One of the ways I touch God in my life is through animals.
I love animals and I feel a powerful connection to them. This hardly makes me unique, I know. After all, dogs and cats are quite popular.
But one of the great joys in my life has to do with being surrounded by animals of all sorts and seeing them in their element. Seeing a deer on the side of the road is about as exciting to some people as seeing a stop sign, but it never fails to give me a little boost.
I love hearing the mourning doves, the chickadees, and the woodpeckers outside my wondow right now. So small and yet they make such a noise. Hearing the SCREEE of the red-tail hawk echo off the hillside gets my blood moving.
There’s nothing like hearing a pack of coyotes howling at night while you’re lying in bed. Spooky, but so cool.
On the homefront, watching my dog bound in a river to retrieve a stick or seeing my cat sleep in blissful peace on top of the couch brings waves of good feelings.
The other day I saw something I had never seen in the wild.
I was visiting my brother as he was pushing around heaps of his 65 acres with a bulldozer. His property is on a hillside and he was working at the bottom. His road impassable, I got out of my car, said hello, and then walked the half mile up to his house to visit his dogs, read his Sunday paper, and see the fruits of his ‘dozing.
After doing all of those things, I headed down the path. In a shaded area, something crossed the road in front of me. It looked like a housecat, but it was a little bigger and had a bobbed tail. A bobcat! I’ve heard they were around, but I’d never seen one. And now I was pretty sure I had. But the lighting wasn’t great, I was twenty yards away, and I’d only had a second or two before the creature disappeared into the woods.
I walked quietly to where I had seen the cat and slowly entered the woods, hoping to catch another glance. After a few steps, the brush was too thick. I returned to the path, still feeling excited about what I’d seen. I’d proceeded less than twenty feet when I looked back to the woods.
The cat stared directly at me. I had a clear view and he was no more than 20-25 feet away. We locked eyes. This was no housecat. I could feel the presence of a wild animal. For a moment or two, I thought he might charge me. I wasn’t fearful though — he could not have weighed 30 pounds and even with my sandals, I think I coulda taken him.
But he just sat there. Watching me. His short tail twiched a few times. And I studied him — noting his longer coat, whiskers, and that short tail.
A moment later he was bounding through the woods, a combination of running and hopping.
As I walked down to speak with my brother, I knew why I had visited this day… my heart was full and I was thankful for the gift I had been bestowed.
one of my "bobcats" on a lovely June morning…