Theoretically, I’d be reflecting on adventures to far away places for Travel Tues- day, but Stephen’s using my travel computer while he’s waiting for his car to be repaired, so I can’t tell you about Aunt Catfish until Thursday…which is the day I usually try to write kid-friendly nature stories. So, I’ve decided to swap around my stories today & tell you about Paddy Possum’s pilgrimage. Although I’ve seen pictures of opossums since I was a girl, the only real live possum I’d ever seen outside a zoo (before a few days ago) was a real dead possum by the side of the road. Which is to say, possums are nocturnal…and…being a bird may be tough, but I think being a possum may be tougher. For instance, have you seen your friendly neighborhood possum any time recently? If you live near any wooded area in temperate U.S. or parts south, you very likely do have opossum neighbors, but they’re not the least bit sociable and avoid public appearances. If you try to be friendly with them, they’ll hiss at you,* and if that doesn’t drive you away, they’ll faint on the spot. They are drama queens extraordinaire!*At any rate, the other day I saw this brave little fellow trying to decide whether or not to go from wooded shore to wooded shore across a very intimidating stretch of waterfront. It’s bad enough to be nocturnal and hate the lime light, but all the animals in our neighborhood have heard rumors of an evil German shepherd who lurks inside a giant doghouse…and eats little possum pilgrims for lunch. On this particular morning, Paddy Possum decided to make a run for it! So, out he came from his snug burrow under the woodpile and into the open!It was really slow going because the snow was so deep, so instead of running, he had to jump, hop and flop as his paws would sink deep into the snow. Even though he was wading and waddling as fast as his little legs could go, it took him an excruciatingly long time, and he had to pass by many dangers! At long last he made it to the edge of the woods, dragging his cold tail behind! What a scary adventure that must have been for a timid little possum! There were some beautiful bluebirds flitting about the bird feeder that same morning, and I couldn’t help but think about the ease with which they fly across our snowy stretch of waterfront. I wonder if Paddy Possum ever wishes he could be a bluebird soaring through the air instead of a cat-sized critter working so hard to make his pilgrimage from thicket to thicket, traveling on stubby legs… just barely able to keep his little pink nose above snow level. I know there have been plenty of times when I’ve floundered thru deep snows and wished I could soar above it all like a bluebird singing in the treetops. Thankfully, whether we’re up to our neck in trouble and scared to deathor having a relatively easy time of it, we can know that God is with us. He sees us, knows us, understands, and guides us on our pilgrimage thru life. He will keep us thru all the possumbilities and will lead us to a joyful end.
“O LORD, thou has searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downstitting and my uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways…If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me…Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
(* These two pictures, the one with the young possum hissing the other of the possum playing dead, are from Wiki Commons.)