Monday, June 30, 2014
Wind Woman, Oklahoma City, OK
The south wind spirits,
ride on towering storm clouds,
and shake the corn stalks.
The south wind spirits,
ride on wild bucking broncos,
and fan prairie fires.
The south wind spirits,
ride on vapor streams of rain,
and nourish the land.
The south wind spirits,
are sent by the Great Spirit,
to bless the people.
Kiawah Sunrise, KI, SC
Darkness ebbs away,
as a new creation shines,
and light dispels dark.
Shore birds chase the tide,
as sea foam cleanses the sand,
and morphs into gold.
Pelicans fly low,
as they catch rising sunbeams,
and slowly vanish.
People walk the shore,
as breaking waves cool bodies,
and calm their spirits.
as another day is birthed,
and we are renewed.
Sunday, June 29, 2014
Crumpled Lincoln, Jamestown, NC
This morning’s message by pastor Jim was that “If your past is calling, don’t bother to answer. It has nothing new to say”! I thought this was nicely illustrated by holding up a crisp $5.00 bill and asking for a show of hands by everyone who would like to have it. Most everybody responded. After all, who can resist found money? But then, the bill was wadded up and wrinkled almost beyond recognition. Again the offer was extended and most everyone responded. Then the bill was dropped to the floor and ground under foot with the same result.
The point was driven home that no matter how much the bill had been abused and disfigured, it still kept its value. And that is the point when it comes to our relationship with God. Jesus illustrated the concept in his parable of the prodigal son who squanders his youth and fortune, but is welcomed back into his father’s arms when he repents and seeks a new life. It validates my favorite definition of grace--there’s nothing we can do to make God love us more and nothing we can do to make God love us less to receive His priceless gift of grace and unconditional love.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Terra Cotta Portal, Chicago, IL
The image above is looking through the historic Terra Cotta Row District boundary wall ornamentation in Lake View, Chicago along one of the walking routes where I took my grand dog Rosemary. Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright used these materials for many fabulous architectural refinements at the turn of the twentieth century. The view back in time into a formal rose garden through this terra cotta opening reminded me of the many portals that exist in the science fiction and fantasy worlds of creative minds. The concept also seems to be associated with the fascinating light tunnel experiences of over eight million Americans having near death experiences (NDE). And of course, most of us enter this world through the portal of the birth canal.
Mankind has conceived of portals linking different places in our universe, parallel universes, the past or the future, and afterworlds like heaven and hell. They can magically connect us via gateways and then can instantaneously transport us through space-time. Portals are considered similar to cosmological wormholes and some consider them as part of the medium. Portals on film are often portrayed using a ripple effect.
A tornado was the portal transporting Dorothy and Toto to the magical gardens in the Land of Oz and a rabbit hole deposited Alice in a Wonderland with fantastical anthropomorphic characters like a white rabbit with a pocket watch and the Mad Hatter at a tea party. A modified DeLorean DMC-12 sports car with a “flux capacitor” transported Michael J. Fox back to the future and a wardrobe armoire was the gateway to Narnia for four siblings into a world of endless winter. Movie franchises like X-Men and Star Trek go through portals where no man has gone before. An overgrown labyrinth is the center of a mythical world where a faun tests a young girl by instructing her to sacrifice her baby brother’s blood to open a portal to the underworld.
Recent developments in cardiac resuscitation techniques have resulted in a marked rise in people reporting a “tunnel experience” through portals into a heavenly, loving white light. Many report encountering beings of light and reunions with loved ones. Conversely, some report distressing experiences entering a black void, sensing a hellish force around them. They report a tormenting moral anguish at their own choices, behavior or attitudes and being separated from the Light Being.
These concepts of portals have captured the imaginations of mankind for centuries. NDE sojourners have been recorded as far back as the fourth century. It would seem that these glimpses into the portals of the human experience should give us all pause to reflect on the direction of our individual lives and the ultimate fate of our spiritual destiny.
Friday, June 13, 2014
Mary Magdelene by Perugio
On the eve of our celebration of Father’s Day, I can easily say that I had a great dad growing up who died all to young of cancer when I was in college. He was a dedicated father and husband who worked all sorts of hours and days as a Santa Fe Railroad engineer. However, he still made time when it was available for family. As he worked to provide for us, my mother stayed home in partnership raising us kids. After our dad died, she went to work and finished the job. Later in my adult years, I lived in partnership with my wife while we raised a beautiful daughter and two female schnauzers. I spent my professional career working in the apparel industry dominated by women. Needless to say, my life experience celebrates and recognizes the opposite sex as equal.
