Christmas Present

Some people believe that time, instead of being linear, going in a direct line from A to B, is actually circular. What is was, and what was is. We visit the times in the past as we proceed along the circle of life, and the future is in us also. Perhaps that's why, as folks grow older, they remember so clearly visions of their early childhood-it is because the line is closing in on itself, completing and nearing the beginning where it all started. We are all in each others" lives. Neighbors, the country we live in, the times, our friends, and, of course, present in the lives of our dogs.

I don't know how many times training my dogs has helped me through tough times. Somehow just being on the training floor, doing figure 8's, or straight heeling, for that one half hour I am free of outside distractions and worry. It helps me be in the present, and relieve the stress of worrying. Thank God for our dogs. They are present and also a presence in our life.

Many years ago, on Christmas Eve, I took a cassette player, with a few Christmas songs on it, out to the small cemetery where our family lies.  Great-uncles, aunts, great-grandparents, mom, dad and cousins are all buried there. It is a quiet prairie cemetery, on a rise overlooking a large slough. A long time ago, Indians had a summer camp there. 

I went out to the graves about 7 PM: clear skies and a brisk December wind. I stood behind a tall obelisk, and pushed the play button, "O Holy Night" played by a clarinet, settled out among the resting. I could almost hear elbows nudged from grave to grave - "Do you hear that? Listen - someone came out to play us music." The notes hung over the snow and drifted down to join the departed. I left the cold and went back to the warmth of the present. But sometimes, when I visit the graves in the summer, I can hear, in the hot, soft air, traces of that music still playing - resonating out among the short prairie grass. Christmas Past is Present, and Merry Christmas to all!