I was really groggy when I took the dog out this morning at 6:30 am. As I staggered onto the flagstone steps outside my front door, I slid wildly across them to the grass. Black ice. Once Stella had taken care of business, I attempted to go back inside. The garage and back door were still locked, and as I tried to get up the front steps, I realized that it was too slippery for me to even put one foot down. I tried to wake up my sleeping daughter, the only other person at home, but she didn’t pick up my cell phone or the house phone or respond to my increasingly upset hollering below her bedroom window.
Finally, I crawled. Stella wasn’t sure what I was doing down on her level on my hands and knees. She licked my face but then was scared to follow me because it was so icy that she could hardly stand up either. Sitting on the floor in my front doorway, I realized that it had never seemed so far from the grass to the entry before. It felt like someone had stretched the stony path and steps without my even knowing it.
As I gratefully sipped my first cup of coffee, I thought about the similarities between crawling to safety and what is going on all around me in our world. I began considering the instinct to protect yourself. And your home, your family, your loved ones, your country. The protection instinct is so strong in all species of animals. Right now, around the globe, for the two-leggeds, it is a reflex that is on high alert. What will it take for us to feel safe and to trust each other again? It seems like asking for the impossible. I didn’t have the answer, but I knew that I couldn’t just sit and stew about it because there were two horses out there waiting to be fed.
It took a long time for me to dig out the “paw-safe” ice melt from the basement, and I got so frustrated. I felt like everything that I knew I had and could rely on had gone missing. Very cautiously, I made my way out to the barn. The girls greeted me enthusiastically, and I especially appreciated the sloppy kisses from Siete that I got this morning. I didn’t open the gate from the corral to the pasture because I was afraid it was too dangerous out there. Maybe it will warm up soon, and things will go back to normal.
As I turned to go back inside, Silk suddenly stopped eating and rushed out into the corral to stand by the fence. She focused on me intently, as if to say, “Don’t worry, I’ll keep an eye out to be sure you get home okay.” Yes, I get it, Silk. As we navigate through this suddenly treacherous new environment, coming upon the patches of black ice, let’s remember to watch out for each other and hold out a steady hand.