Adam Hamilton notes is his new book Making Sense of the Bible that Pope John Paul II quoted Pope Paul VI that the Catholic Church does not ordain women because Jesus only chose his Apostles from among men. Hamilton goes on to ask, “Was he choosing his apostles based upon who might have the greatest likelihood of receiving a hearing and becoming accepted leaders in first-century Judaism”? That was a patriarchal culture immersed in the subornation of women, not unlike the area two thousand years later.
The creation story in Genesis states that God created humankind, male and female, in his image. Neither was given dominance and God saw that it was good. But male dominance entered the world with the Fall. Jesus came to reverse the curse of Eden. The inclusion of women in his ministry was going against the grain of the culture of his time. And as James Martin, a Franciscan priest, in his new book Jesus: A Pilgrimage observes, “Throughout Christian history women’s contributions have often been downplayed, ignored, or mislabeled. Mary Magdalene, to take one prominent example, often has been identified as a prostitute—though there is no evidence in the New Testament that she was one”.
Early in his pontificate Pope Francis remarks, “the Apostles and disciples find it harder to believe in the Risen Christ, not the women, however!” So it should not be surprising that Jesus appears first to Mary and other women after his resurrection and they’re the first to believe. Jesus instructs Mary to go share the good news with the other disciples. Thus Martin writes, “My favorite title for Mary is not ‘prostitute’ or ‘sinner’ or even ‘female disciple’ but ‘Apostle to the Apostles’…It was the women who emerge as the true disciples in the passion narrative and understood that his ministry was not rule and kingly glory but diakonia, service”. Martin visited the modest town of Magdala on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Archaeologists recently unearthed an ancient synagogue at the site. He writes, “In Galilee today, where a large church is dedicated to Peter, all Mary can claim is a dusty archaeological site. That may change in the future, but it is notable that, at least in Galilee, the one who is more honored is not the one who immediately believed in the Resurrection, but the one who didn’t”.
Hamilton concludes, “The curse has been addressed in Christ. Paul told us that women were to keep silent in the church because of Eve’s sin and, by implication, the curse placed upon her. Even if you take that story literally, Christ came to reverse the curse and to heal paradise. In the beginning, God’s will was partnership. Sin brought patriarchy. Shouldn’t the ideal of redemption be a return to partnership and an end to the subordination of women? And if this is the case, is it not time to recognize that Paul’s words about women remaining silent do not reflect God’s timeless will for the role women are to play in church?”
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Sycamore Branches, Internet Domain
I’ll bet most of us growing up in church remember singing the children’s song about a wee little man named Zacchaeus who climbed up a sycamore tree “for the Lord he wanted to see”. It’s a happy little ditty reminiscent of the megahit Happy by Pharrell Williams these days. It even ends with the refrain “for he had seen the Lord that day, and a very happy man was he”. But there’s much more going on in the story of the despised wealthy Jewish man who collected taxes for the conquering Roman government.
James Martin in his book Jesus: A Pilgrimage, introduces Zach when Martin arrives in Jericho, the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, dating back ten thousand years. He photographs a sycamore tree enclosed by a circular iron fence in the middle of a busy traffic circle. Experts confirm it could be two thousand years old and is called “the Zacchaeus tree”. Martin writes “in Jerico, en route to his crucifixion, he will meet two men. One is poor and one is rich; both seek a kind of healing from Jesus”. The poor Bartimaeus is sitting by the side of the road begging. He doesn’t cry out for money but asks the Son of David to have mercy on him. Although he is blind, he “sees” who is approaching him and his confident faith makes him well as his sight is restored.
Perhaps Zach has heard of this miracle as Jesus continues on “the way”. He clambers up a Sycamore Fig tree to seek a different kind of healing. Earlier in his three year ministry, Jesus taught that we should all be cautious of where we spend our time, treasure and talents, for there will be our heart also. To his surprise, Jesus demonstrates his practice of “table fellowship” and publicly offers to dine with the sinner. Zach responds by announcing that he will give half of his possessions to feed the poor.
