Amelia On The Wild River

Some kinds of missing can creep up on us gradually. Life goes along from one day to the next with everything the same. Then an event or a memory triggers a reminder that something or someone is missing.

This was not like that. We missed Amelia immediately.

Amelia had always been the one to stand guard while everyone was scratching and pecking in the yard. As the leader of the flock, Gracie would sometimes join her, but she appreciated Amelia’s willingness to give the gift of her time. Amelia would stand silently and only make an alarm call when she sensed something might be dangerous and hiding in the shadows.

Here on the wild river, there was nothing but shadows. It was so late, and she was so tired. The moon was so full and bright. As it had risen in the sky, she thought that she was getting closer. It had to be closer. It just had to be.

She had flown almost the entire day from tree to tree. This was not flying the way she had remembered it. With an entire flock, flying is different. By herself, she was more aware of her limitations.

She realized she was not like the Canadian geese who had moved into our neighborhood and had flown so high and for such great distances. Even though she had always been the best flyer, she realized that even at her best, she could only fly like a chicken.

Amelia was glad Emily was not there. Emily had always looked up to her. Emily would not look up to her if she saw her there alone in the middle of the wild river searching for a safe place to roost for the night.

There was no way of knowing what was in the hollow of the tree. That would not be safe. The limbs above would be safer perhaps, but if she closed her eyes, what might grab her while she slept?

For a moment, she longed for the warmth and safety of home. Then she remembered why she was doing this. It was not for herself. It was not to prove that she could fly to the moon and back. It was for Emily.

Emily had leaned on Amelia for too long. Emily had a gift within herself that would never be fulfilled until she learned to stand on her own. Amelia did not know what that gift was. She only knew she had to let Emily find it on her own.

Amelia was not lost. She had made her map of the world, and she could find her way back home any time she wanted. She was not afraid, not yet. But she was alone out there on the wild river.

I still need to find out if I can be lost and not afraid, she told herself. I need to know that as surely as Emily needs to discover her gift.

 

Perhaps The Perfect Gift (Revised for 2020)

Today’s post is based on one shared around Thanksgiving Day two years ago. I’ve edited it quite a bit for this Thanksgiving Day to fit with the changes which a worldwide pandemic have brought to all of our lives. 

Thanksgiving Day makes it official each year. The holiday season has begun. For most people it is time to share a meal together with friends and family. It often means sharing gift lists or at least gift hints for whichever wintertime holiday is next to be celebrated.

Some people, I believe, just seem to have a talent for always giving “the perfect gift.” For me, it is an elusive skill. Gifts never seem to work out as wonderfully as I imagine they will.

Yet this Thanksgiving, my chickens and I will give each other the perfect gift. We will simply sit with each other and enjoyed a pleasantly sunny afternoon.

But our hearts hurt for those who will be unable to do the same with their own loved ones, particularly when due to quarantine or death.

“Of all gifts possible, I do believe that the most perfect gift is our time to be together.” That is what I wrote two years ago.

But this Thanksgiving, perhaps it is better to write, “Of all gifts possible and for this year only, my best gift to you is time to be apart. One of us may not be strong enough to fight this virus which has taken so many beautiful lives from us.”

And for those of you who are unable to enjoy that gift of time together today, take heart. This challenge will pass, and it will help us to appreciate all the more what is ultimately important.

I believe love is truly transcendent. Love transcends time, distance, and yes, love transcends even global pandemics.

Be safe, stay healthy, and enjoy the anticipation of receiving that perfect gift of time together when all of this is behind us.

We are thankful for all of you, our readers, family, and friends.

Sincerely,

John, Gracie, Bessie, Pearl, Emily, and Amelia

This November, I was surprised by the sudden blooming of a chrysanthemum I had planted in the garden several years ago and forgotten. It had not bloomed since having been added to the garden. It definitely speaks to me of the things which it symbolizes: fidelity, optimism, joy and long life. Today’s illustration is from “Seasons Of Friendship” which is being revised for a second edition.

 

My Life With Gracie…Sunday Surprises!

This weekend, my chickens and I have been enjoying the strong beautiful fragrance of the sweet osmanthus (tea olive) tree which is now taller than me even though I planted it only a few years ago. We have also be enjoying the beautiful color of the beauty berry bush’s fruit.

Most of these berries will be eaten by the songbirds, but a few will sprout and expand their territory just a bit farther out into the shady parts of the yard. You can probably see where an insect has already been eating the beauty berry’s leaves here and there, but that’s just part of life in the garden.

A soft rain overnight gives everything a wet shine, and I think the raindrops hitting the osmanthus blossoms release even more of its sweet indescribably perfume into the garden. At times I can even smell it from inside the house!

I hope you will find your own Sunday Surprises to delight your senses and give your heart a bit of rest.

A huge amount of appreciation goes out to my volunteer test readers! This option is now closed while I prepare the files.