There’s nothing like waking up on a frigid morning, listening to the “song dogs” in the distance calling their companions back to the den, having a cup of hot coffee while watching the fire dance in the stove.
You go out to the barn, and as you look up at the stars, your horse is expelling that deliciously fragrant breath into the cold morning air as you open the stall door. It’s as joyful a thing now as it was the first day with that first horse.
You look around at junipers, pines, and cedars in the dim dawn light and think you are certainly in a wondrous place, beautiful in all four sacred directions.
Back in the house, there’s the smell of the coffee and burning sage, and the soft hello in the eyes of three good dogs who greet you again as if you had been gone for a week, and not just the time it took to deliver a hot bran mash. They have no idea when it’s Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, or Solstice. They just treat every day as new adventure, or an old one.
Our relationships with all these things – rocks, stars, trees, animals, and each other, are important and not to be taken lightly. When we tread on the sensibilities of the earth, we lessen the future for our children. When we get angry with a dog, we teach our children anger, perhaps against one another, too.
When things like dogs, coyotes, or the smell of horse breath don’t matter anymore, we have lessened our own place in the world – because we are all related and interdependent. As you celebrate whatever you celebrate this time of year, make the dogs important, take time to smell an evergreen, look up at the stars…relax and understand. Listen and you will not fear a coyote’s howl, you will hear “song dogs” sing and be glad they are not gone. Look, and you will smell pitch and needles and see the homes of birds, and be glad that the trees have not all been chopped down. Stand close and you will feel horse breath on your cheek and be glad that there really is an old friend still nearby if ever there is an end to oil.
Everything depends on your perspective. No wonder they chose a stable…