Out in the Open

Exposed and anxious, Henry moves swiftly across the dunes
Exposed and anxious, Henry moves swiftly across the dunes

It’s a windy day, bringing in squalls.  Yesterday was cold enough to require a jersey and socks for the feet – definitely a sign of winter in this tropical paradise.  The sea is turbulent, varying shades of grey as it reflects the mottled sky.  At daybreak a bright crescent moon was weaving through the scudding clouds.

I am in a twilight zone, restless yet at peace, anxious but calm, in some sort of indefinable holding pattern, hovering on the threshold of who knows what.  The uneasy answer I seek is an age-old cry from the heart of man, “What now?  When?  Where?  How?”  Three whiskies in a hotel, we used to say when training salespeople on strategy many eons ago.

I think the biggest fear we have, certainly I do, is that of exposure.  I have inherited a young tomcat named Henry, who is full of intrepid bounce and enthusiasm.  He likes to follow people, anyone, probably not a good idea, but as he always seems to find his way home I do not to worry too much.  On Saturday, however, I took off on my early morning walk and hadn’t gone more than about fifty paces when Henry flew past me at full gallop.  I really didn’t want him with me the whole way as I don’t think it’s a good idea to assist in broadening his territory, but have learnt that, unlike canines, cats do not comprehend “Go Home!”

I took the long route to the beach, which crosses a fair amount of exposed dune.  The cats are not really happy out in the open, we have Yellow-billed kites, pied crows and other predators of which they are very aware.  Undaunted, Henry tailed me until we got to the very edge of the shoreline, at which point his bounce diminished to a slow march.  I left him atop a small dune, from which vantage point he watched me go.  My last view of him was slinking off to find cover.

Confident that he would find his way home, I was concerned when the day ended and there was no sign of Henry.  Muttering to myself that I was not going all the way back to the beach I set off to where I could see where I had last seen him.  I began to call, not really confident that he would hear me against the evening wind, in all directions.  No response.  As I decided to give up and turned for home, I thought I saw a ginger smudge in the gloom at my erstwhile neighbour’s house.  Closer inspection revealed nothing but shadows.  I gave another couple of bellows, and turned for home again when I was stopped in my tracks by a loud yeowl, and there was Henry belting across the dune!

Is this a lesson, I wonder?  When we are out in the open and exposed, do we hole up somewhere until support arrives?  Or do we brave the exposure and trust that we will find our way home to peace and sanctuary?

I was led to read Psalm 68 today.  There I found these words:

A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows,

Is God in His holy habitation.

God sets the solitary in families;

He brings out those who are bound into prosperity;

But the rebellious dwell in a dry land.

My prayer is that I am not one of the rebellious!

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