Have you ever seen a herd of 66 elk?
In your back yard?
I did a herd of elk, at my sisters house, in Washington, where we stayed after driving across the United States from New York.
My sister has a garden, which the elk are pros are getting into. The nine foot fence is a joke to the elk. So, I installed a solar-panel energized rope, wrapped twice around the fence.
I had to wait a few nights to see the results. At nightfall, the herd moseyed around the house and, sure enough, just the feel of moving electricity made the elk shy back away from the fence. A few elk were so interested in the garden on the other side of the fence, that their noses actually touched the rope, bringing about a startled response.
I thought, good.
To my chagrin, the next morning, I noticed that while I watched elk on the south side of the house, the herd had eaten the rose bush in the west side of the house. Well, I’m not going to wrap a rope around the house. And neither is my sister.
When she arrived, and I was back in New York, she snickered and said, the deer realized that the electric fence I put up around the garden, wasn’t very terrifying, so they broke a panel and ate the tops of the orchard trees. She is used to sharing her garden with the wildlife.
From Psalms, in The Message:
“What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations. Oh, look—the deep, wide sea, brimming with fish past counting, sardines and sharks and salmon. Ships plow those waters, and Leviathan, your pet dragon, romps in them. All the creatures look expectantly to you to give them their meals on time.”
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Cheryl Petersen goes over the six tenets of Christian Science as found in her book, 21st Century Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: A modern version of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health.
We did make it to the Blue Mountains, to my younger brother’s cabin, where we spent a few nights.
My brother inherited the family cabin from our parents and had retained most of the knick-knacks and cutlery and furniture, which brought up a lot of good memories from when we were kids.
Meanwhile, our older daughter flew from Tennessee to Boise, Idaho, met up with her friend since kindergarten, Nik, and they drove to the cabin.
Over the years, these girls came with us to the cabin, built forts outside our orchard, rode horses, and had sleepovers. She’s part of the family. But a few years back, Nik had a work-accident as a horse jockey and now uses a wheelchair for mobility. This cabin trip was the first trip she’d taken without her husband, who is a wonderful man and very able to help lift and get Nik around when she’s not in her wheelchair.
However, as good friends do, Nik and our daughter push boundaries with wisdom.
Before the visit, at the gym in Tennessee, our daughter practiced hauling heavy weight, with the idea it was Nik, holding on with her arms around her neck. And Nik increased her arm strength.
They arrived at the cabin, and we talked and laughed, all the while feeling genuinely grateful deep inside. That night, Doug and I returned to Washington and the two friends went on a “walk” from the cabin to the meadow, both women, capably and safely, maneuvering the wheelchair. They also “climbed” the cabin stairs together.
On the morning that the girls were to travel back to Boise, they expected Doug and me to come to the cabin, chit-chat some more, and say goodbye.
I woke about four a.m. We arrived at the cabin just after six a.m.
Some people could think 6 a.m. was early, but during the more than thirty years we’ve known one another, it was normal for me to walk into the small cabin kitchen and see Nik pivot her wheelchair deftly and crack, “It’s about time you got here. We’ve been waiting since four.”
Watching sun rises was one of the longstanding commonalities between us.
“Isn’t it amazing that a loyal friend is always beautiful!”—21st Century Science and Health
“The pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.”—Proverbs 27:9
Driving to the Blue Mountains in Oregon, we came to a stop, behind a long line of vehicles. Temperature rising.
It was another, over one-hundred-degree day of the heat wave in southeastern Washington state.
We heard the pulsing pounding before we saw the helicopter fly to a distance in front. Whatever stopped traffic was down a hill and we didn’t see the helicopter land but figured it was time to turn around and return to where we came from.
Keeping my frustration at bay, I called and told the people, who we were going to visit, that we couldn’t make it. They said, it was better we didn’t come, because of the heat they were driving to Walla Walla for the day to find coffee shops with air-conditioners.
I touched off the phone and, knew.
“Let’s go see Roland,” I told my husband. Who snickered because it was early in the morning, not quite seven, and we didn’t have his phone number to call to see if he was home or awake.
Roland didn’t even know we were in town, three-thousand miles from our own home.
After driving ten minutes to his house, I knock on the door. I see him come to the door through thick glass. He opens the door, recognizes us immediately and tears come to his eyes. He said, “I’ve been trying to call you.”
He lost our phone number, but his mind was really on another topic, which he told us then and there because he wanted to get it out so he could move forward. His wife was diagnosed with cancer. We all went to the living room. Doug and I said hello to his wife who told us, “You came at the right time. We have to leave for chemo in thirty minutes.”
She went to get ready while we talked with Roland, a man who was also a member at the church we were when we lived in Kennewick. He and Doug played their guitars and sang at church together. Roland and I talked for hours upon hours about God, life, marriage, raising children. I remember getting an email from him with the question, “What is God?”
“Reality,” I replied.
Once, during our conversation on this trip, we each said, we couldn’t believe that we stopped by his house, when we did. It’d been years before we spoke last. Only once, because sitting in awe can be a distraction to getting done what needs to be done.
We reconnected for spiritual strength. We reconnected because it was in the plans for our trips, despite the fact we didn’t talk about it, outline it, or contemplate it.
We confirmed and talked about the available Holy Spirit, getting us through the diagnosis with grace.
“And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. 21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.”—Isaiah 30:20-21