It's been baptized by my sweat. The soles of my shoes have shaped and smoothed its contours. It's eavesdropped on my conversations with God and men. Through darkness and light, I've sped along its vagabond ways, ducking drooping limbs and jumping tree roots.
I remember cradling him in my arms, his blood splashing my coat as I ran home, stumbling through the darkness and the trees and the tears to my boyhood home. His little body shaking. His right front paw a red mass of splintered bone.
Ask about anyone to draw a picture of an angel, and 99% of them would be sporting wings. De-wing the angels and their popularity in our culture would fly out the window. We want angels as long as they have those cute wings.
In the Bible-belt town where I grew up, the virgin Mary had her annual fifteen minutes of fame when December rolled around. You had your shepherds, your angels, and your young maiden kneeling beside the swaddled babe. But after the presents were unwrapped and the nativity brouhaha had quieted down, Mary drifted back into the shadows.