Words, life and loss

Terrific. Radiant. Humble.

Perhaps these words sound familiar. They are the words that Charlotte A. Cavatica created to save her friend Wilbur from certain death.

Charlotte’s Web was one of my childhood favorites, and as this is a summer filled with reading the types of books I want to write, I decided to revisit this classic story of friendship.

I’d forgotten all the lovely messages presented throughout the tale of the little girl Fern who saves the runt pig and names him Wilbur. The grey spider Charlotte becomes Wilbur’s dearest friend, teaching him to build himself up, get plenty of sleep, chew his food thoroughly, and most of all, “never hurry and never worry.”

Charlotte literally changes Wilbur’s world through her words. She inspires him, encourages him, and enlightens him through the simple adjectives she spins on her web. E.B. White is an enchanted storyteller, and through Charlotte, he weaves tales and imparts his wisdom for all of us to enjoy.

There are lots of ways to change the world.

Kind, encouraging words are a great start.

I recently lost a dear friend who, every time I saw him, offered gracious words of support. He often commented on my Facebook posts, sharing that he was “honored to be my friend.”

When I said goodbye to him at hospice last week, I gave him one last kiss on the cheek, and told him I was the one who was honored.

Charlotte blessed Wilbur with her friendship, and Wilbur continued to honor her through his days on the farm, remembering her as being both a true friend and a good writer after her life ended.

I hope to continue to honor those I love who are no longer with us with my words, and those who remain, with my friendship.

In honor and memory of Richard Schroeder, a terrific, radiant and humble man. God bless your soul.


Darn roots.

That’s what I said to myself the other day when I tripped over one of the many spindly, long roots that run through the flood plain I’ve walked on daily for nearly twenty years. I almost fell after my shoe became entangled in the tuber that stretched across the path. My body responded automatically, with a rush of cortisol, rapid heartbeat, hands extended, preparing myself in this sudden battle with gravity.

In this case I won.

Once my heart beat returned to normal, I looked up the trail to see my two-year old Labrador trying to yank one of the long, woody obstructions out of the ground and off the path. I just cracked up. The root is still intact, but she keeps working away at it. It will soon be gone, saving some other hiker the same adrenaline rush of almost crashing to the ground when becoming entangled.

As I finished my walk, I thought about the significance of these knotty obstacles. If not for the complicated web of what I’m certain is miles of nature’s infrastructure, my sacred floodplain would not exist. I would not have been blessed to traverse the mile loop all these years, bearing witness to God’s work through nature. Sun rising, deer grazing, coyote roaming, skunk lumbering, ducks squawking, frogs peeping and a persistent hawk searching.

And me, just walking, and dreaming.

Heading back to what will be my home for just a short while yet, I thought about my roots. Those that served as my foundation, those I’ve grown in this community, the new ones that are springing forth.

I thought about how life is like those darn roots. We can either let it trip us up, or we can embrace it as we stumble our way through, catch our breath, and move on.

Or, you can take it a step further like Luna did. Clear the path to make it easier for others to follow.