At about 8:30 last night I thought the Israeli-Hamas war had moved into our neighborhood, but it was just the kids next door setting off the loudest firecrackers I've ever heard. I stepped out on the side porch to see how the horses were handling the excitement. I was glad that the pasture had dried up some since the last rain. If the horses start running when the pasture is muddy, I worry about one of them sliding in the mud and crashing into the fence. It has never happened, but that doesn't keep me from worrying about the possibility.
A new round of firecrackers was being lit in the neighbor's driveway just as I arrived on the porch. There was no moon last night, but I could see Tesoro, Rocky, and Fay silhouetted against the lights from the neighbor's carport. The three of them raced to the corner of the pasture that was farthest away from the loud, flashing firecrackers. They stayed in that corner, but turned around to watch what was going on next door.
When that string of firecrackers was spent, there was a few minutes of quiet. At this point curiosity outweighed fear. The horses walked over to the side of the pasture nearest the neighbor and looked over the fence as if to say, "What's the matter? Aren't y'all gonna do some more?" Then the kids lit another round, and the herd of three took off for the far corner again where they watched until there was another interval of quiet. Then they ambled back over to the neighbor's side of the pasture and repeated the whole sequence. I decided the horses were having fun, so I went back in the house to finish watching an episode of Monk I had started earlier.
I thought about Monk today when I went shopping at the Whole Foods Market. There's a container at the entrance that dispenses anti-bacterial wipes so you can clean your hands and the handle on the shopping cart. Monk would approve.
Nine ladies dance on the ninth day of Christmas to remind us of the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. No doubt, these are the ingredients of a happy life and it pays to cultivate them all.