The Heart Of Coal

This is Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle. I’ve been told that under my tough demeanor, I have a heart of gold. A sensitive side. And I’ve been told that I am handsome. But that’s another blog for another day. Or many days, actually.

When Girl Person and Boy Person decided to visit a West Virginia coal mine yesterday, they told Digby and I that since it was so cold, we could take a nap and they would be back. I had no idea what a coal mine was.

But when Girl Person explained the cold, dark and scary space, and how you had to ride down into it, Digby and I had absolutely no problem taking that nap. Plus, when they told us they would buy us a hat, well. It was a deal.

They weren’t gone too long. But apparently they learned a lot.

They learned about coal. And about the people who worked very, very hard to get the coal.

I don’t know about you. But I didn’t really know too much about coal.

Dogs usually don’t talk about it, I guess. So that’s the first thing she talked to me and Digby about. She explained what coal was.

We learned that there are many uses for coal. Persons use it for electricity, to make steel, to produce power.

And the persons in this West Virginia place that worked to get the coal for others to use had a very hard life most of the time.

It was not an easy job. In fact, it was a dangerous job.

I don’t think that persons often think about all of the conveniences they have and why they have them.

When they are turning on a light, or when they use their heater, do they wonder why they have electricity? Do they know about the ones like the coal miners in West Virginia who worked so hard?

Or the fact that so many died?

Do they know the sacrifices that even animals made in those coal mines? Like the ones that carried tons and tons of coal every day?

What about the birds in little cages that the miners carried to know if their air was safe? Yes. Many birds lost their lives too.

It’s easy in a world full of convenience to ignore why we have them. And we waste power. We waste so much. That’s not respectful to anyone. Not the ones who worked for us to have it.

We should all have a heart of coal. Not gold. It is so much more valuable.

Coal may start off cold. But when used, it produces heat and power! Even if we have had a cold heart towards ones in our lives, it can be warmed up.

I think of how life progresses for persons. They have ones in their lives like family that they take for granted when they are young. Time marches on and life takes twists and turns, and sometimes there are disagreements or differences in opinion. Do they let those things make them forget what their family gave up for them when they were young?

Do they take for granted the ones in their lives? They do.

Coal miners worked long and hard days.

Coal miners lived simply, yet provided for so many others.

As with every place and state we visit, the coal mine of West Virginia teaches us about the past, but prepares us for the future. If we keep taking conveniences for granted and we are wasteful, they will be gone one day.

Family can be gone one day too. So precious are our coal hearts. Dig deep. Feel. Forgive. Appreciate.

-Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle

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Where The Moss Grows

This is Deputy Digby Pancake. If I meet you, you can probably be pretty sure that I am going to ask you for a back rub and a massage.

It doesn’t matter if you are young, or even a baby.

It doesn’t matter if you are older in years, or even as old as Brickle looks. I will ask you for a back rub and a massage.

Since I’m not partial on what people look like or what number their age says they are, it confuses me when others judge on age. Or why they don’t think that someone who is 90 can’t give a better back rub that someone who is a baby. Yes. I’ve asked a baby.

When we were hiking in the West Virginia mountains this week, I saw lots and lots of moss.

Girl Person said that sometimes, people get confused about what are ferns and what are moss. But she said moss doesn’t ever have flowers and it doesn’t have roots.

It takes just the right circumstances for moss to grow. And once it does grow, with the right conditions, it can live a very long time. Just like persons.

So why do some view older persons as having less value?

They may not think that they do. But do they take time to talk to them or visit them? Sometimes, the closest friendships are ones you woukd never expect.

Older persons like moss may not see the sunlight very often. Maybe they are at their houses a lot. And just like moss won’t come to you, sometimes they can’t come to you. You may have to make the effort to hike in the forest to see moss or go to an older persons’ house. Maybe bring some pancakes or cookies. That’s a suggestion.

When we visit places, every place has a lesson for us in nature. Every state inspires us.

That lesson may be different for each one of us. But it is there. You have to look. Listen. And don’t ignore it.

Just like dogs get older and persons get older, you will get older too. Learning to appreciate others now will help you to appreciate and value yourself later on.

Where the moss grows is a beautiful place full of experience and history. Plan a visit. Even bring some sunshine with you.

Learn from the moss. And brush up on your back rub skills.

I’ll be expecting a good one. No matter what your age.

Deputy Digby Pancake

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