Tell Me a Story about … deer!

8-9-18 C (2)I love this photo taken by our daughter Faith. First, I think the photo itself showcases her photography gifting. Second, I enjoy the walks we take in the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, also called Pine Creek Gorge, where she took this photo. And finally, I love it because I love the whitetail deer!

If asked my favorite sport, I’d say, “Spotting deer.” As evening falls at the cabin, most of us start changing clothes and getting flashlights and cameras ready for one of the most fun parts of our day. In the higher mountains, cooler air from a rolled-down window brings a chill not there during the day, so shorts and T-shirts are exchanged for jeans and sweatshirts. In my childhood and part of our daughters’, we would need heavy coats and gloves to keep warm enough. Global warming, I suppose. Smaller children get pajamas so they can transition to bed easier once we get back.

Discussions come next about who rides in whose car. Young people prefer to ride together so they can chat; older people prefer the luxury of space to sit in comfort. And the rest, well, they get shoved in here and there. Then we pick where to start for drivers to know the route for the caravan. Do we begin on “Alan’s Road,” so dubbed after my Uncle Alan bought his own camp on it? Or take a chance at seeing a bear near Lyman Lake before it got dark?

Last, arguments break out if there are any youth along about whose turn it is to use the spotlight. This coveted position gives the one spotting the best view of the deer or bear or porcupine or, if certain people are along, a yeti (for those who believe in that story or to scare those who don’t).

My excitement equals that of the youngest spotters as we turn onto the first dirt road. 8-9-18 EWatching the spotlight or the headlights, depending on our seat in the car, we wait for glimpses of shining eyes in the spotlight or some critter crossing the road in front of us. I never lose the delight of a doe’s warm eyes if close enough to see them or of the white spots dotting the tiny fawns. I never tire of using the binoculars to see if the deer sports antlers to excite the hunters in the car. And I never forget the count … um, was that fifty-two or fifty-three … oh well, maybe I do. 

God blessed us with an amazing world full of animals to watch and care for and love. To me, the sight of deer frolicking in a meadow or stretching their graceful necks to reach the apples on the tree will never fail to bring a smile and fill my day with an extra measure of joy.

*** Did you ever go spotting deer? Tell us about your times or about another “deer” story you have in mind. Click on the words beside the date of this post. Scroll down to the box with the heading, “Leave a reply.” Thank you for sharing!

*** If you leave a comment, check back for my reply to it. I always respond to comments!

*** Next week, in honor of back-to-school, I’ll share a story from our homeschool days!

Tell Me a Story about … a Flashlight

Every child remembers his first flashlight. His thoughts may have gone something like this: How long do batteries last? How bright will it shine in my bedroom? I can read in the dark after I go to bed! Mom won’t see the light if I hide under the covers! How long do batteries last?6-11-18 Main

Although I don’t recall many different flashlights when I was young, today’s stores abound with them. Pink ones to delight a little girl’s heart. Camouflage for hunters. Some connect to keychains to shine on locks at night, and some include flashers to signal emergencies.

As for uses, giving light in the dark remains most important. Who wants to bump into walls and furniture while navigating at night to the bathroom?

And what about flashlight tag? What fun to stay up after dark, make sure our flashlights have fresh batteries, step outside, and turn off all other forms of light. Then, we walk quietly to hide—not running as in normal tag—while the person who is “it” listens. When she hears a noise, she switches on her flashlight and tries to catch another player in its beam.

However, my favorite memories come from spotting deer on vacation—driving back roads after dark, shining your spotlight over fields and deep into forests to catch unsuspecting deer. Mom sat in the passenger seat and used the regular spotlight plugged into the cigarette lighter. On the driver’s side, Dad used the power from his heavy, 4-cell, silver flashlight to spot his side. (Don’t worry, he was only driving five m.p.h. on dirt roads!)

Sometimes, Dad relinquished the flashlight to my brothers or me, sparking wars over which side we’d sit on each night: the passenger’s to maybe use the real spotlight or the driver’s side and get the chance to use Dad’s silver flashlight. And woe to the one who wound up in the middle seat!

I can still f6-11-18 Aeel the steely cold of that flashlight as Dad handed it to me and the chill from the rush of wind as I wound down my window. It took two hands to steady it while sticking it out the window to shine into the woods or fields. And what joy to spot a deer and shout, “There’s one!”

Although Dad told us not to waste our batteries, we tried to use our own flashlights to penetrate the darkness, but their beams only reached the edge of the road. By the time we returned to the cabin, they gave off only dim light, and disobedience didn’t usually warrant new batteries.

Just like me. If I fill my inner light with power from God’s Word, I shine brightly, and others can see Jesus in me. But if I go my own way, trusting my own “batteries,” I grow dim, and His light is hidden from those who need it most. But just like my dad, God smiles at His wayward child and opens a “fresh pack,” giving me the power to shine my light, His light, once more.

*** Did you ever have your own flashlight as a child? Did you use it to read at night? What happened when your batteries ran out? Tell us your story! Click on the words beside the date of this post. Scroll down to the box with the heading, “Leave a reply.” Thank you for sharing!

*** What pets have you loved throughout your life? Any unusual ones? Let’s share about our pets in next week’s blog post!

 

Walking – Part 1

          To someone who thinks horses should come equipped with seatbelts and to whom a bicycle still needs training wheels, walking is a joy. Peace and fitness, solitude and companionship, moonlight and cool breezes. Let’s walk through almost six decades together and see where it takes us!

          We’ll start in the 1960s, most of which I spent walking the brick sidewalks of Harrisburg, PA. We often visited one set of grandparents a street away. This took us past a corner store, where my brothers and I pressed our noses against the cool glass of the candy case. We placed our nickels on the wooden counter and made our choices. So many scrumptious candies tempted us: marshmallow-topped ice cream cones, colored liquid-filled wax bottles, candy necklaces. We clutched our tiny bags full of delectables and trotted the rest of the way, with a promise of one piece when we got there. That part of the walk always seemed so long; I wonder why ….

          During the 1970s, we spent summer vacations in the mountains of Potter County, PA. Ah, long walks along forest trails … crawling over falle5-7-18n bug-encrusted trees, slipping on moss-covered rocks, brushing spider webs off our faces. But oh, the vistas we reached overlooking valleys and glistening brooks. And my favorite reason to walk the woods–the wildlife: deer flicking their white tails and racing through the hemlocks and grouse taking flight when we startled them. My heart thrills whenever a forest path shows up, even in photos.

          For two years in the 1980s, my husband and I lived in a development on the border of Columbus, OH. Evening strolls around our neighborhood or one of the metro parks became our lifeline to sanity. We walked our cares away, holding hands, straining to ignore the hustle, focusing on the moment … or was that holding our dog’s leash in both hands, straining to keep her from chasing the numerous squirrels teasing her, fo5-7-18 Bcusing on keeping her from dropping “presents” in anyone’s yard?

          The trail in our favorite metro park bordered Ripple Rock Creek. While walking these parks built within the city limits, we could forget we lived so near downtown. We couldn’t hear the noise of the highway. The creek, named for its rippled rocks, filled our country-loving souls with a sense of home. We even brought one of the rocks back with us as a reminder of this little place of peace.

 ***We’ll have to continue our journeys next week, but for now, where have your walks taken you? Please take us along on one … or more! To leave your story, click on the words beside the date under the title of this post. Then, scroll to the bottom of the comment section to find the box with the heading, “Leave a reply.” Thank you for sharing!

 *** Next Monday we’ll see how the onset of serious health issues almost destroyed my joys of walking. Join me and see what we found on another walk—a bear hunt!