0700 Hours (Give or Take a Few Minutes)

I knew it would be a hard-fought battle, but I was determined to be the victor.  As silently as possible, I crept downward into the open area where the fight would ensue.  My usual strategy was to remain hidden from view and thus not antagonize the enemy.  But not on this day.  I had a right to my territory, and I would not surrender.

Bravely, I positioned myself in plain view of the enemy.  As expected, there were the troops — all three of them — one clad in black and two in white.  When they spotted me, they deployed their usual intimidation method.  However, this time I was determined not to retreat.  I would stand my ground.  I would not surrender.  I would defend my territory and complete my mission.

All I wanted was an unobstructed view of the hummingbirds that hover around my Rose of Sharon in the center of my back yard.  I could only have that if I descended from the deck to yard level.  The problem with that is that my back yard is completely exposed.  (A “privacy” fence provides no privacy when both of your neighbors’ decks are higher than your yard.)  When I emerge from my little “foxhole” on the upper level, I become completely observable.  Vulnerable.   As soon as they see me, the three little neighbor doggies begin their barking, and they do not stop until I am out of sight once more.

My usual M.O. is to stay out of sight and watch the hummingbirds from my chair on the deck.  However, my view is obstructed by the deck railing; so, yesterday I decided, “Doggone it, I will go toe to toe with the Canine Brigade.”  After all, it is my yard.  Thus, I began my descent.  I was wishing I had even one piece of camouflage in my wardrobe.

And that’s when they let loose their barrage of barking.  All three of them.  They were on the landing of their deck, and they had a clear shot at me.  With tails wagging, they did not let up.  With coffee in hand, I remained in position and dug in.  I was there for the duration.  Sure, the neighbors were probably cursing whatever/whoever had stirred up all the noise at this hour.  But it was a weekday; they needed to be up and about their business.  Then I remembered that my neighbor on the adjacent side is the ten o’clock news sports guy and sleeps a bit later than most.  Oh well . . . collateral damage.

Just as I was beginning to feel the strain of battle (remember the coffee), their C.O. ordered them back to the base, and I was home free!  Sure enough, to the victor go the spoils.  A hummingbird appeared!  He hovered, partook, lingered, and flitted around the yard for quite some time before darting off into the early morning sky.  I could see his little red throat clearly, and it was sweet.  I felt triumphant.

That was yesterday.  Today, at 0600 hours (“first light”), I crept stealthily down the stairs once more.  I had given myself the same marching orders.  At first I didn’t hear a sound.  I moved into my location and settled into my observation position.  That’s when I heard it — the faint clinking of dogtags.  “It must be one lone scout,” I thought.  Then, even as early as it was, the others appeared, and the one scampered up the steps to join them.   Then I realized they had reinforcements.  I heard the deep bass voices of two big dogs, one in each of two neighboring back yards.  I was surrounded.  I didn’t have a chance.  It was Saturday morning.  Everyone was sleeping in.  I had already had one large mug of coffee.  I just didn’t have the right stuff this time.   I would have to retreat.

When I went inside, the cat glared at me disdainfully.  She didn’t say a word.  She didn’t have to.  I knew what she was thinking:  “No guts, no glory.”

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that . . . you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then . . . ” (Eph. 6:13,14). 


About Jan Hamlett

Exploring faith outside the safety of Sunday
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