Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Man Who Did Something

Seth was on the sun deck when he heard the clanking and decided to go around to the front of the house to investigate.

It was a small brown-skinned girl who looked about the age of three, running through the front field, shirtless with unkempt hair. The clanking came from the bell that was attached to the dog collar around her neck.

Seth suspected she came from Inland Forest where people had built large huts and set up tents and made traps to catch the animals. Why a forest person would wear a collar, he could only speculate.

He rushed toward the girl and when he got close enough, she bit him in the thigh. He could've gotten angry. Instead he took a deep breath of the clearest air in the country and, as he did so, his heart swelled huge.

The girl began to sob, for both her legs were bleeding. Unbeknownst to Seth, she had tried to glean aid and comfort from her oldest brother in the forest, but he had only yelled at her to shut up and kicked her in the stomach. Seth crouched down to speak with her in soft tones and whispers, and when he knew enough trust had been established, he gently removed the collar that had been chafing her. He took her inside to draw a bath, and when the blood was washed off, he wrapped her in a towel still warm from the dryer.

She wouldn't speak much, so he gave her paper and markers. Soon his fridge was full of her handiwork and it gave him all the more joy. "Carry on, my little angel, as fast or as slow as you'd like."

Monday, July 6, 2015

A Week at Watch Lake, BC

The children and I arrived at supper time. The thunder rolled when we got out of my car and there was the faint smell of campfire—smoke that probably drifted from across the lake somewhere.

I offered to set the table and we had hamburgers, but not the kind you're thinking about. We used mashed potatoes instead of buns. I accidentally laid an extra place setting and didn't notice until we all sat down, so I said it was for Mr. Nobody.

The next day we drove along a bumpy road, got waylaid by a herd of cattle, and ended up at a beautiful ranch for Canada Day celebrations. There were lots of people. Trevor got the runs, though, and we had to leave early. "This is the worst day of my life!" he said. It's like that for kids, you know, if they've never experienced diarrhea before.

On Thursday, my Dad drove me to the emergency room at the hospital because I had an eye infection that wasn't improving. During the ride, he spewed out negativity. You'd think I'd be prepared for it by now, but I wasn't. When I'm not prepared, I listen quietly and assume the person needs to vent. And when I am prepared, I like to either change the subject or use some of the empathy techniques I learned at Trinity Western University, depending on what the negativity is about.

You may have guessed by now that my parents live on the waterfront. A mama Goldeneye and her six babies came by a few times. I liked watching the babies dive into the water and pop up again. My children would stand on the dock with their nets to catch minnows and when seven ducks paddled over they got bread from the kitchen and tossed in little chunks, chanting, "Eat! Eat! Eat!"

That's something about Watch Lake: all the birds. At one point, an osprey flew above, later a gull, and on the water there was a greeb as well as a loon.

On Friday we went to another ranch. A lady named Ann, who looks like she's in her early sixties, works it all by herself. She's got chickens, sheep, goats, two friendly dogs, and two highland ponies. The marsh is full of black tadpoles right now. They're fat and most of them have only two legs.

Ann let us feed the baby goats and lamb with bottles and I think that was my favorite part. Later we sat inside her house and drank tea. "For the longest time, I had only three hummingbirds coming around, but now there are five." She talked about Africa with my Dad, who can be quite charming, and she connected with my Mom on the topic of Tao Chi. I didn't say anything at all. I'm not sure why. As for the children, they were antsy.

I can't remember which day we took the boat out, but it was a good time.

On our final night, I was tucking Trevor into bed and he said, "I'm lucky I get to sleep with you." Then he looked at the quilt with the pattern of zigzag snakes, and commented on one of the diamonds (a space between the zigzags). "If you turn it, it looks like a square, but squares are actually diamonds."

And, finally, to end a lovely stay, I met a soft-eyed doe during my walk. She let me get real close; I could almost reach out and touch her.