Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Almonds in the Grass

Have you ever tried to find a needle in a haystack?  How about a four-leaf clover in a clover patch? What about an almond in the grass? I know, right?  Who looks for almonds in the grass? And what are the chances, that if you drop one in tall grass in a 1 acre yard that you will find it again, especially after wandering all over the yard once you tossed it from your mouth (yes, mouth).

Such was the case with Zeddicus the Wonder Dog, and I.  Well, actually, he’s not a wonder dog, he is more of a doofy dog, but you just gotta love him.  He has a spirit that soars.  I watch all 100 lbs of him chase cars from sun up until sundown.  He covers every single inch of our fenced, 1 acre yard.  I honestly believe he has covered more of this yard in 3 summers than I have in 26 years.

When Jim is working in the yard, Zed will follow right at his heels.  Jim sets a tool down; Zed picks it up with his mouth and follows.  Jim is always saying how he wishes Zed had opposable thumbs, he is certain he would join in, in everything we do.  (Psst: Just between us, I think Jim really wanted those thumbs last week when he was calking the exterior walls of our log home)…..

Every time I head out to feed the chickens Zed loves to greet me on the back steps and walk to the chicken house with me.  I open the door to walk into their yard to throw them some scratch and he waits until the chickens come near the door then he thrusts his head through in an instant, sending chickens squawking and scattering about the yard.  He then retracts his head from the doorway and I swear I hear him laughing.  He does it every day, without fail!

Zed is pretty remarkable, and I think there are many lessons to be learned from him.  He has learned to tolerate others in a way I find hard to do some days.  For instance: Austin was recently home from college and walked into the back yard to head out to the man cave.  It was a little after midnight, and we heard a scream.  Austin came flying in the house (screaming like a little girl).  Apparently Zed was sitting on the back porch with his pet skunk.  I think Zed got sprayed, once.  After that he realized it was easier to cohabitate with the skunk and share his food each night rather than try to shoo him away.  They have an odd little friendship and they even play together.  It’s pretty cool to watch them.  They play, they rest, they tease and no one gets hurt :0)

I got his summer pool out the other day and he has passes the time by playing in it, lying in it, and drinking from it.  When we bought the pool the summer we got him, Zed weighed 20 lbs and the pool swallowed him up.  Here, 3 years and 80 lbs later, Zed still acts as though he’s a puppy playing in his pool.  It’s rather fun to watch. 

But what does all of this have to do with an almond?  So, yesterday I walk out of the house and I’m munching on my daily handful of almonds.  Zed approaches me with eagerness and begs for an almond.  I had never given him one so I sat it in my hand.  He sniffed it and snatched it from my hand running gleefully into the yard, tossing it into the air, having it land in the grass, never to be seen again.

“That’s the end of that," I said to myself.  (Mental note, never give Zed almonds again, he wastes them.)  He was completely uninterested in the almond because I was headed to the chicken pen.  We walked through the grass, performed our morning ritual (those dumb old chickens never learn about the Zed scare), and headed back to the house.  I came in, had another cup of coffee and started about my day.

Having to go back outside for something, I noticed something peculiar.  Sitting on the top step near the back door, was - you guess it, an almond.  Like a token of appreciation, or like a dandelion flower offering I used to get from my boys, there sat the beautiful, uneaten almond that had been lost earlier in the grass. 

I stood amazed! How, in a yard the size of mine, with country grass, (not that manicured city stuff) but tall, wild, dense, country grass – Zed had gone back out and found something that he knew I had paid attention to, even when I was certain he hadn’t.

I started laughing and he rounded the corner of the house, pleased that I had noticed his offering.  As I was laughing, God reminded me of something -  a favorite verse of mine. Thy word I have hid my heart, that I might not sin against thee.  Psalm 119:11

Like Zed’s almond, or his chew bones that get squirreled away somewhere, so are the things I gleen when I read my bible, or the things I learn from God in or daily wanderings.  Zed is able to go and find something so small, so obscure, something that was lost in a sea of grass.  God’s teachings are the same.  When I study and read His word, when I hide them in my heart, I am able to extract them in times when I need reminding of just how Great He is, or how He is always with me. In remembering these things it keeps me on a path with my creator that I like walking down.  A path that keeps me close to Him, conscious of my decisions and choices I make, remembrances of why I don’t want to sin, because I want to please my creator, much the same as Zed wanted to please me.

In watching Zed I realize how much I can learn from him. Like his chasing the illusive car. I to, do frivolous things, just because I can. Or with his chicken scare, I love a good daily laugh.  I don’t lay in an ice cold pool, but a  hot bath brings comfort to my soul. And, I try to be helpful, and I am learning to play well with others and accept their differences, even if they stink up the room from time to time.

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