Martin observes that “Jesus invites people to be free of anything that keeps them from God…Zacchaeus was free as soon as he climbed the tree and is filled with joy”. And a very happy man was he.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
There’s a little known place in the Holy Land called the Bay of the Parables. It’s mentioned in James Martin's book on his pilgrimage there. The Gospel writers tell about Jesus teaching the common folk from a boat on the Sea of Galilee when the crowds became too confining. It actually makes a lot of sense, given the acoustics of a bay's natural amphitheater and how well sound travels over water.
I’ve read that the vast majority of people in that first century was uneducated and any attempt to preach theological concepts would likely lose them immediately. That still holds today with much more educated folks. We’d all rather listen to a provocative story borrowed from our common experience or nature. So Jesus wisely used parables to convey a particular reality by relating to something that folks knew better. Martin notes that these parables can involve elaborate stories like the Parable of the Prodigal Son or brief metaphors such as “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field”. I also like the analogy of a parable being comparable to peeling back the layers of an onion. There is an easily understandable story on the outer layer, but once you peel it back to an inner layer you find an even deeper meaning.
I really like Martin’s thought about better comprehending the mystery of the Godhead or Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He notes that Jesus’ “use of parables parallels the gracious entrance of God into human existence. Just as it was not beneath Jesus to approach his listeners in ways they could understand, so it was not beneath God to come in a way that we can understand…in a sense, Jesus is the parable of God”.
The ultimate parable!
Monday, June 9, 2014
Window to the World, Chicago, IL
I remember a late spring day like today in an upper floor high school class room long, long ago in a land far, far away at the center of these contiguous United States. I was absentmindedly staring out the open window at the shimmering tree leaves and was pondering my future. I had absolutely no idea where it might lead me. On reflection, I've attended a lot of classes in my lifetime and it seems that I only really remember two teachers with any clarity.
One of those teachers was my very first teacher, Miss Franzen, who was a very pretty young woman that I met at the tender age of four. She was a beginning teacher at Walnut Elementary School who ultimately dedicated her life to teaching. She actually might have been my first love, although that was very long ago and I'm pretty sure I didn't know what that was all about at the time. Interestingly, the only other teacher I remember with any clarity was Mr. Bloxom, my Senior year math instructor in high school who was nearing the end of his career. As it turns out, I seem to have retained good memories of my very first (and possibly youngest) and last (and possibly oldest) teachers in public education.
Mr. Bloxom's math class was located in that upper story Emporia High School class room. It was near the end of our senior year and I wasn't too interested in staying around much longer. Mr. Bloxom was waxing philosophic and musing about a talented athlete on our basketball team, the same high school team the legendary UNC Dean Smith had coached. Years later, I was getting the Tar Heel coach's autograph at his last book signing in Chapel Hill. When I mentioned that I was from Emporia, Kansas, he looked up and exclaimed that so was he! In fact, he was meeting a friend soon that just happened to be Mr. Bloxom's son. I remarked that I had his friend's father for a math class. Realizing that he was older than I, Coach Smith replied, "That's incredible. So did I"!
The one thing that stands out from my first elementary class and Miss Franzen was that she was always loving and caring. I don't have a clue what I may have learned that year as a four year old. I mostly remember that I was probably too immature to begin school. But Miss Franzen helped me to survive and begin my educational journey. Little did I realize then that it would be the journey of a lifetime and she helped me get a good start. When Miss Franzen called your first name, you knew that everything would be OK. It was no surprise to find an old newspaper clipping from the Emporia Gazette after a Google search of her name that featured Miss Franzen as "Miss Kindergarten", dated November, 1961, the year after I graduated from Emporia High School!
What I remember most about Mr. Bloxom's class is that I always seemed to have a good time and didn't realize that I was acquiring a lifetime's worth of useful logic and building a firm foundation for future engineering classes. As our final high school class was drawing to a close, Mr. Bloxom continued to discuss the young talented athlete that had caught his attention. He casually remarked that he was only a Sophomore. "Just think what he'll be next year", he said to no one in particular. So I volunteered, "A Junior!" That brought down the house and bought me a well deserved trip to the principal's office! As I recall, Mr. Bloxom didn't call me Larry, but Mr. Davis, which I liked.
