Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A fine friend at Granddaddy's Barn

I love to get surprised by little things, moments that shake me into awareness and make me stop.  Maybe I'm getting older or maybe it just doesn't take much to wow me, but I think I'll look at it as a keen sense of awareness!

When we go to visit my sweet father-in-law, we are always charmed by simple things, by ways that our life slows down a bit.  We enjoy being together and it seems we take things a little less seriously.  Since the kids were very young, 'the barn' has been a huge part of our visits.  You see, Granddaddy is a woodworker; and more importantly, he allows US to work with his wood!

The kids love being in the barn and so do we.  It is always fun to catch a glimpse of what Granddaddy is working on and to take peak in the back to see some of the pieces he has finished.  Another big fascination for us all is to look at around at what we might use to create out own masterpieces (that term being used here in a loose fashion).

Sometimes Granddaddy is asked to cut a piece of wood for us just so and sometimes we end up using scraps of wonderfulness that we found in his trash!  Once Tim found an oddly shaped scrap with a large hole in the middle.  He used it to fashion one of my favorite gifts ever - it is painted in all sorts of bright colors and says I love you with my hole heart!  It's not just sweet in it's own right, but it always reminds me of the special times we have shared there in that place.

Our children have worked on school projects, Harry has perfected his soapbox derby cars, our niece has worked on campaign signs for student council, Tim and I have worked on pieces to use with the youth group and at camp.  We've done it all.  Mostly, though, we have poked around.  We've poked around and enjoyed.  Sadie, our dog, loves it when we are  at the barn because it gives her lots of time to piddle around and enjoy the wide open spaces and the sunshine.  She has lots to investigate and our barn time affords her the needed time.

We hum at the barn, we sing at the barn, we talk to each other at the barn, and sometimes we just converse with ourselves.  Occasionally we have serious conversations and many times we just flit from one little something to another, as everyone busily hammers and paints.  And Granddaddy even let's us use the POWER TOOLS!  He has awesome and fancy woodworking equipment that transcends the day from a little fun in the barn to I am woman, hear me roar!!!!

Recently, I was in the barn working on painting some wood pieces to make signs.  The kids had come and gone and eventually I was out at the barn alone.  It was a beautiful day, the air was just a tad cool, and I was loving my time.  Sadie was running around and checking back with me every few minutes or so.

I kept noticing something out of the corner of my eye that seemed to be moving.  Every time I would turn to look, I didn't see anything.  After a while, I finally focused quick enough to see a small, dark lizard just at the edge of my work space.  As we are apt to do, I reached over to whisk it away, to give it a little swipe and have the little reptile on its way.

I touched it's tail, scampered my fingers behind it to prod it along and even made a loud noise just in front of it.  Though the little creature seemed a bit bothered by all of that, it didn't scurry away.  It just kept repositioning itself right there, in the sun, upon one of my painted boards.  Harry came out to see what I was up to and became fascinated with the little lizard for a bit.  He, too, messed with it in that way that says, "move along now, go ahead."  "No," said the lizard, "I'm not leaving."

A while later, Granddaddy came back out to check on a piece he was working on, and he became fascinated with my little friend.  He stroked the lizard's back, trying to move it along.  "No," said the lizard, "I'm not leaving."

I kept painting, humming to myself from time to time, and the little lizard stayed right there with me.  I began to wonder if the creature was all right, and I busied myself trying to find out whether or not it was aware of it's surroundings.  Yep, it was.  Didn't really want me to mess with it.  Didn't want to be moved.  If I poked it's tail in one direction, it looked up at me (as if to say, "why must we go through all of this?") and then just found a new piece of wood.

Each time the little creature moved, it found a spot where it could watch me.  It's little lizard head, all neckless and squatty, would move to keep it's eyes right on me.  When I moved from the painting area to fetch something else, the little eyes would follow me until I got right back to where I was supposed to be and begin again to watch me paint.

After a bit (longer than I want to admit), it finally dawned on me that maybe I was supposed to enjoy this little friend from the wild; maybe I wasn't meant to be so busy trying to get it back to where it came from.  I loosened up a smidge and began to enjoy the little, beady eyes watching.  I sort of laughed to myself at the whole scene - it was a bit odd.

I decided to think of the little guy (I just cannot say it anymore) as my friend, and I sort of quietly narrated to him what I was doing.  Just like any good student, my little scaly buddy watched intently and listened.  He might have been worrying about mundane things like grocery lists or when to meet back up with his family, but it certainly didn't seem that way.  It looked to me like the lizard was using this moment to get out of his ordinary in the same way I was using it to get out of mine.  We were friends.

I didn't get his email address or any contact information; though, I must admit, I'd love to see him again.  I was forced to take it for what it was . . . a chance meeting between two of God's creatures, right in the midst of their everydayness.

I have no idea why that lizard was more interested in my painting session than the rest of his friends.   I can't explain why he stayed.  I'm just glad he did.  I am glad that he came and stayed, regardless of the well-intentioned prodding of all of us, and I am happy that he and I shared a moment.

The visit took me out of reality; threw a bit of oddness into a day, and got me thinking.  He had me wondering and remembering and savoring.  He made me think, made me forget about the 'to-dos' in my head and took me to a different place, if only for twenty minutes.

In some ways, I wondered if photographing my friend would some-how take away the specialness of the chance meeting, but then I decided I just couldn't help it.  Somehow, I didn't want the event to be something folks just went 'wow' about - I wanted you to really SEE my little friend.  This lizard wasn't going to be my white dog, as in Terry Kay's To Dance with the White Dog.  My friends from the 'real world' needed a picture!

I still cannot explain the encounter; I only know that I appreciated it.  It made me snap into awareness of all that is spectacular around me, and I am always thankful for friends who help me do that.

And now, I'm even surer than before, that all of creation loves art!

What has surprised you lately?  Anything knocked you out of your comfort zone and taken you to a different space?

And, now, I must announce the winner of yesterday's MONDAY MORNING - WHAT IS IT? contest.  You all were on it!

This was the photo . . .

And, this is what it was . . .

And the winner, chosen at random from the correct guesses, is Elizabeth T.!  Way to go, my friend!  You have a free photo session to be used within a month!

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