Anne M. Smith-Nochasak:
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Time is passing.
Yesterday, my spirit sang in every moment; the leaves had never been so delicate, the breeze never more fresh. Thanksgiving had never risen so easily to my tongue; every taste, every scent, every step was a blessing.
This morning, though, I awakened to days slipping past and our loved one not in them. The shimmering sunrise reproached me. The breeze was musty with decay, with hints of impending drought and fire. The mosquitoes would be out soon.
Our loved one was not coming back.
Then I saw the reddish-brown shape clinging to the birdfeeder. Squirrels hesitate to walk on thin cables, so we strung our bird feeders on long slender wires, far from the trees, well above ground. Nevertheless, there he was.
He could not have sprung from the ground, and could not have leapt from the branches, although I have watched one soar from a limb eight feet away. The feeder swung gently, and he was gnawing his way through the wire mesh, oblivious to the outraged human and quivering dogs watching from the window. And in the grand scheme of life, will it matter if one tiny squirrel overcomes the plots and technology of one human? The world will still turn, the sun will still rise -- I began to smile as he swayed and nibbled in his private moment of joy, perhaps his own little psalm rising on the breath of creation.
So I took note of that, and acknowledged that there was something in the moment worthy of celebration.
I turned to my morning yardwork. The slope above the garden had eroded, the soil sliding away. I raked in rich topsoil, scattered grass seed, and sprinkled mulch to hold the seed in place. Flo, the Border collie, watched.
Border collies have a gift for scrutiny; they study every move -- processing, calculating. As dogs of remarkable intelligence, they have an extensive vocabulary and
comprehension. If you explain to them what you want, they will act upon it. You must, however, be thorough. As you can see from the photo to the left, Flo did not have her paws on the soil. She had been told that she must not walk on these places. And she did not. She sat, happily wagging her tail, the grass seed scattering. In the grand scheme of things, when the sun goes to its red giant phase, there will be a bald patch on the earth.
Will it matter?
I let it go, and the scent of dust and grass was sweet in the morning.
My lady Mikak, street dog and defender, loved to curl beside her hostas. When they faded in the fall, she would lie over them. Now Shay, the pup she raised, watches for her. It lifts my heart to see Shay, to know that she is alive, fully present in this moment.
My departed friend would laugh and laugh over the way the squirrel overcame all obstacles; he would shake his head and smile at the Border collie's meticulous attention to detail. He would delight in Shay.
He would celebrate the humour and the grace in each moment.
"I will lift up my eyes to the hills --
where does my help come from?"
Psalm 121 ESV
My help rises from the little moments the Creator gives me, breathed into being from the depths of love.
There, beyond my window, how many shades of colour on this palette?
How many moments to embrace the joy that would buffer the pain?
How many memories to be made or already present, just waiting for me?
There are signs and wonders in the morning, teachings small yet great. I stare out into the world and I know that, one day, this shall be consumed and on that day, it will be this day, this one here before me, that will rise to my lips as a psalm.
Here in my loft, I feel the paddle draw and pull and I, a dry leaf spinning on a dead branch, I am laughing, simply laughing, because I am part of creation, part of everything, part of the sweetness of the morning.