Sunday, 21 September 2014

Moments of Joy

On an early September day in rural Ontario, I walked across a parking lot toward my car, and heard a sound that swept me back to my childhood, an unmistakable crowing. There had to be a rooster nearby. When I looked around I glimpsed the roof and wire mesh of a chicken coop in a neighbouring field. 

Although I grew up in the farming village of Markham, we lived in an ordinary house on Main St. with no resident animals but a cocker spaniel. One Easter my dear father arrived home with my surprise gift, a dozen yellow chicks from who-knows-where. He must have been as impulsive and sentimental as I. How I wish he had lived beyond my teenage years so that we could have discovered more traits in common.
The box full of feathered, chirping babies delighted my little girl self. I doubt my mother was as thrilled, especially as, one by one the fluff-balls expired, until there were only two survivors. But those two grew into my rooster pets, who cocka-doodle-doo-ed from a pen in our backyard for a few years. The familiar sound surprising me 50 years later in a parking lot brought back happy memories.
One vacation morning at a small-town public library, I was enjoying the use of free computers, taking a break from the “back to the earth” lifestyle at our ancient family cottage where there’s neither television nor internet. Libraries often feel like sacred sanctuaries and I was content. 
My bliss only deepened when the library door opened and a little boy entered, clutching a tiny dog in his thin arms, a miniature leash dragging free. I savored the sight of the two sweet puppies, precious in the eyes of God.
During a relaxed, outdoor breakfast the lakeside peace was blasted by a long, loud yell, “Aaaaaargh!
Someone was in real pain. I leapt from my Muskoka chair to see if the shouting man needed help and a beautiful young husky dog came running into our cottage yard. 
A voice called, “Catch her, please!!! She won't bite. She’s not dangerous.”
What had sounded like dreadful injury turned out to be howled frustration.
The blue-eyed pup ran in circles around me, gaily wagging her tail and avoiding my reaching arms. 
"Please try and grab her!"
Finally I snatched a piece of cheese off my plate of morning toast to lure her near and was able to grip her collar. 
Seconds later a sweating young guy staggered onto the property, panting with gratitude. His dog, “Toby,” had somehow escaped her leash and taken her owner on an exhausting chase twice as long as his intended dog-walk.
After he caught his breath and expressed a dozen thankyou's, we had a commiserating laugh together – okay, I was the only one laughing. I patted them both on their way.