LATEST EQUIPMENT: A BOUNCING BABY BOY!
LATEST EQUIPMENT: A BOUNCING BABY BOY!
Andrea and I welcomed our baby boy, Asher Douglas, into our family just after 2:00 AM on January 23 at St. Luke's Medical Center in Boise. He weighed 9 lbs. 2 oz., measured 21.5 inches and is perfect in every way. We are both enjoying his sweet, innocent spirit as well as recalling immediately the demands of parenthood. We feel truly blessed. He smiles out of the side of his mouth just like his sister Aspen did when she was little. Interestingly enough, so does their Grandma Beverley. It must be in the genes! He's going on 17 weeks come this Saturday and he's already going into 6-month clothing. He definitely eats like his Dad.
ASHER-A HAPPY NAME FROM LONG AGO
Many people have asked, so I will tell you: the name Asher means "happy blessing", and refers to Asher, the son of Jacob in the Old Testament. When he was born, Jacob's wife, Leah, exclaimed her joy and named "Asher" accordingly. Moses also blessed the descendants of Asher with "strength for all of their days". They were later referred to in the Book of Chronicles as "choice and mighty men of valour".
Asher's big sister, Aspen, was named after the tree, and we also liked that the Ash tree is noted in Celtic tradition as the symbol of spiritual strength and solidarity. Andrea's maiden name is Cavanaugh-her ancestors hail from Sligo, Ireland on the island's western coast. No wonder Andrea likes the beach!
WINTER TALES: THE BLESSING OF THE CHRISTMAS ELK
While on Christmas break this past year, I was enjoying one afternoon with Andrea and Aspen, wrapping presents to put under the Christmas tree, anxiously awaiting Christmas morning as well as the imminent arrival of our son, Asher. There was a lot to be happy about. Little did I know, we would receive another family guest before Asher arrived. I heard what I thought was snow falling off the roof, a loud thudding sound. It repeated, and repeated again. I peered through the window to find a wounded bull elk standing on our porch, eating the remaining dried-out plants left in our patio planters. As he bit into and removed the plants from the potting soil, the planters would rise and fall back onto the patio, making a loud racket! As he continued around the deck slowly, I noticed that his left hind leg was badly wounded, crushed at the hip in an automobile collision. His horns were also broken. He could only keep his leg suspended in the air and used his remaining legs to walk around. He surveyed the remaining offerings on the porch before he spotted our ficus tree we have in the corner of our living room. Luckily, he didn't go for it. He made his way around the deck and disappeared into the back yard. We discussed our visitor, cleaned up and put Aspen to bed.
At about midnight, the clopping sound on the deck returned. I turned the deck lights on and found the very same elk again walking over our deck, looking for something to eat. He made his way around to the kitchen window just in the back, turned his head and as I neared to observe him, he looked right into my eyes. While my experience with various animals has been somewhat limited to certain dogs, cats and other household pets, I have always felt great admiration for their individuality and spirit. The most impressive I had felt before this moment was with horses, which to me radiate a very unique and powerful presence. I will say that every horse I've ever seen was tame to varying degrees and while still impressive, was accustomed to human comforts. Now, with this wild elk looking at me, I felt two things that were different. The first was that while this animal was in obvious pain, and was certainly, mortally wounded, he also radiated a powerful presence, but it was much more peaceful and humble. If anyone could be graceful by simply standing in front of you and looking at you, it was this elk. He was majestic. He looked at me through the window and very kindly seemed to wonder if there was any way he could find food. It was breathtaking. There was no complaint. Just a kind request for help.
I decided to walk around the deck to see what I could offer him, but he quickly retreated into the night when he saw me outside. That fascinated me, because he was just minutes before comfortably staring me literally in the face, the only difference being that we were separated by a glass window. As wild as this elk was, he clearly knew what a glass window was and felt safe with it between us.
Idaho Fish and Game recommended that we feed him in the interest of placing him in a certain spot for removal, but the elk would evade them every time they showed up! Even with his wounds, he continually fought for his life. We fed him as instructed and so we saw him regularly. He would sleep under various trees in our yard. He became something to look forward to when I came home. We discovered that he had an appetite for Napa Cabbage, grain feed and apples, and we named him Lefty. Lefty would predictably walk up the front stairs, circle around to the back deck and look into the dining room window. Here's another picture of him.
We saw him until Asher arrived. We completed our stay in Boise and then returned to our home only to find no sign of Lefty. We never saw him again. I assume he succumbed to his injuries. We were sad to realize he was gone.
In some hope for meaning, we studied and discovered the topic of "animal totems", "animal spirits" and "animal medicine". Some American Indians believe in the healing power of animal spirits, and that each animal brings aid to individuals in certain ways. We learned that the Elk spirit brings stamina, strength, nobility, pride and survival to the individual. I couldn't say much more than that, but what's interesting is this:
One: Andrea is born one-eighth American Indian from her father who is part Soto Indian. Two: Andrea's experience giving birth to Aspen five years ago was quite traumatic, and her recovery was long and difficult. She and I were understandably concerned about how Asher's birth would transpire. Third: Andrea was about to give birth to our son, and when she eventually did, all went smoothly and according to plan. Asher was born without incident, and we all feel healthy, happy and blessed. We're unsure how exactly our Elk may have helped us, but we are certainly grateful and feel like we were blessed somehow by his visits.