The old man must have stopped our car
two dozen times to climb out
and gather into his hands
the small toads blinded
by our lights and leaping,
live drops of rain.
The rain was falling,
a mist about his white hair
and I kept saying
you can't save them all.
accept it, get back in
we've got places to go.
But, leathery hands full
of wet brown life,
knee deep in the summer
he just smiled and said
they have places to go,
~ Joseph Bruchac
Even when you are hurrying off to Someplace Very Important it's polite to help a friend safely across the road. We saw this turtle last weekend on a country highway and I couldn't bear to drive by. Turtles aren't known for their speed nor their car-dodging skills, so I did a quick U-turn and we hopped out to move this friend and learn a bit about turtles at the same time.
I've always had a soft spot for animals in my heart. So has my great-aunt Lois. She was a woman with a deep connection to animals beyond anyone else I've ever known. Dogs, cats, wild animals near and far – she was connected to their pulse of life and the emotions of their experiences.
I read the poem above at her 80th birthday. It spoke to her spirit.
Back then she referred to death as "When the big foot comes" as though she were an ant rather than an aunt. Back then she was still independent, still at home, still had her sparkle and her sharp wit. That was 14 years ago.
The day I too the photograph above was a hot summer day a couple of years back. Aunt didn't get out on walks often so when we would visit we'd get her sunhat and hit the streets of a town she knew so well. That day she didn't want to stop exploring her old haunts so despite the heat we kept rolling for hours, block by block through the town she'd known since she was a girl. We literally walked until we ripped a front wheel off of her wheel chair. We laughed so hard on our way back to the nursing home that it was hard for me to stay upright.
I have been thinking about my great-aunt Lois a lot these past few weeks. She turned 95 last month. This past friday she passed away. We are heading up the road to say our final goodbye and spend some time with family.
I have some re-posts scheduled until after I return. I hope you enjoy them.
We love you, Aunt Lois. Blessings on your journey.