During one cold and very snowy winter of my Michigan childhood, I looked out our front window to see a strange sight. A confused opposom had wandered out of the safety and protection of his home, and was sitting out in the middle of my front yard.
My mother came and looked out the window with me, and guessed that maybe he was hurt or sick, thus causing him to act so strangely.
I found this idea very upsetting. A sick, fuzzy animal, all alone on a cold winter's day? Abandoned in my front yard? I was beside myself with worry.
My solution was simple. I decided to sew him a warm blanket. I used blue corduroy for one side, and some pink printed flannel for the other. I clearly remember thinking that the corduroy might provide some insulation against the cold, and the flannel would feel cozy for the poor thing.
I stitched the blanket together as fast as my eight- or nine-year-old hands could stitch. Then, following my mother's instructions, I wrapped up in my outdoor clothes and put the blanket out in the snow just beyond my doorstep. She cautioned me not to get too close to the possum. Hurt animals can be quite unpredictable. This thought terrified me, but also filled me with sympathy and compassion for the poor thing. I laid the blanket on the snow and rushed back into the house.
In my mind's eye, I could imagine the tiny grey creature creeping across the snow to curl up on my blanket, feeling some warmth and comfort. Who knows, maybe he actually did. But when I looked out the window an hour later, my blanket was still where I left it but the possum was gone. Never saw it again.
When I saw these tree socks at a park in nearby Redmond, I couldn't help but think of my blanket for the sick oppossum. Maybe these trees appreciate the kindness of the knitters who wrapped them up against the cool Pacific Northwest spring. I'd like to think that they do.
To read more posts on the Fruits of the Spirit, go here.
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Ready for more stories about Michigan, my mitten-shaped home state?