should have a few gentle hobbies."
King Arthur in the musical "Camelot."
There is a blessing to be found and shared in all experiences. Sometimes, it is
a challenge to remember that fact, and we need a bit of help. My companion
assistants are Wagsy and Poochy, two tiny dogs with very big eyes to see all the
wonders around them. Another companion, which you might think a sad one, is the
arthritis which has transformed my walk to a slow shuffle. However, these three
have joined forces to bring me great happiness.
How do they cooperate in glad endeavor? Every two hours, in rain or shine, Wagsy
and Poochy must be taken out to avail themselves of the possibilities offered by
the patch of garden at the front of my apartment building. Arthritis decrees
that these excursions must be made very slowly. Not to worry, there is so much
to see each time.
Others are often with us in enjoying this beauty. Like us, they are tiny, yet
there is plenty of room for all to smile together. Sparrows flit about the elm,
bees visit the rosemary, squirrels harvest figs in season, and the butterflies
visit all growing things. How lovely are the butterflies, and how enchanting to
watch, as they dance in the air. Wagsy, Poochy, and I stand engrossed in their
ballet, then return home smiling at the memory.
So it was with sadness that I saw a recent television show featuring products
offered for sale as gifts. One of those products was and electronic gadget
shaped like a clear canning jar. Inside it, was a small, colorful plastic
butterfly. Upon tapping the jar lid, the butterfly would move about.
As a former teacher, I had often been presented with what this product sought to
duplicate. A jar with holes punched in the lid, which usually contained a small
amount of water, and perhaps a lettuce leaf, along with its doomed inmate. I
would always and immediately free the prisoner, then use the occasion as a
starting point for a lesson in empathy.
Honestly, I was confounded by these offerings. Did parents imagine that I would
confer some sort of science extra credit for these lazy, casual cruelties? I say
lazy, because they were never accompanied by any sort of written work or
prepared oral presentation about insects.
The only value of a butterfly in a jar is as an inspiration to consider the
value of compassion for the others of G-d's creatures with whom we share his
creation. Life is brief, and it is horrible to consider that the end of such
beauty should come trapped away from joy in the sunshine.
A true present is the one offered by my companions, time and opportunity to
share the blessings around us. Save your money, and take a loved one out for a
walk. Spend some time in gratitude for the gifts we already possess.
Copyright 2011 Eddy Robey