And I had discovered the best answer and my calling---a starting degree in mathematics and a successful path to a full life.
Sunday, June 8, 2014
Lamb of God, St. Louis, MO
I’ve been patiently waiting ever since the end of last year for some inspiration to select a theme for this year’s stewardship messages at our church in Jamestown. In that same passage of time, I made the decision to join two of our past senior pastors and our bishop on an upcoming pilgrimage of the Holy Land where Jesus walked, taught and modeled life and death. This commitment led me to download an e-book by James Martin, a Franciscan priest, detailing his own experiences and inspirations on such a trip titled Jesus, a Pilgrimage. If you can’t make the trip for all sorts of reasons, this book can take you there.
One of the first places Martin visited was one of the last places mentioned in the Gospels. As it turns out, many of the holy places seem to be approximations of the exact spot where significant events occurred, given the eroding and shifting sands of time and the nature of this land. A modest grey stone chapel, the Church of the Primacy of Peter, was erected on this land in 1933, incorporating the walls of a structure built in the fourth century. Inside is a low, undulating cream-colored rock the size of a kitchen table called the Table of Christ. Here tradition tells us that the resurrected Jesus stood at the shoreline of the Sea of Galilee or Tiberias and called to his disciples including Peter to join him in an ordinary breakfast of fish and bread. I’ll be content to stand anywhere on this shoreline and ponder this extraordinary sunrise moment.
Interestingly, the disciples who had spent such intimate times with Jesus didn’t initially recognize him. Such was the case with most of the Gospel stories about those encountering an entirely new creation in the universe—one that both you and I will receive. Once Jesus tells Peter to cast his net to the right (as with their first meeting) it’s full of fish. The scene is reminiscent of the feeding of the 5,000 nearby with five loaves and two fish to invite folks to encounter God. Peter has been dealing with the reality that he turned away from Jesus at his trial and his loss of a close friend, so he went fishing. Jesus offers Peter forgiveness, on the cross and here at the seaside, and lets Peter atone for the three times he denied him.
Jesus’ response to Peter for the three times He asks if he loves Him is to instruct him to “feed my lambs and follow me”. Jesus is telling Peter to respond to His love for mankind by being their shepherd. He is offering forgiveness and asking an imperfect person to share the teachings and love he has experienced to help all of the lambs or children of our Heavenly Father—to “feed my sheep and follow me”. He was handing off the baton to continue his stated mission; “The Human One came to seek and save the lost."
A wonderful inspiration for stewardship!
Friday, June 6, 2014
Pigeon Hunt,Chicago, IL
Trophy Cup, Chicago, IL
Today, June 6, commemorates the seventieth anniversary of the allied forces’ largest assault of WWII at Normandy, France to begin their liberation of Europe. And it marked the critical turning point of the world’s largest war in history. The end of the war marked the culmination of a worldwide struggle for power and domination. The human sacrifice both overseas on the front and in the homelands was unprecedented. Humankind sadly is still at war with one another for possession of all manner of earthly trophies such as land and resources. The poppy fields of WWI and the acres of white crosses in WWII military cemeteries are somber testimonies of sacrifice and human suffering.
It’s too bad that the human race can’t learn more from observing the traits of the other creatures that we share the planet with every day of our lives. My grand dog Rosemary’s ancestors were bred to guard and hunt. It’s in her surviving DNA. This morning’s early walk was a prime example of her instincts at work. In the course of a twenty-minute urban walk she flushed out two rabbits, a cat, two pigeons, a robin and innumerable sparrows.
But in spite of her hair-trigger response to these fellow creatures with whom she shares the planet, she's been conditioned not to pursue, capture or harm them. Still, there seems to be this haunting urge to bring home a trophy from the hunt. So as we come to the end of our ritualistic mission on the urban sidewalks, she seeks out a worthy tree branch. The branch seems to be symbolic of a successful crusade as she triumphantly passes through the halls of long departed schnauzers cheering her home. She proudly waits at the crest of the stairway and only then presents the trophy for induction into the trophy cup elevated on a nearby windowsill. If only we humans would choose to pursue an olive branch without the costly expense of violence, because the only treasure storehouse of any consequence lies beyond this planet by way of much better behavior which has already been modeled for us.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Circling, Chicago, IL
Ever wonder why the canine member of your family circles around multiple times before retiring—or for that matter, before making a deposit, having fun at playtime, or becoming anxious? It’s in the DNA.
