was in and approved before the pups were born.
We assist our owners in pup selection. We spend weeks with the pups and know their personalities. Truth be told, the puppies choose. Milo would pick up his puppy last.
I often post photos of pups online so the new owners can watch them grow. Everyone liked the little boy with the blue ribbon, his photos were most commented on.
The day came for pups to go home. One by one the new owner’s came. Each time little blue boy sniffed the air, walked about ten feet from the other pups and just laid down. He was waiting, these were not his people.
Finally Milo came. His mother got out of the car. I will never forget her words, “We have a problem.”
She went on to explain. Milo informed her at breakfast that the little blue boy would be his pup. God told him in a dream.
I smiled. I told her it all worked out, little blue boy waited for Milo.
She grew pale and said, “But we don’t do God.”
I smiled again, “Apparently, Milo does.”
While we spoke, Milo slipped from the car and his puppy met him in the grass.
Milo told us he looked up Tessa’s name and read about All Saint’s Day. So when in his dream, God told him the little blue boy was his puppy, he believed God. His mom was visibly shaken as she took care of the paperwork. Nothing like an awakening to rattle an atheist to the core. Been there. A door had opened, Milo boldly walked through. His mom cautiously followed.
God slipping a little bliss through the back door.
I would like to introduce you to Horses for Heroes. This organization does wonderful work for those who serve; be they firefighters, police officers, military or other public service personnel putting their lives on the line for us.
The littlest heroes, the children of these men and women, also benefit from the healing and therapeutic power of horses.
Saturday was a busy day along our little one and a half lane, country road. More people work at the hatchery than live on this road. When the local salmon festival occurs, thousands visit in the span of 6 hours.
Although the people arrive in force to view the salmon, their numbers don’t come close to the population of turkey vultures filling the sky. Like the people, the vultures also come for the salmon. The turkey vultures are drawn in with their keen sense of smell. This may also be why the visiting local tourists don’t linger for too long. If you think a spawning salmon looks gnarly, you should smell them.
The malodorous rot of spawning salmon surely does not evoke a sense of bliss.
The signs of autumn are slowly appearing in the Battle Creek basin. Last week bid farewell the triple digit heat with a final day of 103F (39.4C) on Monday, October 1. This week opened with a high of 80F(26.6C). The temperature drop and shorter days nudge a color shift in the trees.
Kettles of turkey vultures fill the sky. Here along the creek we have vultures year round. They even nest in our backyard. This time of year their numbers increase in the sky as they circle higher and higher on thermals. Vultures gather here for a reason. The fall run of Chinook salmon is underway.
Reviled creatures, most people consider these carrion feeders gross and ugly. If you have ever smelled rotting salmon from the spawn, you may consider these turkey vultures the most beautiful of all. We welcome their presence to keep our little valley clean.
I appreciate these birds.
We have all had moments like this when working with a group of kids. One child is so full of energy that sitting still is impossible. Yes, impossible, and I do not say this lightly.
I watched this energetic child squirm, wiggle and twist. With hands that drummed, fidgeted and poked it seemed like we were in for a long night of religious education.
One quick glance from me garnered an, “Am I in trouble?” response.
The child seemed to be trying so hard to sit still, listen, and not interrupt the lessons or other pier participation.
“Am I in trouble?” the child queried again.
I slid a few sheets of paper under those fidgeting fingers along with some colored markers. “When I am easily distracted, it helps me to doodle. Give it a try.” My smile was met with a broad grin and my offer accepted.
An amazing peace fell over the room. Oh, the hands were still busy, writing each pier name on a paper airplane. Then a dove with an olive branch followed by three crosses on a hill.
The student was listening and exchanging in dialog all the while creating little masterpieces.
Religious education class is opened and closed with prayer. That evening, the doodles during class were placed in the center of the table as we all prayed together.
When trying to reach a kid, try art.
Tim brings me coffee every morning. Our morning time has developed a routine, we watch the news and like most great friends, our best conversations solve the ills of the world before we set about our day.
The day started as most others; Tim crossed the living room with a steaming cup of hot coffee. His eyes reflected his flirty smile.
As he began to speak, I noticed his distraction to the news feed.
“Happy birthd… the towers are on fire.”
We turned up the volume just as the second plane hit.
Everyone remembers where they were, what they were doing on September 11, 2001.
People are born everyday; odds are we all share our date of birth with an unpleasant event of some sort or another. For me, for my niece, and for countless others, 9-11 is our birthday.
Life is a balance. Good things and bad things happen everyday. I hope for those of us with a 9-11 birthday, that we strive for good, that we strive for balance.
As I give thanks for the blessings in my life, I offer prayers for those lost and those who still mourn.
May we all celebrate life and bring a little bliss into the lives we touch.