Peggy Goodrich (column mug)ENE

Do you trust your instincts? Think about it.

We had little wrens building and nesting on our back patio. It was a joy watching them clean out the old nest and completely rebuilding a new one. They have a certain place they like to sing from atop the patio umbrella. They go from that perch to the hanging plant near their house and then glide right into that tiny quarter-size hole carved in the wild gourd that is their favorite nest year after year. It is fun to watch them set up housekeeping and getting ready for a family.

It is amazing and amusing to me how they know what to do to build a nest. How do they instinctively know how to start with the large twigs and weave it into a soft nest for their tiny little eggs? We have watched them carry sticks three times larger than their little bodies and create a way to turn the sticks sideways to get them through that tiny hole. Who taught them how to do what they do?

It occurred to me that people have instincts too. Somewhere along the way we have lost or ignored our instincts until we hardly have them anymore. People automatically know “north” if they just listen to their heads. I guess I have a skull of metal because it automatically points to magnetic north. Our youngest granddaughter has the same instinct. We were driving to Oklahoma City one time when she was quite small and she remarked that we were going south. I asked her how she knew that and she said,”Grandma, because we just came from the north.” She just knew.

Many people hardly know left from right, much less north from south. But the instinct is there if we just listen. We can also sense when a storm is brewing even if we cannot see the sky or television, if we just feel the hairs on our arms and feel the pressure on our eardrums. We have a sixth sense about things if we could and would rely on them.

It was a joy to be raised in the country around animals. We knew what instinct was when a mother cow would hide her baby calf. One could walk within a foot of that calf and it would not move a muscle but would stay “frozen” and safe. Mother cats know instinctively when to move their kittens to a safer place by gripping the backs of their necks ever so carefully and carrying them to a new home. Horses will kick when anyone walks behind them instinctively unless the person speaks to the horse. Even our tamest riding ponies had to be spoken to, to keep us from harm.

Our ancestors who settled this country had a sense of where they were going when they came in those covered wagons and on horseback over the rugged countryside. They had maps of sorts showing landmarks, but if they were a mile or two off course they would have missed an entire town or settlement. They didn’t have lights dotted over the countryside like we do now that indicates that there is civilization nearby. It must have taken a lot of instincts to know what plants to eat and where to camp and what water was safe to drink. How did they just know? Who taught them?

If we just listen to ourselves, we still have a “gut feeling” that something is going to go wrong in our lives. We know instinctively if we are in eminent danger. Fight or flight sets in. We need to listen to those warning signs and heed them. We almost have a premonition of what might happen. Listen to those warnings.

Haven’t you planned something and had unforeseen circumstances occur and were unable to follow the original plans? Then later you discover that there was a car wreck in the path of where you planned to go or a bomb scare or fire at the building you were going to or something like that? That is the gut feeling we are talking about. Are you paying attention?

We also need to listen to ourselves when our schedules become so packed that we have no time for ourselves and our families and the things that mean the most to us. Sometimes we just have a feeling that we need to say, “No.” Our health is more important than any “thing” we do. What good are we to people if our health fails and we have a stroke or heart attack? Our instincts tell us when to take better care of our health if we just listen to our bodies.

Instincts are nature’s way of protecting us. We don’t have to be taught them. They are different for everyone. Even the signs are different. Instincts come naturally.

My late husband, Jim, told stories of his Marine experiences when they did not know where they were but used instinct to find their way back to where they started. They did not want to wade in the swamps because of the terrible mosquitoes but were forced to go anyway, and almost all of them came down with malaria and continued to have attacks all their lives. The enemy/natives would not go into those canals because they knew the dangers of malaria. For the Marines, the danger of malaria was the lesser of two dangers. It was better to to take a chance and suffer malaria than be killed by the enemy. Instincts were important, and saved countless Marines.

Many people call these gut feelings “God winks” because they are a message from God to be careful and watch our step. I cannot stress enough to be aware of what is around us and take extra care. We can all think of a time when for some unknown reason, we were delayed and found out why later. Then we can only thank God for the warning and for saving us from disaster. Those messages and instincts come from our creator, our Lord and Savior. Listen and heed those warnings.

This week we went to see our dear friends near Breckenridge. Every time we go, they give us lovely produce and jelly or something. We don’t go just for a handout, but it must look that way to them. Anyway, while we were there they gave us some more lovely asparagus and strawberry jelly and had us sample a wonderful recipe using asparagus and macaroni. It was so good, Stan and I ate all of it and then got the recipe from Bill and Hazel and came home and made some more for supper. I know you will love it like we do.

Hazel’s Asparagus With Macaroni

1 cup macaroni, cooked in salted water and drained

1 cup asparagus, cut in ½-inch pieces, cooked until tender in salted water and drained

½ cup grated mild Cheddar cheese

1 cup or more diced, cooked ham

½ cup sour cream

Mix the cooked and drained macaroni and asparagus with grated cheese until cheese melts. Then add ham and sour cream. Great hot or cold, and it freezes well IF there is any left over.

Send your comments to: Peggy Goodrich, Food For Thought, P.O. Box 1192, Enid, OK 73702.

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