Worldly worry always seeks to lead a human being into the small-minded unrest of comparisons, away from the lofty calmness of simple thoughts. Soren Kierkegaard
My wife and I were out for a walk the other day and had just about returned home when a passing motorist warned us to be careful as there was a mother moose and her calf just a few doors up the street. Being the nature lover that I am, and knowing there is nothing more dangerous than a wild animal protecting her off-spring, I decided immediately to go check it out.
We figuratively flew into the house (as I would never “literally” run), where I grabbed my camera so I could digitally chronicle our latest adventure. Yes, the Call of the Wild beckons, and woe betide the one who misfortunately deigns to get in the way!
We hopped into our car (more like a tin box on roller skates than armored personnel carrier, but (alas) it is what it is). I was confidant it would give us time to vamoose if things got ugly (and, yes, moose ARE fairly ugly, to be sure). I was also pretty sure the momma moose would have to stop laughing before she could give chase for the sake of her darling little baby, so there WAS that.
It seemed awfully silly to drive a hundred feet or so from our house to where the moose were purported to be cavorting (yet, it really was the wise thing to do), and lo and behold: there they were! The good news is that both creatures were relaxing well off the road, so danger was pretty minimal.
My camera has a decent telephoto lens, so I was able to snap a few shots that, for an action junkie like me, were pretty snooze-inducing. Still, there is no thrill like seeing a moose up close and personal.
It was ironic as we’d gone out on what I had intended to be a “photo safari” a day or so earlier, always on the hunt for breath-taking scenery and creatures of the wild, but had been pretty much skunked on both counts. Much to our disappointment, there just wasn’t anything “out there” to be captured on film or memory card.
Instead, it turned out we had to come home to capture the excitement of real life critters that amuse, (a-moose?), and amaze.
I shouldn’t have been so surprised, of course. We have it on good authority by no less a figure than Dorothy that “there is no place like home.” She said it, I believe it, and so that settles it! Unfortunately, there were no lions, tigers, or bears (oh my), but there was the moose, and that, as they say, was that.
Life is funny that way; it seems we humans go looking for fun and exhilaration – searching high and low, hither, thither, and yon – while the greatest delights are so often to be found right here where we dwell.
When all the excitement was over and world order restored, I found myself looking back on all we had seen and done and discerned that there was one thing that had been left undone – one thing left untended in all the hub-bub and unbridled haste with which we had scrambled to “get our shot” – the kindness of a stranger – a neighbor – who had bothered to stop and warn us of danger lying unseen around a corner.
I am sure she does not think of herself as an angel of mercy or a messenger sent by God, yet she demonstrated that very characteristic by which the people of God are often measured: thoughtfulness and compassion. She did not drive past, she slowed and stopped; she didn’t stop, pull out her cell-phone, and prepare to capture the potential carnage for the evening news, she warned us of the dangers.
I am sure we thanked her for the alert, but in our haste I am just as sure my thoughts were more about getting my camera than a heart-felt appreciation that we have such a good neighbor (and live in a community filled with such good neighbors).