To spend time with those we love is always a good thing … and to begin a Journey such as this staying a week or so with good friends is even better.
Meet Dee & Lon, in Eldred, Pennsylvania … oh, and Penelope, better known as Mama P. Sweet Penelope will always be a puppy at heart … bounding across the floor, hind-end dancing in a joyous greeting, and sloppy kisses bestowed in abandon when you walk in the door. Though a healthy 85 lbs now, Mama P was a rescue, stomach compressed and ribs almost showing bone when found on the streets, nursing her puppies … and she is one of the most loving and grateful dogs I have ever known. Mama P is also a pit bull. Words that strike fear in so many hearts, yet as I lay on the couch with her tail drumming against my stomach in a happy rhythm, her joy in life speaks volumes to the healing power of love and kindness. And also to how we shortchange ourselves when we allow prejudice and judgement into our lives. I’m no different from most … I’ll admit I was nervous and wary when I walked through the door on Wednesday. And when 85 lbs of solid muscle decides to lean against you, you realize the incredible power behind this beautiful creature. But then, as the tail thumps, you also find that it’s the power of love leaning into your heart.
After a day’s rest, duty called on Friday … Dee & Lon own three small restaurants – one, Mia Gelato’s – is also is a bakery – so it was time to stretch this Raven’s wings and learn something new. Crafty, I am not … glue guns strike terror in my heart and somehow I usually end up impaling myself with knitting needles and the like. I’ve honestly never been one to create much more than words on a page or through a lens, but Dee assured me I could handle a pastry bag. It’s wonderful to have friends with such faith in the heavens! 88 lamb cookies were the order of the day, and after the icing was set, it was my turn to dot the “eyes” and curl the “wool”. Though I admit, some look a bit confused and far from perfect, I think they’re not too bad … and I’ve learned a new skill to add to the tool-bag I take with me along the way.
Saturday the woods beckoned and we headed for “Rock City” to meander among the velvety mosses, fanciful pudding-stones, enormous boulders & crevasses left by ancient glaciers. These stalwart slabs were once used as fortresses for the long-ago Native Americans, and no doubt as dens and nests for creatures who still call this woodland home. To stand among megalithic rocks as alive as you & I reminds me of just how very small we are … how time & space, and life itself, has always been, and will continue on eons after we are gone and dispatched as dust. We forget sometimes, I think, that we are simply a tiny part of all that is … not a king, not a ruler; not the first, nor the last to walk through … and I have no doubt the spirits of all those passed before watched as I stood sheltered in a silence punctuated only by the song of the birds and the whispering of the breeze. It was an awesome way to spend the day.