I couldn’t resist taking this picture. If you have ever come “home” for Christmas and seen the welcoming porch or lamppost light as you drove up you know what I mean. We had just had a nice 4-5 inch wet snowfall and our farm looked liked a picture postcard. After I snapped 3 to 4 images of our lamppost something very unusual happened as I started to go back inside. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed movement, ever so slight, along the edge of the woods in the background. Now, we do have lots of wild critters on our farm and we feed them almost every day, particularly in the winter months when food is scarce but rarely do we see bobcats so close to the house. But there he was, a full grown male bobcat (usually larger than females) and I without my telephoto lens. So, I just stood there and watched. Being a “southern” cat he was not used to snow so with each step he shook the snow off his front paws. He didn’t stay long but what a treat it was to watch this usually very secretive animal. Sorry I cannot share a photograph with my friends but just know that he is there.
You know, there really is a spirit of Christmas, of Good Will towards Men (and obviously Women, our treasures). So where does all this Good Will come from? And why does it bunch up at Christmas time? I think you know where I am headed with this but bear with me and let me say it this way: About five years ago we visited two dear friends in south Florida where he and his wife had retired several years earlier. She had cancer and only a year to live. After dinner at their home, sitting at the table, he (we’ll call him Jim) looked up and asked me. Gene, do you believe in God? Now, Jim was an atheist, his wife more of an agnostic so I was taken aback by his question. Now you have to realize that this man was a brilliant astrophysicist and mathematician and worked for NASA in Houston until his retirement. When you see the movie Apollo Thirteen and the scene where all the engineers and scientist are crowded into the launch control room in Houston know he was not only there but had the huge responsibility over the entire power systems function and was present for most of the successive launches. I sat quietly looking at him for what probably seemed like at eternity knowing that what I said next was very important to both of them. Finally, I said “Jim, like you I have studied science all my life and had found believing in a God, whatever form, seemed to be a stretch until one day I realized that the marker for Him was right before my eyes, the veritable existence of pure evil in this world…….. That’s when his wife spoke up and filled in the missing part as though a light suddenly switched on……. Yes, she said, “and the antithesis of pure evil is pure good, God, love.” Little did Jim know around that table but he had undiagnosed lung cancer and would pass away four months before his wife. I think about them often and miss the long winded technical conversations we had through the many years. Merry Christmas!
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