I did not want to mow down the chicory growing on the two foot wide strip of land between our fence and road.  We had cut the lawn all summer until recently.  I noted a row almost an hundred feet long of blue flowers.  The plants were about two and half feet high.  It looked as if we planted them.  I never paid much attention to chicory before.  And I know the plant is a weed found everywhere.  Nevertheless, the row of blue flowers were beautiful.  Both my wife and I agreed to leave them alone.

My wife said Pax, our Rottweiler mix, was lying in the same spot for at least three hours. I tried to get a rise out of him but he would not move: his eyes just followed me. We did not understand it. We thought that, maybe, he had a stroke. I feared for his life.

He had a biscuit that lay right next to his mouth untouched. I was afraid I would wake up next morning and he would still be in the same spot dead. In the middle of the night I awoke and noted he had moved. I cheered. He was still alive. He was now walking very gingerly on one rear leg.

He has arthritis and is twelve years old. I thought he just got “old” all of a sudden. I remembered the vet once told me he could be given aspirin for pain. I called the vet’s office and they said for a dog his size (he weighed ninety pounds) I could give him an aspirin and an half twice a day.

He responded to the aspirin right away. He perked up almost immediately. Now he would run into the kitchen for the dogs’ nightly biscuit. He once ran into the furthest reaches of the yard to bark at someone from his favorite spot. His recovery was remarkable. Both of us were thrilled.

I have known Pax my whole marriage–over nine years. He is one intimidating dog. I remember in the beginning he once followed me into the bathroom and I asked my fiancee, “What is he doing now?”

I realized now he is only on loan to me and I needed to appreciate him more now. No dog lives forever.

It was sixty-one degrees and there was a mist in the air–only briefly. And I praised the Lord! After several heat waves this weather was a real treat. The rain drops hitting my skin was soothing and a relief. There will be more heat waves before the summer will be up but today I will consider to be a gift even if a blue sky never appears.

My wife said our dog was in the same spot for the last three hours. I approached him and he hardly moved. His eyes followed me so I knew he was still alive. I was afraid I would wake up the next morning and he would be dead. I found out in the middle of the night he was no longer there. I was thrilled: that was a good sign. Even the biscuit that had been lying untouched by his mouth was gone. He is twelve years old and still manages (despite his arthritic knees) to run to the other side of the yard. He may have gotten old all of a sudden. He was in the yard today not in a prone position but slightly sitting up. It is summer and our four dogs are not that perky. I love Pax but no pet lives forever. I would really miss him.

It was a small thing but it gave me joy. I moved a gerbera daisy and it responded to its new location by giving out two yellow flowers. The flowers would have shriveled up in the old location. We had another such plant and it died. Every time I look at the flowers I smile. Such a small event in my day but it gave me much pleasure.

Sometimes battles are fought in private. And courage is demonstrated behind closed doors. The battlefields are far away from others. Fears have to be faced all alone. Of course, one can share their struggles but the person’s determination tips the scales. Courage is demonstrated every day. And you have no idea what someone else is facing. Sometimes one is “locked” up in a house. They are afraid to leave their comfortable surroundings. And it took every bit of their will to go out and associate with others. Courage has many faces. And being on a battlefield and facing bullets and bombs is only one place courage is displayed. Courage appears every day often in the common person and often the struggles are fought alone so be kind to the strangers you meet. They may need every bit of your encouragement.

The two does stared at me for a long second or two and then vanished into the woods. One had crossed the road ten feet away and the other was on my right five feet in the woods. They had come from the direction of the neighboring farm.

What was unusual was the spot I saw them in: in nine years this was only the third deer I had seen in this large tract of woods (several acres) adjacent to my property.

I was glad I wasn’t driving too fast. I live on the edge of country. Further down a big black bird was in the middle of the road. It turned out to be the common turkey vulture. They feast on all the roadkill along with the crows and the other scavengers.

I never paid any attention to it. The big trees in our yard are all white pines. The one in front of our window we hang bird feeders from and see a constant parade of visitors. But that is not the tree I am going to talk about. There is a gigantic white pine outside our large wooden fence. Lately I would occasionally stare at it realize (???) it could be over an hundred years old. It is massive, easily the oldest tree on our property. I have lived here ten years and never paid much attention to it. It is massive and might have seen the beginning of the twentieth century. It is definitely older than me. I could only guess at its age. It is a treasure on our property and all I can do is occasionally walk back there and open my mouth in awe and stare at it and peer at all its gnarled branches and imagine its age.

I had just put it back my hummingbird feeder after filling it with nectar and the wire holding it up broke. A hummingbird came within inches of me. It must have been waiting for the sugar water. The hummingbirds liked this feeder. I had a second one set up fifteen feet away and they never used that one. I did discover the top of my feeder came off and I looped a wire through the whole (???hole), made a knot and attached the end of the wire to the end of a broken dog leash and then was in business. I was thrilled I had fixed my hummingbird feeder.

No matter what I did there would be times I would displease my partner. Of course, if it happened continuously there was something gravely the matter between the two us. We simply had to work it out whenever possible. It also meant I had to forgive my partner for not living up to my expectations. We were still two separate individuals and hopefully bridged the gap between us often enough to bond to one another. We are all imperfect and flawed. Marriage vows enable you to ride out the rough stretches between you.

Every time I had a fight with my girl friend I used to think our relationship was over. I had to learn a fight meant there was something that had to be worked out. Of course, I had to learn how to fight fairly and not attack my partner in the process. Sometimes when the argument became too heated, I had to wait until both of us calmed down. I was not always good about that. I had to learn to wait awhile before continuing the discussion, again.

I spotted the box turtle crossing our road. I had not seen one near our house in several years. I shouted out to my “other” so she could run out and see the six inch turtle. Occasionally in the past another turtle would show up at our doorsteps but this one was a little smaller. When the turtle saw us, it scurried across the road and hid behind our garbage cans. We briefly saw it between two cans. We left it alone and it vanished. I always wonder how old it might have been. My guess it was at least twenty years old. We don’t see them too often in front of our house. There is a small creek in back. It came from our neighbor’s yard. You never know when you will see them. They are reclusive: they usually run away from you. I just make sure when I see one in the road, they make it safely to the other side. It is amazing how quickly they can run once they catch sight of you.