Friday, 2 October 2009


What moves first with four legs, then with two, then with three, then the rest is history?

So asked the questioning Sphinx. It's not by chance that I always have my dog-headed walking stick close by me -even when composing these blogs. I gaze at my beloved dog-head as I search for inspiration. Its vanity will only be satisfied when I have given it blog publicity. Bingo! The answer! Me and my stick! The answer to the Riddle of the Sphinx:

As babies we crawl on all fours.
As healthy adults we walk on two legs.
And when we become aged and frail we get around on two legs + a walking stick
Such are the stages in our lives.

Well, I've reached the stage of requiring a stick -hence the picture of the handle. As you can see, it's far from ordinary. In fact it's very splendid and I'm inordinately proud of it. It depicts a St. Bernard's dog, complete with brandy barrel, which unfortunately is empty. A friend, visiting the Pyrenees, brought me back this beautiful present.

I'm not the only one to admire my stick. In fact complete strangers in trains and restaurants look at it with wonder and start talking to me about it. From this introduction we sometimes get into conversation, especially on long train journeys. Young people offer their seats to this frail old man who needs a walking stick. I always accept, since it would be churlish to refuse such a thoughtful and caring gesture. If, out of pride, I were to reject their offer they might be reluctant to show someone else the same kindness. They might think, "Once bitten twice shy."

As I reflect on my dog-headed walking stick I thank God for moving my friend to give it to me. This not only enables me to get about safely, but also proves to be a wonderful ice-breaker. It sparks off a spontaneous friendly reaction in complete strangers. They obviously want to be friendly with me and welcome my warm response.

All this could be dismissed as being trivial and transient. I think that would be a mistake. In these passing encounters we meet God's children, and they meet us. That's mywaygodswaytheirway of establishing communication. More than this, we meet God in each other. And as we exchange pleasantries about my beautiful dog-headed walking stick both of us feel a warm glow, which enriches our day. We seem to want to reach out to each other, but are afraid of being intrusive and clumsy. My dog stick has provided a way forward.

Far from being humiliated by needing my walking stick to steady me, I rejoice that it has opened new and unexpected doors, not only for me but also for other people. Anything that breaks down the barriers, which isolate us, is a gift from God. That goes for my walking stick! Take another look at it. It deserves more than a passing glance.

Isidore OP.

Next week Pachyderms will help Peter to meet God.

1 comment:

  1. My first reaction to this splendid photograph is that I want one!!
    Want to comment on Peter's 'possible child' but have almost missed the boat.
    Truth is that children are at certain moments "impossible" in the sense that because of a tantrum or other emotional upset, they are at a particular moment,in a world of their own.They are not listening or caring and often need a space to come to themselves.
    I think that is how we are sometimes with God. Sometimes it is just not possible for Him to get through to us because we won't allow him near. We are being impossible!.
    Thankfully God(and hopefully parents) know this is only part of the story!!

    Want to link this up with Isidore's magnificent "Y" series. I love the small figure being modelled fom the earth. He may be tiny but is full of countless possibilities!