I stepped outside today for a break. I have been furiously keeping myself busy, trying to avoid the grief that threatens to intrude on my days and overcomes me in my sleep. I need respite. I need sanctuary.
The chicks are industriously pecking around, treating themselves to bugs and green grass. A hummingbird hovers near the bee balm as dragonflies float lazily through the air, doing whatever it is that dragonflies do. A small white Captains butterfly flits over the rock wall out of sight. I wait to see if the Monarchs that were visiting yesterday will show up again, or maybe one of the many Tiger Swallowtails that frequent the garden, such as it is. It is a work in progress. The Maremmas sleep heavily while Cider rests nearby, his head pillowed on his newest toy, a large fuzzy stuffed bone. Cider loves stuffed animals in fact he collects them. Every time we go shopping he noses through all the bags, checking to see if he got anything. On Christmas he knows exactly which gift is his, under the tree. I think he sneaks in and peeks under the bed before I wrap them. What kid taught him that?
He has a toy basket full of toys and he obediently picks them up whenever I tell him to…of course he expects cheese for doing his chores, or at the very least, to play catch. He used to help me load laundry, but one particular time I had nothing to 'pay' him with. He disappeared for a few minutes and came back with a dog biscuit he had managed to locate and pilfer from the pantry. He handed it to me, picked up the laundry, then sat expectantly, waiting for me to pay him. As he has grown older, I have lived in fear he might go union on me.
A grasshopper flutters and lands over by a pink spirea. He is living on the edge, as the chickens will make short work of him. Mr T, the enormous and beautiful black rooster, struts by and blasts out a bellicose crow. His plumage is deep, shiny black with highlights of green and darkest purple. His comb and wattles are dark, deep, saturated red, like Marilyn Monroe’s lips. He really is a magnificent bird of impressive size. I find him intimidating and hope he never turns on me, though I bet he would make a fine meal.
The buzzing and chirping increase as several hummingbirds bicker and vie for a place at the feeder.
I laugh at the little chicks running like S.W.A.T. team members across the lawn and then scurry around under the cover of leaves from the plants against the wall. Like kids with a clubhouse, they spend most of their time there eating and chatting and entertaining themselves and me, in the process.
I hear birds ‘chit chit’ in the background. Wimpy, my horse, snorts on the far side of the wall. There is more rustling of dried leaves as the chicks scratch for worms and insects. Cows are lowing in the distance.
Suddenly a jet rips the sky, racing before the speed of sound, shattering the serenity. I say a silent prayer for its pilot, knowing that in this world, he or she may soon be called to put their life on the line in defense of our country. I marvel at the fact that we have a voluntary military. Those who stand in the gap do so by their own volition. They are my heroes.
I am not courageous or heroic. I settle back down on the cushion of the wicker chair and ponder how far we have gone astray as a nation, but grateful that I am here, in this place.
I thank He who is faithful in both pain and pleasure, ready to pick me up when I stumble or when life slaps me down.The One who is beside me when I ride the crests of joy that swell out of the tides of my life.
In the rising and setting of my fickle circumstances and intense emotions, He is always constant. My Rock, ever solid, ever present in the quagmires I sometimes find myself sucked into, consoles and comforts me. I lean back, secure in His watchful gaze, knowing He will never let go. I am content.
Sanctuary has been found.