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Homeschool Helpers

Issue 149, April 12, 2010 From Homeschool Helpers
By Dan L. White Subscribe to this free e-newsletter.

I went for a walk this morning, as I often do. We have forty acres here in the Missouri Ozarks, and the one thing that I have done most with this land is to walk on it. This is the spring, and the scenes in these little hills after the dreary winter are like manna from heaven. In times past or present we have had on our place goats, both hair goats and milk goats, sheep, ducks, geese, chickens, rabbits for wool, calves, horses, and the usual assortment of cats and dogs. We also have some raised beds for gardening and a blackberry patch. But over the last quarter century, the one thing that I have done most with this forty acres is walk on it. It’s poor land for growing but great land for walking, and that is its greatest value to me. Today I picked some wildflowers. I don’t usually do that, because once a flower is picked, it dies and is not a flower any more. So I only picked four wildflowers, all very small, brought them back to the house for the Lady of the House and set them in water. All are less than an inch across, with perfect, proud little petals that refuse to acknowledge they are small and insignificant. Two of the flowers were purple violets, both the same kind of flower but varied in their shades, one light lavender, the other a bolder hue. They have four slightly overlapping purple petals that somehow fade to a white center. Another flower is bright yellow, and its five separate petals are slick and shiny to make the yellow yell out even more. In the middle of all that yelling yellow are little sunny whiskers, which surround a pale green center. The other flower is smaller but even more intricate. Its five petals are white but flecked with chartreuse

lines, and on each petal is one and only one puff of chartreuse, which goes very well with the tiny lines of the same color. If I were to wear a shirt with all those colors, I would look like an idiot. God scattered all those colors in our field, along with blue sky and green grass, and He looks like a genius. Why did God go to all the trouble to make all those little flowers, never seeded by anyone, never cultivated, seldom harvested? They’re just speckled bits of beauty scattered over our Ozarks hills. Our big dog Kelly usually goes with me when I walk. She’s a cross between a Great Pyrenees and an Anatolian Shepherd and is about the size of a three month old calf. Kelly is a beautiful animal with a big head, a beautiful coat, and one of the most loving personalities of any of the many dogs we have had. But, as belies her heritage as a livestock protector, she is aggressive enough to run the horses away from food if she thinks there is something in there she might want. I did not teach Kelly to walk with me or even try to get her to do it. She just does it, because she thinks that’s her duty. So as we walk, she wanders the woods, sniffing, perking up her ears, dashing here and there, but I am always the locus of her travels. She always comes back to me. If I stop and sit, then she stops and sits, until I move again, when she moves. She is a dog, man’s best friend, and God created her that way. The other day my beloved wife Margie and a couple of our grown daughters also took a walk, and Kelly went with them. They crossed from our place to a neighbor’s farm, about a half mile east of here. They were in the woods on top of a hill, then headed downhill in a big, hilly pasture. As they looked ahead, they spotted a large animal lying motionless in the grass. They walked farther and saw that they were looking at the back side of a big bovine. It was stretched out tail to head, lying in a way that bovines do not usually lie. Margie concluded that she was looking at a dead cow. I will point out here that when we have seen dead cows, they are near the farmer’s barn, because he has seen them doing poorly and has

kept them close to tend them. A farmer eyes his cattle every day, counts them and looks them over, because each animal is worth a lot of money. Which is to say, you don’t usually see a dead cow conked out in the pasture on the far hillside. Nevertheless, Margie was convinced that she was looking at a dead cow. Furthermore, she also was convinced that she had to investigate that dead cow. There were two unproven assumptions there. One is that the cow was dead. The second is that, for some reason, she had to go down there and mess with it. Even Christ did not resurrect a dead cow. At that point, she and the daughters parted company just a bit. Margie went ahead, the girls lagged behind. Kelly the dog was wandering the woods nearby. Margie walked on down the hill, and as you are guessing, the big bovine bounced up. That cow wasn’t dead. And as you also may be guessing, not only was that cow not dead, but it wasn’t a cow at all. It was a bull. Margie, based on her two unproven assumptions, found herself face to face with a big bull, and she had just interrupted his afternoon nap. Margie stood still, just as still as the dead cow had been a moment earlier. The live bull eyed her, trying to take the measure of this dead cow-catcher. Margie says, “You can never tell with a bull,” so she did not turn her back on him. After a few seconds of impassioned impasse, she began to back away, one step, two steps, eyeing the bull while retreating in reverse. Suddenly, without warning, without being called, without anybody even noticing that she was still around, Kelly the big protecting dog came running from the woods, dashed past Marge and charged headfirst right at that big bull, barking and lunging for all she was worth. And the sleepy headed bull lit off down the hill, wondering where in the

world he would have to go to get a good nap. Kelly came back to Margie and the girls, sat back on her haunches, looked up with her friendly browns and kindly let them pat her head. I have often wondered why God made dogs. A dog like Kelly is a beautiful animal, as dogs are unique in the animal kingdom, truly man’s best friend. So on my morning walk, I took in the beauty of the Ozark hills, the beauty of the wildflowers, and the beauty of a family dog. After all of that, I conclude that God likes to make beauty. We know that He is God by all of this that we see. Job 12:7-10 World English Bible (7) "But ask the animals, now, and they shall teach you; the birds of the sky, and they shall tell you. (8) Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach you. The fish of the sea shall declare to you. (9) Who doesn't know that in all these, the hand of Yahweh has done this, (10) in whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind? In homeschooling, don’t ever be so practical that you neglect to make and appreciate beauty. Take time to see what God has done, whether it’s the beauty of a spring scene, a tiny wildflower, or a dog that protects its family from dead cows.