White Dog and The White Dog Army
Wonderful World Wednesday
White Dog and our family have a slightly different tradition to celebrate Thanksgiving. Instead of the huge feast of many delicious temptations and a gigantic roasted bird, we take our bird on the claw, literally. We are fortunate to live within a few hours’ drive of the country’s largest overwintering refuge for snow geese, sandhill cranes, whooping cranes and a myriad of smaller ducks. The Bosque del Apache is the winter home to tens of thousands of birds and ducks (including several pairs of magnificent Bald Eagles). The cranes are amazingly graceful and walk across the fields with a Zen serenity. Feeding snow geese cover the ponds like hundreds of bobbing icebergs and at dusk flight after flight of wheeling shrieking sandhill cranes spiral downward from the heavens like a feathered cyclone to return to their roosts in the marsh. It is there, surrounded by our Manzano Mountains, that the WDA celebrates its gratitude.
We walk together and sometimes just sit quietly, watching, and giving thanks for the bounty of blessings that fill our lives. Noses sniffing the winds, sometimes the White Ones will howl out a greeting to the not so distant coyote packs…and in that, remember to be grateful for our little Pack, and our extended Pack that includes the supportive and loving friends that are family of our hearts…including you. Each year we are amazed at the fact that this refuge is not silent; in fact it is loud and active with communication and life. We joyfully run and bark and add our voice to the diversity as we appreciate that it is the differences that make this world awesome. The WDA stands at the Observation Deck and we pause to recognize our richness and how showered with the Universe’s gifts we truly are. And we are humbled by the grace, compassion, and kindness extended to us every day.
White Dog always gathers the others at the halfway point of the hiking loop, a clearing far from distractions and usually attended only by a dozen or so sandhill cranes curiously watching. It is here that we take a special moment to ask that on this day every creature be granted one thing, even if it is just one small crumb, for which they can be grateful. We pray that someday no one will be without friends or family or reason to share thanks; that no being is left abandoned or alone or without reason to utter thanks. We hope with all of our White Dog powers that Thanksgiving Day will come to represent again a celebration of community and harmony and cooperation which unites us all.
After the sunset descent of the cranes, we have one final ritual. Steve brushes each of the White Dog Army, who in turn walks with him to choose a site to leave a tuft of their fur…to line nests, for their coyote brothers, for the small creatures we never see. It is our way of saying, “Thanks.”
No matter how you honor this day, we wish you and yours a Thanksgiving filled with sharing, gratitude, loved ones, and celebration. And ask you to pause to remember those without…whisper a prayer for them. Remember, too, despite it all, it IS a wonderful world!
We are most grateful to each of you for enriching our journey by just being you.
Siku Marie, THE White Dog; The Mighty Quinn; Nuka Angel; Puff the Magical; YoYoMa; Oso the Fearless, Sue; Steve; and Michael.