On its haunches, a fatted, mild-so-far winter-fed squirrel stares.  His paw hands hold some tasty treasure freshly dug from the not very tundra-ish turf.  The lawn tints a tad green in the morning sun poking through scudding clouds and escaping the last huffs of night winds.  My Christmas tree rests curbside, its resplendent lights and trimmings stowed once again, the angel gently wrapped in tender tissue storage.  Kitty Taz stares as well, keenly interested in the white bellied creature in HIS yard, a brazen rodent likely contemplating the best course of action – continue eating, hop away, or just plain skedaddle.  It opts the hops, Taz hunkers into stealth profile, plops on his side when the out of sight prey completely befuddles his attack.  Oddly enough, as Taz re-discovers my Frosted Flakes bowl, my thinks drift off from the solstice outside.

Responsibilities.  Appointments.  Money.  The day ahead – the days ahead.  Yesterday – and the yesterdays before.  Better health.  The kids, their needs – letting them grow.  Where was I when…  The sunshine spotlighting all the failings, giving way to the catch of clouds, struggling to peak in the breaks – rays falling on wet, brown grass.  Even the thesaurus fails to find words to capture the emotions nipping away the moment, chasing the squirrel to its dark, hidden, Hobbit hole of trembling.  Maybe the word is snow.  Cover all this, whiten the world about me, within me.  There’s the rub – I’d have to shovel or use the blower, complain more and do less. So, intelligently (not so much), I decide FaceBook offers escape.  Of course, the lack of any kind of civility kindles despair, but one of the later posts from @itsbreparker offers, “Yesterday someone said to me, ‘I would’ve never guessed you’ve been through what you have, you carry yourself so well.’ And that’s when I realized, it’s not what happens to you, it’s how you handle it.”  I exit the program.

From a struggling poke out of bleak blues comes another quote, a thought read in some ago of days that clings to the edge of what might have been a long, do the grey day of noting the nothings not finished and carried into a to-do list of won’t get done.  It patches the hole, denies it growing with a chipmunk’s peek from inside the black downspout extension.  Taz sees the little fellow as well, and the world returns to “well”.  Winter really isn’t a “dying time”, but a resting.  A dormant peace, a regrouping for the burst necessary in creating spring, new growth, rejuvenated life.  A friend gave me some collected lines from different authors/speakers and I steal a few ideas from St. Francis, blend them into a refreshing window watch.  I view God’s creation daily; perhaps I should “seek rather to comfort than to be comforted; to understand rather than be understood; to love than to be loved.  For it is by giving that one receives …”  I am reminded that perhaps when I think “I have blown God’s plan along the wanderings of days, I should realize I am NOT that powerful” (anon).  And here I sit, pecking at keyboard treasures, searching the googles and yahoos for smiles and find what Taz likely thinks:

A German Shepherd, a Doberman, and a cat have died and face God’s questions of belief. The Shepherd believes in discipline, training, and loyalty to the master.  God places him on His right side.  The Doberman believes in love, care and protection of the master.  God places him on His left side.  When asked what he believes, the cat replies, “I believe you are sitting on my throne.”  And so returns a smile, a “thank you Lord”, and an enjoyment of a blank page meander that “gets me there, wherever that ‘there’ might be.”      submitted by Dave Smith