I live at a place called Buffalo Springs Lake. Part of Yellow House Canyon, it’s a topographical aberration in the endless miles of flatness that is the South Plains of Texas.
My backyard is anything but manicured lawn and white picket fence. It’s a rough, undeveloped incline of rocks, trees, mesquite, and cactus leading up to the canyon wall.
Because it’s secluded, people never knock on my back door. But I get lots of visitors.
Critters love my backyard.
Several years ago I came around the corner to find a large snake enjoying the slow drip from my water faucet. The way it was coiled I couldn’t tell whether or not I should be afraid. And I wasn’t about to get close to find out.
I called my cousin Jack. “How can you tell if it’s a rattler?” He said, “By the head and the tail.” I told him I couldn’t see either end. He laughed and I waited till it decided to slither up the hill. A 4-foot long Bull Snake. One of the good ones.
There’s a pair of Cardinals that live here. Skittish and not known for hanging out long, they fly around front to join the Red Winged Blackbirds and House Finches for some sunflower seeds but quickly return to the cover of the trees out back.
Raccoons, armadillos, skunks, tarantulas, opossums, and the occasional deer all pass through on their way to somewhere.
Then there’s my friend the fox. In the summer he visits most every evening right before dark. I think I’m on his night shift route. He will stop, sniff, and look around. Sometimes he will sit and rest for a bit before trotting off in search of dinner.
As I watch my fox friend it occurs to me that though the critter visits are momentary, they are significant. It gives me great joy to watch the fox. His sleek fur and long, bushy tail. The keen eyes.
And I laugh watching the mama raccoon leading her little masked bandits through the grass and up the tree.
They’re all just passing through. But they leave a happy trail.
You and I, we are critters of a different kind. Yet we too are just passing through. I wonder what kind of a trail we’re leaving?
Maybe it’s coincidence. Or maybe it’s a God thing. But it seems never to fail that the Cardinals show up on a day where I’m discouraged and weary of the ugliness in the world. They may sit on the stump for only 15 seconds, but it’s 15 seconds of brilliant, beautiful scarlet red that stands out against the brown. A reminder that God’s beauty is always around us, though it sometimes seems hidden.
We don’t have to be long somewhere to make an impact. In our “passing through” moments are we leaving a trail of smiles? Of laughter? Of encouragement? Of kind words and actions? Of relief?
It’s a truth about relationships that when we meet people, we either leave them better or worse, but we never leave them the same. As you walk away from the person who just handed you your receipt, did your 15 seconds leave them better? When you return to your cubicle after that quick conversation with a co-worker, are they better for the talking?
As we’re passing through, let’s purpose to be the beautiful that stands out. Let’s leave people better and not worse. We don’t have to be long somewhere to make an impact.
Leave a happy trail.
“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
– Proverbs 16:24
Todd A. Thompson – One Eye Out
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This Post Has One Comment
Thanks for the reminder, Todd! Such good writing!