Animal behaviorists generally attribute the circling to evolutional survival of those not eaten by a saber-toothed tiger. The circling behavior also seems to be attributed to the existence of tall grasses in ancient times that made bedding down or doing your business rather obstructive. So by circling around a number of times, the prehistoric dogs were able to flatten the grasses, scatter hidden insects and snakes, scope out a 360 degree assessment of lurking predators, and perhaps render an attacking predator dizzy from running in circles. That last theory is mine only.
Rosemary loves to play capture the rubber chicken by incessantly running around the coffee table until her worthy opponent tires or gets as dizzy as a saber-toothed tiger. And you know the mission is about to be accomplished on our neighborhood walks when she goes into the “circle the wagons” mode. That means only one of two things is about to happen—either we are about to be attacked by hostile Indians or the eagle has landed and we can grab a stick and go home! Once she arrives at home, she circles with the stick at the door until she can enter and runs up the stairs with another prize for the trophy cup!
Some scientists in Czechoslovakia recently studied a large sample of dog breeds and concluded that their circling before scoring a BM enabled the dogs to get aligned with the N/S magnetic poles. Seems that among other highly sensitive traits of dogs like their keen sense of smell, they are also acutely aware of gravitational forces on the planet. Consequently, they generally line up in a N/S orientation before doing the deed. Skeptical? I bet now you’ll always check this out for the rest of your life!
Rain Drops, Chicago, IL
As my granddog Rosemary indulges in her morning nap and I read about a Franciscan priest's pilgrimage to the Holy Land on my Kindle app, God gently sings to us through the rain drops on the window pane in our Lakeview tree house....
"The earth has music for those who listen."
Window pane rain drops,
need no interpretation.
God sings in nature.
Winds in aspen leaves,
need no interpretation.
God sings in nature.
Waves lapping the beach,
need no interpretation.
God sings in nature.
Wild rushing rapids,
need no interpretation.
God sings in nature.
are available to all.
If we just listen.
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Ratter Pack, Chicago, IL
Rosemary, my miniature schnauzer grand dog, doesn’t sidle up to most folks outside her “pack”. And her pack, until my arrival this past week to dog sit, consisted of the two alpha “parent” roles and her. As it turns out, a little research on wild wolf packs reveals that this is pretty common, with the possible addition of some other family members. In fact, wolf packs are generally more like family units than roaming gangs or a group of celebrities like the Frank Sinatra Rat Pack. Schnauzers were bred for their guarding tendencies and the miniatures were initially used for “ratting”.
After spending almost five days of uninterrupted companionship with Rosemary, I may have finally received my unspoken membership into the pack. I first met Rosemary when she was still a pup two years ago and we got along just fine. But my last visit was initially met with her adult guarding instincts in reaction to someone outside the three-member pack that had shaped her life up to that point. There is an intense loyalty within the tight knit pack and outsiders simply shouldn’t be offended if they're met with defensive behavior. Of course, that’s hard to explain to some guy walking his dog that turns a blind corner at the same time as Rosemary and me! In fact, we don’t even think twice about sticking around for an explanation!
Rosemary now welcomes my appearance at morning’s first light and whenever I step back into a room. In fact, she now likes to be at my side and enjoys the companionship. She’s comfortable sleeping in my presence, especially following the elusive warm sunlight in the room where I'm writing. She even initiates playtime and thoroughly enjoys our walks together, even though she’s still intently focused on the ratting task at hand.
Dogs are crepuscular in nature, which means that their natural period of activity is at twilight (dawn and dusk) when the rays of sunshine are at their longest. They generally rest during the day and night. So it’s not uncommon for Rosemary to experience a bit of pack separation anxiety when she’s aware of the coming and going times of the day. But now that she’s accepted me into the pack, we can romp around and distract her until the rest of the pack returns. Then I’ll probably experience pack separation anxiety myself as I fly back to the Carolina's!
Monday, June 2, 2014
Treed Squirrel, Chicago, IL
Trophy Branch, Chicago, IL
Somewhere deep within my grand dog Rosemary’s DNA resides a strand of encoded hunting instincts wrapped around a sequence that must have been very desirable in her long distant ancestry. Men who made a living or a life hunting wildlife most assuredly noticed that this particular breed had a knack for ferreting out rabbits and partridge that enabled them to fill their game bags with greater frequency in less time.
