Family can be created in the space of a moment no matter who we are.
Yesterday the weather was unsettled — sunny blue skies with billowy clouds one moment then winds and dark, ominous-looking clouds the next. I call it a “hodge-podge” weather day.
As it happened, I was on our property when the sky turned very dark with thick clouds coming from the west. The wind started blowing and the dogs became restless. I hurried down to our barn play area. I almost always spend time there every day, letting the dogs play and run with each other while I sweep up, so this time was no different except for the weather on the way. While we were all inside hanging out, the first crack of thunder hit followed by a bolt of lightening so bright it lit up the barn. Immediately the dogs came running from their various spots and huddled in a group with me in the middle. Some tucked in their heads, others shook violently, and yet some continued chewing on their bones, oblivious to the noise outside. Most, though, were held in a shaken, ungrounded state wondering when the next boom would come from. There were at least a dozen of us cozied up with one another. I stayed calm and steady, singing softly to them while the rain pounded the windows and roof.
I wondered then if this was also what humans do when faced with something much greater than we are, something that scares us enough to reach out for one another.
They instinctively sought comfort in the group. So there we sat in ‘group hug’ mode waiting for the storm to pass. I wondered then if this was also what humans do when faced with something much greater than we are, something that scares us enough to reach out for one another. We have our inner circle, our friends and family, our tribe. They are our support team — ones we can call upon in times of need. Animals also have this exact structure within their daily lives. They have friendships and tribe members and allies. Yet, just like us, they can coexist together for years and never really interact with one another. Throw a thunderstorm into the mix , though, and all become fast friends and neighbors and there are no strangers in the group! Nothing like a good friend to hold onto when the boat is rocking!
I wonder if our neighbors and people we meet in our local grocery stores are the very people who will become our future tribe members. I wonder if one day we will hold hands with them when we get thrown into the unknown, becoming so afraid that we risk being vulnerable with one another. And like the Girl Scout saying suggests, “Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold.” As it turns out, there are no levels of importance when we are needing a helping hand — silver and gold are equal.
As it turns out, there are no levels of importance when we are needing a helping hand — silver and gold are equal.
Once the storm passed, all the dogs looked up and one by one slid off the sofa. Some wandered to get a drink; others picked up a bone to chew. Some began playing gently with each other. The stormy moment that brought us together was over but not the bond created from touching and connecting hands and paws. Family can be created in the space of a moment no matter who we are.
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