Marge and Tracy have all the good scenery on their side of the house. They get to see turkeys walking the labyrinth (who knew that turkeys were such contemplative creatures?) and Mama Deer feeding her spotted little one and Mama Fox zipping across the lawn. Meanwhile, I get to see our old brick garage and the wall that divides our property from Marathon Cheese. The garage, at least, has become a more appealing sight now that it’s been decked out with hanging flower baskets. Thanks, Just Bob!

Mother Nature must have heard me grumbling about the fact that people on the east side of the house have so many more interesting things to look at than people on the west side of the house, for she has been gifting me with delightful little sights throughout the week! Today, it was a tiny red squirrel, balanced delicately, yet strongly, on the upper support beam of the swing near the Francis Garden. Sister Squirrel sat precisely on top of the swing, perfectly parallel to the beam, moving not so much as her wispily elegant eyelashes as she returned my friendly gaze.

Yesterday, Mother Nature gifted me with a chance to see the occupant of the den near the cloister wall. Tracy told me quite some weeks ago that he thought the den denizen might be a badger, to which I responded that we should buy it a little red and white striped sweater with a “W” on it. Tracy (I can’t imagine why) seemed reluctant to persuade Brother Badger to don said sweater. At the end of the day, it’s good that we did not purchase any spirit wear for our den denizen, as he turned out to be not a badger, but a woodchuck – and a very adorable woodchuck, at that! As Brother Woodchuck made his way across the grass near the garden yesterday, mowing up clover as he went, he stopped periodically, stood up on his hind feet, churned the clover in his cheeks, and scoped out his surroundings. The whole scene was a bit like watching a teddy bear lumber across the lawn.

And then the day before, Mother Nature’s gift was … a green shag carpet? Upon looking out my window on  Tuesday morning, I glimpsed something that appeared to be either a discarded, yet still brilliantly green, Christmas tree or a very vibrant green shag carpet. The fact that this green mystery object was located near our compost pile led me to realize that the greenery actually WAS the compost pile, having burst without warning into riotous new life.

Monday’s gift was a sunset of purple and richest pink in alternating and tidily even bands across the horizon. And Sunday’s gift was the brilliant silver luminescence of thunderheads backlit by the sun’s sinking rays.

Yet another gift awaited me today, although it wasn’t from Mother Nature, and it appeared in the west side of the house, rather than on the outside of the west side of the house. Namely, as I approached the walk-in freezer in the kitchen late this afternoon to grab a frozen pizza for supper, I was confronted with a large magnetic sign stuck to the freezer door. The cream colored sign bore the following words in red printing: FR BOB’S CATERING SERVICE.

I laughed so hard I almost fell down. Fr. Bob always did have a knack for knowing when one of us needed a good laugh. And now, posthumously – no doubt with the help of his brother Ray, who has been finding good homes for Fr. Bob’s earthly possessions – Fr. Bob still knows when one of us or all of us need a good laugh. Thanks, Fr. Bob. Thanks, Ray.

The laugh was needed, indeed. Things took a turn towards the tense this afternoon, when it was discovered by our elevator installer that one of the key components necessary for success in Friday’s elevator inspection – an emergency phone line – was missing.

I was confounded by this news. I distinctly remembered the day that a service technician from Frontier came to set up landline phone service for our new elevator emergency phone. And yet it seems that the phone had no dial tone. Curious to know what happens when one calls an elevator emergency phone that has no dial tone (would anything at all happen?), I dialed the number I’d been given when I set up the emergency phone line in August of last year.

Lo, and behold!

The phone rang.

Granted, it rang only twice, then fell silent. Even still – the phone had rung.

I was skeptical.

I called Bob and asked exactly how he’d found out that the phone had no dial tone. Apparently, our elevator installer had run a piece of diagnostic equipment on the phone and could not detect a dial tone. We decided to use a more low-tech piece of diagnostic equipment to hear for ourselves the deafening silence of making a call to the elevator phone. Namely, Bob walked into the elevator and waited for me to call.

Our plans for listening to the deafening silence of a non-ringing phone were thwarted.

The phone rang twice and Bob answered.

It was arguably the first monastery-to-elevator call in the history of telephony.

I can’t begin to guess what will transpire tomorrow, when a service technician from Frontier and several stakeholders in the elevator inspection process arrive.

Time – and the good night’s sleep against which I can no longer fight – will tell.

Deo Gratias!