Saint Claudia

My wife is a lot like Saint Francis. She has a green thumb and a loving heart. I can't say as there have ever been any miracles that I can attribute to her, but disregarding miracles, she is a saint. She has two very big loves, flowering plants and small animals. She has a thing with nature. She will go out into our back yard, and dig in the earth, and as she digs, things will miraculously sprout around her. She will talk to birds, and they will talk back to her. One time I watched her lift up her hand and a small bird land on her finger.

I have tried to talk to birds as well, and once something landed on me too. Fortunately I was not far from my bathroom, and I was able to quickly wash it out of my hair.

She feeds some of our cats on our back porch and it is only natural that this food will attract other creatures. By feeding animals outside, she not only takes care of our cats, but the neighbors' cats, visiting raccoons, opossums, and other critters of the night… And these creatures seem to love her.

People warned us that raccoons and cats don't mix. One person told us that the raccoons would kill our cats. This never happened, and the animals managed to live in harmony with one another. We frequently observed cats and raccoons eating from the same plate together. Not only did we observe cats and raccoons, but on one instance had an opossum simultaneously dining with the cats and raccoons. There was plenty of food, and no creature saw any need to cause any problems.

Over the years several families of raccoons would visit us. One particular family consisted of four roly-poly cubs and two very large adults. They seemed to be very shy and I would usually turn off our lights so that I could see them eat.
They may have been shy around me, but this evidently was not the case with Claudia.

"I am going to feed the cats," says Claudia.

She fills a coffee can with dry cat food, opens our patio doors, and steps out. She walks over to the cat dish and starts to pour food into it. She immediately realizes that she is not alone. Someone is helping her pour the food. The largest of the raccoons is helping her hold the coffee can and is happily joining with her in dumping the can of food.

No anger, no fear, only harmony.

There is a nursery in Woodland Washington that my wife enjoys visiting. It is a marvelous place with water gardens, and plants, and trees. They have indoor plants, outdoor plants, landscape materials, and sometimes even fresh produce.

It was a bright Sunday afternoon and Claudia had me take her across the river to this commercial place of beauty. She was in especially good humor as she went about the nursery picking out exceptional "color spots." The "color spots" were plants that stood out by themselves. She would not just pick any plant; her plants had to be exactly right. It was vitally important that their colors blend in and merge in harmony with the rest of her garden. I pulled a little red wagon behind me as she filled it with plants of impeccable taste. We then proceeded to the cashier.

That afternoon and the next day was a time of intense activity. Weeds had to be hand pulled, the ground had to be tilled. All things had to be just right so that it would fit in with Claudia's concept of feng shui. Her garden was not only to be a thing of beauty but something of "Cosmic Balance" as well.

Her work done, she felt linked with the rest of the universe. She had a created something of beauty and she knew what she had done was pleasing in the sight of God.

Unbeknownst to her, four loving eyes followed her every move.

Claudia and I went out to a late lunch that day. Claudia was radiant with the joy of knowing that she had done something very right, and we celebrated her achievement with sandwiches, soup, and pie.

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