To Scott Cairns: A Confession
Festivals are for Feasting

Critter On A Spring Day

We had the kind of spring day where you’re reminded we won’t stay frozen forever. The sun shines bright overhead and you turn your face to it. You swear you might stay posed like that for the next several hours. A little sunburn on the neck never hurt anybody.


That was yesterday in Michigan. After running errands that morning, I took the computer outside to write. I’ve set a goal to write 1,000 words a day. Which means my house is cleaner, the laundry is all caught up and the back porch is organized and ready for entertaining. Procrastinating and writing goals go hand in hand. The butterflies and birds offered further distraction.


After school, though, all of that got set aside. All I wanted to do was explore with my daughter. The land was freshly mowed with the paths marked clearly. We’d had a few days with no rain, so we could even go off the path if we wanted.


We set off to check on the baby kittens first. Two weeks old. The mama had moved them earlier that day. I’m still not sure why. It seemed as if she instinctively knew it was time they started exploring an expanded world. She thought a  spot under my bed might be an excellent place to start. We compromised and she carried them individually in her mouth to a shaded area on the back porch instead. They appeared so tiny on that big patio. 




The ducks were up next. We’d lost two last week and had been keeping a closer eye on them as a result. Everything was in order. I am amazed at how much they grow each day. Allie has visions of them following her around the yard this summer.




Finally, the piggies. They’re an active lot this spring. The bin where their grain is stored has metal flaps on it and they have to lift the metal up to eat. All day long, sometimes even in the middle of the night, I hear the sound of the lids clanging. It reassures me the pigs are healthy and hungry.




All the critters were accounted for, which is always a small miracle in itself. Then we took off with the two dogs down the hill. A cat followed us for a while. The one remaining chicken from a hard winter of predator attacks checked in from time to time. She's a survivor, that one. Allie saw her first spit bugs of the season. I caught our dog, Porter, sniffing around in a large hole dug out in the hill. He’d brought me two large turkey eggs earlier in the day and I wondered if that spot might house the nest. It didn’t appear to be the right place.




The girl had lots of energy to run off after her day of studying. She flitted from one part of the yard to the next. Much of the time, I just watched her go. It did my heart good to simply observe her exploring for a few hours. When she looks back on her childhood it's these days - where we're simply together - I want her to remember.


When my husband got home from work, I threw dinner in the oven and we set out on another walk. To the pond this time. He showed me a new path he’d contrived. When he found a small water snake to pick up as an offering for our daughter, I stepped back in subconscious trepidation, suddenly remembering I needed to check on dinner.




I suppose you could call it an ordinary afternoon but I sure enjoyed the family time. After the winter freeze, which went well into April this year, it felt extra-ordinary to me. All creatures great and small, the Lord God made them all. It felt like coming to life again.


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