NEWS FROM THE HILLS

Alyce Faye BraggYellow and black swallowtail butterflies hover above the Rose of Sharon bush which is so loaded with double blossoms that the boughs are drooping downward. It does resemble a giant rose bush, with a mass of heavy, deep pink blooms. Although it is mid July, it is beginning to look more and more like autumn.

The seasons seem to have begun earlier this year, with wildflowers blooming sooner than usual and garden crops maturing quicker. The melancholy cry of the katydids has been sounding for the past two weeks, and the fall cicadas make their mournful sound each nightfall.

Time just doesn’t fly by—it gallops. Sometimes I feel as if I am on a runaway horse and can’t get off. Spring just arrived, and now it feels like late summer galloping into autumn. I received a poem from the Rev. Dr. H. J. Rogers of New Martinsville that I thought was very good.

SPRING FORWARD

“Behold the lilies of the field . . .”

It’s late June, I think

Near the end of spring

That every roadside

(Or so it seems)

Is lined with

Those pale orange lilies,

Which mark

The end of spring

Or the start of summer.

 

For two, maybe three

Weeks, I cut them down

And bring them home,

A cheap boon

For wife and daughter.

 

Then, just as suddenly

As they sprang into existence

They as quickly disappear.

So I am left bereft

Of those things of joy,

Beauty’s not forever.

 

I am still learning that everything you can see, hold in your hands, or cling to in this life—can’t last. Our loved ones who are so precious to us don’t really belong to us—they belong to God. When He is ready, He will call them home. It is useless to place our faith or base our security on material things, which will fade away.

The Bible is very specific in this, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and thieves do not break through and steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

And so our life goes along, just like the seasons, seemingly faster and faster—especially as we grow older. It’s not a straight road, but has many curves and obstacles. It is an uphill journey, and sometimes we grow tired and weary. (Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Gal. 6:9.)  There are also many blessings and unexpected joys along the way.

Here is a poem I’ve always loved:

UP-HILL

Does the road wind up-hill all the way?

Yes, to the very end.

Will the day’s-journey take the whole long day?

From morn to night, my friend.

 

But is there for the night a resting-place?

A roof for when the slow dark hours begin?

May not the darkness hide it from my face?

You cannot miss that inn.

 

 

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?

Those who have gone before.

Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?

They will not keep you waiting at that door.

 

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?

Of labor you shall find the sum.

Will there be beds for me and all who seek?

Yea, beds for all who come.

By Christina Georgina Rossetti

 

There was a sad sequel to the column about dogs that I wrote a few weeks ago. Andy and Jennifer had a Jack Russell terrier named Rowdy that was the special pet of the whole family. He was especially close to Andy, who took him just about everywhere he went. He loved riding on the farm equipment and accompanied Andy while he did farm chores.

He was docile with the family, but quite protective of his territory. He stayed with us during the day in cold weather while the children were in school and Andy and Jennifer worked. He would perch on the couch arm and watch for his family to come home. Then he would practically dance with joy when they came in the house.

He was a smart dog. When the family watched TV and had their snacks before bedtime, he would go to the pantry and bring Andy a can of food. To begin with, he might bring soup or canned beans, but he soon learned to distinguish the canned dog food. If Andy ignored him, or pretended to, he would nudge Andy’s arm until he opened it for him.

They had him for over four years, and he was part of the family. They even took him on vacation when they went. He often slept at the foot of Taylor’s bed, and one morning a few weeks ago, she came down here complaining that she hadn’t slept good that night. “Rowdy snored all night long,” she griped.

His snoring got worse, and he began making a rattling noise when he breathed. Andy took him to the animal hospital, and the veterinarian examined him and told Andy that he had “prolapse of the trachea.” There was nothing could be done short of surgery, and it was not always successful because the trachea could collapse in another place.

The next day he couldn’t eat or drink water. It was heart-breaking. He was suffering, so Criss called Andy at work to come take him to the animal hospital. The vet advised Andy to have him put to sleep. Andy held him until the shot took effect and brought him home for burial.

Criss make him a little cedar casket, and amid many tears they buried him under the weeping willow tree. Andy was so heartbroken that he stated he would never get attached to another dog. A couple of weeks passed, and Jennifer and Taylor brought home a four pound ball of energy. He is a four-month old sleek black miniature Pinscher named Jasper.

Jennifer explained, “We didn’t want another Jack Russell, as it would remind us too much of Rowdy.” They certainly got a complete opposite. He bounces through the house like he has springs on his feet, and cuddles close to your neck and goes to sleep. I don’t know if Andy will get attached to him or not, but I am!

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Alyce Faye Bragg

She writes the "News From the Hills" column. Born and raised in the country, and still lives on the same farm where she was raised. Has a sincere love for nature and the beauty of the hills. Began writing in 1981 & currently has three books published. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer