In late February, we had our only snow this winter.
I woke in the morning to find the sun shining through the crape myrtle I planted when we first moved here. Ice crystals glittered on the tree limbs like a thousand prisms—tiny, brilliant rainbow lights. I took a picture. When I looked at the image, the word that came to mind was holy.
Maybe it was the brightness of the sun. The reaching ray of light. The purity of snow. The hush, the stillness. Just a sense of divine glory, of peace.
And then I noticed where that sunbeam ended.
Oh, how I recalled, in that instant, first reading Where the Red Fern Grows when I was around ten years old. It tore my heart out. I wept for weeks. A dog story, of course. And hardship, love, and sacrifice. Wilson Rawls wrote:
I had heard the old Indian legend about the red fern. How a little Indian boy and girl were lost in a blizzard and had frozen to death. In the spring, when they were found, a beautiful red fern had grown up between their two bodies. The story went on to say that only an angel could plant the seeds of a red fern, and that they never died; where one grew, that spot was sacred.
That’s when the boy, Billy, finds a red fern growing between the graves of his two dogs.
Look where my sunbeam ends.
Directly over the grave of my family’s little dachshund, Nik, who was with us for sixteen years. That’s his memorial statue rising up from the snow.
No red fern, of course.
But sacred, just the same.