The news is so grim.  It eats away at me.  Eighty-four dead in Nice, France and more critically injured.  I’ve been to Nice.  I’ve been on that street.  What’s going on?  Why?

I am finding the best way for me to reduce anxiety and stress is to turn to nature.

These are our pets.  Ou rescue mixed breed dog has been a calming friend for seven years.  It seems she instinctively thinks she’s a lap dog.  All I have to do is sit cross legged on the floor and she beelines to my lap.  I can barely see over or around her.  We named her Halle because we got her in 2009 when we’d seen Leonard Cohen in concert.  Leonard wrote the song Hallelujah.

Halle 2-1

We take Halle for walks in Fullersburg Woods, at the lake at Harvester Park, and to the Farm Club nearby where she’s nose to nose with the goats, pigs, and horses.  She likes it and I think we like it even more.  It’s nature.

Simon is our African Grey who appears shy, but who will talk up a storm when in the mood.  His first words were “Hakuna Matata”.  He loves the Lion King soundtrack.  Kiwi, his sidekick, can only whistle and repeat his name.  Simon does a whole sing song rendition of “Simon & Kiwi sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G!

November 74 Kiwi

I miss my Guinea Pig, Oreo, who died recently (I was a foster grandmother) and Ruby, our white rabbit we got at the Iowa State Fair who died several years ago.  Both had very good lives in our home and reminded me to eat more lettuce and kale.

I grew up on a livestock farm specializing in purebred, prize winning hogs.  My father’s winning vision assured my childhood summers of wonderful adventures at many midwestern fairs.

We milked cows, raised chickens, and sometimes had sheep.    Farms mean hard work but the resulting ties with nature endure for a lifetime.

However, after I got married and I experienced having pets, my attitudes about animals have deepened.  I feel our animals sense our moods, both happy and sad.

Thank you, Halle, for sitting on my lap again today.

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