May 1, 2024

Remembering to Seek the Peace.


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This week, the moon has loomed high and white, fully illuminating the jungle, the homes, and the ocean blanketing out beneath her. 

There’s a calmness in the evenings here that is absent during the frenzied heat of the Nicaraguan day.

It may not have been a peaceful month for me or many others (for numerous, frazzling reasons), but tranquil evenings like this under the moonlight slow life down to a trickle. Moments in the night that give me pause to reflect gratefully for what is going well, even if the day has delivered too many things that are not.

The pets seem to love this time of night, too. Roo frolicking in the open grass, and Tino lurking nearby in the bushes. Tino’s efforts to remain a hidden huntress are futile, as her white fur glows in the moonlight, and she’s unwittingly the brightest thing on the ground.

I listen to the familiar nighttime jungle birds, cawing and screeching unseen nearby until an unfamiliar sound suddenly reaches my ears.

Tino and I look up.

Roo is not in sight (she was not gifted with glow-in-the-dark fur like Tino), but I can hear a strange jingling noise not too far away. It sounds like wind chimes. Like hanging, hollow wind chimes being shaken in the dark, moving quickly through the grass in a circle around Tino and me.

Squinting, I can make out the small piece of reflective blue fabric on Roo’s collar. The sound is coming from her, and she is jaunting through the green grass, triumphant in the midnight moonlight.

The confusing and chaotic song of jingle-jangle wind chimes comes closer as Roo does, and then, with sinking horror, I realize the source of the curious nighttime tunes.

Gripped tightly on its spine, or maybe the base of its tailbone, the ribs of an animal skeleton clang against each other as they are jostled and shaken from Roo’s puppy teeth.

Gruesome doesn’t wholly capture this scene.

The joy on Roo’s lively, playful face; the dirty bones dangling and eerily chiming as she prances around me; the moonlight bright and lovely.

What happened to the calm I had ventured out for and the peace I was seeking?

The bones must have once been a possum, judging by the stiff long tail, and the size of the remains. I am grateful the remains were only bones, and it wasn’t a carcass she was so proudly displaying.

Last week, I woke to Tino’s sixth dead bird in my bedroom. The larger feathers I discovered first, then grimly followed the fluffy trail of tiny grey feathers until they led me to Tino’s trophy.

This time, Tino had dropped the bird inside Roo’s open dog crate. She’d placed the poor thing right in the middle of the squishy pink pillow bed I’d made up for Roo.

This is the first bird Tino has delivered since Roo joined our home, and for all the hissing and glaring Tino shoots at Roo, I still wonder if the dead bird from last week was a gift from Tino for Roo. Don’t cats leave dead critters they kill as gifts?

Recalling Tino’s dislike for Roo much of the time, perhaps the dead bird was meant to serve as a warning, not a gift.

I’ll never know. But Roo was all about it, excitedly barking at me as I took her gift away for burial.

Now, days later, watching Roo dart to and fro on the grass with the dead animal she presented, I wondered if Roo took the dead bird as a sign of how to behave. Maybe Tino was teaching Roo the house rules.

So, like much of this past month, moments of predictable peace and order were hijacked by the unexpected. Even quiet moonlit nights that promise calm but instead deliver a dead possum.

I failed to retrieve the possum bones from Roo’s mouth, as she hurried to stash them in the leaf pile under my house with her other chewed-up toys and stolen things. It’s still there now as I type. A nearly complete possum skeleton, and I don’t know what to do about it.

Maybe nothing.

Maybe I retrieve the peace I sought in the moonlit night and don’t let the animal antics worry me.

Maybe I let the thought of the possum skeleton go, as it rests in peace (hopefully) and trust nature will take care of it in time.

And there, friends, is the reflection this gruesome story was meant to deliver. That any worry shaking our lives or trouble we carry in the daylight will be calmed when we offer our trust and time.

When we remember to seek the peace.


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