Monday, May 20, 2019

Rainy Days

Remember the song, “Rainy Days and Mondays” by the Carpenters? Before I retired, I often dreaded rainy days, especially Mondays. Like the Carpenters, they always got me down.

When I was teaching full-time, rainy days meant that my classrooms looked dreary and my students would arrive dripping, droopy, and lethargic. I understood because I, too, lacked energy. On rainy days, I had to work twice as hard to infuse vitality into my teaching and engage my students’ interest and enthusiasm. 
Now that I work from home, all that has changed. I look forward to rainy days. The sun room where I write is cheerful, rain or shine. The teasing sun calls me outside to play, but a hypnotic pitter-patter against the windowpanes relaxes me and bids me to recline with my laptop and enter the worlds of my imagination.

I gaze upward through the arch of a high Palladian window and watch clouds rushing by. Even gray clouds remind me that all of life is movement--forward movement of mind, body and soul. I think about the blessings that rain brings to the earth as it waters the trees, flowers, and grass, providing life-sustaining hydration for animals and humans, alike.

Tree branches catch the wind and dance freely, reaching outward and upward. They appear to be swirling in space, unattached. I stop to watch God’s ballet recital, no admission ticket required.

I offer a silent prayer of thanks for life and sustenance, for meaningful work both present and past, for whatever the future holds. When a stray sunbeam peeks through the grayness, ephemeral yet piercing, I’m reminded of how God’s love can penetrate even our darkest days…if we are ready to receive it.

Cindy L. Freeman is the author of three award-winning short stories and three published novels: UnrevealedThe Dark Room and I Want to Go Home. Website:; Facebook page: Her books are available through or

Friday, May 10, 2019

Animal Whisperer

I live with an animal whisperer. My husband talks to the wild animals that gather around our condo building, and they come to him without hesitation.

The main thing Carl misses about our former house and backyard is observing and interacting with the animals: squirrels, rabbits, owls, deer, raccoons, and numerous birds. He claimed them all as his friends. He used to sit on the deck and enjoy the wildlife. He insisted he could tell one squirrel from another, naming them William, Kate, Harry and Jake. Jake was the troublemaker who often robbed the bird feeder. Jake required regular pops from Carl’s pellet gun because Jake's memory of the disciplinary act lasted no longer than two days.

Carl named the rabbits Blackie and Brownie and the owls were Hooty and Screech. Unfortunately, Blackie and Brownie and their progeny were no match for Hooty and Screech. I’ll spare you the fur-flying details. Then, there was Rocky the raccoon who visited whenever we had fish for dinner. In the evening, Rocky would show up at the edge of the woods, waiting for his culinary treat of fish skins.

Nearly every morning, Carl took the strawberry tops from our breakfast and spread them in the backyard to feed the prolific deer population. Although I didn’t appreciate sharing my flowerbeds with them, they were, after all, invited to breakfast. How were they to know my flowers and shrubs weren’t on the menu? 
One night a doe gave birth in our backyard. Sometime after midnight, Carl had gotten up to watch a rocket launch on TV when he heard what sounded like a baby’s cry. He had just stepped onto the deck to search the backyard when a meteor streaked across the sky. 

The next morning, we found a tiny fawn curled up on our front porch. Carl named it Shooting Star and watched over it for two days. By the third day, he wondered if the mother had lost track of her baby, especially since it had somehow made it from the backyard to the front porch. He shooed it off the porch, and it bounded into the woods. The next day, we spotted Shooting Star with its mother. So, all was well. 

When we moved to our condo, my husband began to think his days of animal whispering had come to an end. No more staring contests with owls that perched on the deck lamppost right next to his head; no more squirrels arguing with him about which food was intended for them and which was for the birds; no more fawns curled up on the front porch or herds of deer waiting in our driveway to welcome us home in the evenings. 

One morning, Carl stepped outside the condo to fill the birdfeeder, and a wobbly newborn fawn walked up to him, sniffed him, and licked his hand. They conversed for a while. Then, worried that the baby might get hit by a car, Carl led her back across the street, down the ravine and into the woods. He named her Sweetie Pie and gave her strict orders to stay away from the street. Sweetie Pie seems to have followed his cautionary directions.

Yesterday, Carl went outside to water the potted plants. Rounding the corner toward the garage he spotted two rabbits. One hopped up to him, sniffed his shoe, then looked up with large round “sad” eyes. The animal whisperer chatted with him, requesting that he not eat the tiny crop of jalapeƱo peppers he had planted in a pot. Then, his furry friend called to a buddy who also came for a chat. Brownie and Blackie reincarnated? I wonder.

Cindy L. Freeman is the author of two award-winning short stories and three published novels: UnrevealedThe Dark Room and I Want to Go Home. Website:; Facebook page: Her books are available through or