When Rosemary is out for her Walk-a-Thon morning, noon and night she immediately and instinctively switches from being a playful house pet to being a serious safari hunter. No Apache Indian scout could ever match her ability to track the path of a rabbit that had been out during the night foraging on the urban blue grass between the concrete sidewalks and asphalt streets. No squirrel trail goes unnoticed that circumscribed the trunk of a giant oak tree as he gathered acorns that survived the long winter’s grasp. Not one kindred spirit of the dog kingdom that has marked his territory over the past week is without detection.
No respected hunter ever strikes for home without bearing a trophy of the hunt. The journey of the pursuit and the ability to outwit your worthy opponent brings on an adrenaline rush so familiar to anyone who has ever carried a shotgun into a dense plum thicket in the fall. The exploding rise of a covey of quail will trigger all sorts of instantaneous physical and emotional responses! But the satisfaction of filling up the game bag with your limit from a hard day’s hunt is the most rewarding.
And so it is with Rosemary and the triggered response to the finality of a good walk not spoiled. When she’s reasoned that the hunt has been a success and it’s time to “head for the house”, she simply picks out a trophy branch along the trail and sets a focused, headlong course back home. The branch is not released from her jaws until it has been securely brought inside and placed in the coffee cup trophy case marked with a scrolling capital “R”. Then and only then are the planets in alignment and the world is as you like it. We should all be so dedicated to a job well done!
Sunday, June 1, 2014
Leave only Footsteps, Chicago, IL
Fertilizing the Landscape, Chicago, IL
It occurs to me as the two of us walk along the tree lined urban neighborhood of Lakeview on the outskirts of Chicago that we should never lose our passion for appreciating the immediate environment we occupy like my grand dog Rosemary. She was stirring at first light as the early June sunshine broke into the bedroom window we share. Rosemary spends many hours during the day in quiet slumber and random wandering about the condo, especially in search of the vanishing locations with warm sunlight. But it’s those precious times of breaking out into the neighborhood that reveal endless wonders of God’s creation for her.
I rise from the night’s slumber and pull on my golf shirt and shorts as Rosemary impatiently anticipates our ritualistic morning walk. I’m reminded of John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley. Steinbeck was dying of heart disease at the time and felt compelled to travel across America to comprehend the American psyche. He took along the family’s standard poodle, Charley, for companionship and to have someone for mental conversation to explore his thoughts. It's always revealing to view the world through the unbiased and unfiltered eyes of an innocent.
We exit onto the sidewalk and begin our journey of exploration, mainly through the fascinating experience of investigating the hidden world of smells. Rosemary has already mastered the CSI methods for analyzing the subtle traces of those critters that have gone before us in the night, as we have gotten the jump on them by venturing out so early on a Sunday morning. This is mostly by design, as Rosemary is very defensive of her personal space, which occupies about half a block’s worth of real estate in all directions. Intruders beware!
I learned early in my own travels that you can only know a city or any location by walking the streets and byways. So, Rosemary and I search out every back alley and turn in the road. Locals have sculpted small pocket gardens in the precious land fronting their greystones and brownstones along these Midwestern streets. A harsh winter has finally relented to more pleasant weather this morning as we pass the fresh green shoots of new grass and flowering urban plants. Rosemary does her best to fertilize the landscape, conscientiously rationing the precious deposits to mark our passing. I unsheathe a plastic bag designed for the purpose and gather up the number two deposits in a responsible gesture of neighborly love. Thankfully, Rosemary is a small dog. Our crusading mantra is to “take only memories, leave only footsteps.”
Our wanderings are full of curiosity and respect for our surroundings. A calico cat from T. S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats wanders outside in a gated yard and Rosemary issues a sharp bark to validate the intrusion of our sacrosanct space. The calico doesn’t acknowledge our claim and moves on without even flinching, knowing the decorative iron fencing is impenetrable. I suspect Rosemary knows this as well as she bristles with righteous indignation. A large black ant abandons caution and aimlessly wanders across our path along the shaded sidewalk. Rosemary investigates and unceremoniously eats it.