Tuesday morning I woke up with a big black weight pressing down on my head. The whole world had changed overnight and I felt so low and out of sorts. I knew I’d have to force myself to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving through the day. So I opened up my computer intending to read an ebook to the girls.

But first, a quick check of the emails. That was when I realised my dear friend Suzie was online. She’d just dropped a comment into my inbox. Hurriedly, I started typing:

“Maybe you are still online, Suzie... Can I ask a little prayer of you? I feel so low today. I know I am tired. Also, Andy hit a kangaroo which bounced across the road in front of him last night. His car is damaged beyond repair…”

A reply flew back:

“Sue, dearest Sue, my dear friend,
Please forgive me for my laughter. Actually it is a big smile. No it is more just a chuckle held in check. Hit a kangaroo?

Imagine if I wrote to you: Sue, please pray for us. I know God has our best in mind, but Tony hit a polar bear yesterday.

I'm sorry. I shouldn't laugh but this is so dear and odd sounding. Remember I live in Southern California…”

And I laughed. That heavy weight dissolved into nothingness. Instantly I was free and back to my usual self. I reread Suzie’s email and chuckled some more.

Imagine this: Andy is driving along, on his way home from town. All he can see is the circle of road illuminated by the head lights. Suddenly, without warning, a polar bear leaps out right in front of him. He slams his foot on the brake but it’s too late. A head on collision is inevitable. Thump! The bear flies through the air taking part of the car with it. Andy gets out and sighs as he looks at the damage.  His car is written off. If only that polar bear had decided to wait an extra 5 seconds before crossing the road. The huge white bear is heaved onto the hard shoulder out of the way, and Andy limps home in his crumpled one-eyed vehicle. Polar bears? What a nuisance!

Of course as soon as Suzie had sent her silly email, she began to worry that she hadn’t expressed enough sympathy. She hoped she hadn’t made me feel worse.

No, I was feeling great.  A good laugh can put things in perspective. Suzie’s words were just what I needed so I replied:

“I will excuse your silliness but if you write and tell me you have hit a blue whale or a polar bear, I will not have much sympathy. I will laugh and laugh!”

Polar bears, blue whales…kangaroos. Suzie is unlikely ever to meet any of these on her Californian roads.

I think about how the exotic becomes ordinary when you encounter it frequently. To us, kangaroos are just part of the scenery. We forget people have never seen one. Some people spend a lot of money travelling here to get a glimpse of our kangaroos, koalas, wombats… And here we are running them down in our cars on an ordinary weekday evening. And moaning about them.

And southern California?  I wonder what animals and experiences Suzie finds ordinary that I’d find extraordinary.

Isn’t that the fascinating thing about this world: its diversity. Wherever you live there are treasures, but we sometimes fail to see them until we catch a glimpse of them through outside eyes.

I imagine: my blogging friend (I hope it’s Suzie!) from a far distant spot on the globe, is coming to visit. What will she see when she arrives? I try to look at my home through her eyes. Will she be thrilled if she sees a kangaroo hopping down our street while she is on her knees in our lounge, saying her morning prayers? Maybe she will notice the wombats on the side of the road and feel a moment’s sadness at their unhappy end. She might even see a real live one emerge from its hole. Will she chuckle in time with the kookaburra that sits on our fence, thinking life is so funny? Perhaps the golden wattles will delight her. Will she want to stroll through the bush at the bottom of the road, enjoying the shade of the tall gum trees? She might be lucky enough to see a spiky echnida snuffling along. A koala might be difficult to spot... but a banksia man...

I am looking at my world through outside eyes and suddenly it isn’t ordinary anymore. It’s extraordinary. That’s enough to lift my spirits. The black mood has vanished. And I am still giggling. Yes, a good laugh helps too!

My dear friend Suzie is actually the famous Suzie Andres, author of Homeschooling With Gentleness and  A Little Way of Homeschooling. You were probably aware that Suzie writes delightful books. Now you know Suzie also writes delightful emails. 

(I emailed Suzie asking if I could post this story containing her words from a private message. And she replied: "OF COURSE you can post it!!!!" Isn't Suzie a wonderful friend?)

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  1. Lovely photos!

    There's a restaurant in England (Oxfordshire I think) which will clean and cook for you any road-kill you happen to hit with your car. Pheasant, rabbit, deer, kangaroo (?) and even polar bears if you can drag them through the door of the restaurant.

    Driving through Scotland I often hit haggis in the middle of the road. Plenty of them up there on the hills. Taste good too!

    God bless.

  2. Hi Victor,

    There wasn't much left of the kangaroo. Not worth the effort of dragging it home to cook.

    We know a young man who stops to skin any roadkill kangaroos. I think he uses the skins in whip making.

    Haggis? I'm pretty sure haggis is stuffed stomachs of sheep. Hang on, I will go and check.... Yes! I'm close enough. What are haggis doing out there on the road? Do the sheep know their stomachs have sneaked off for a bit of an adventure?

    God bless!

  3. I love all of the wildlife that we have here. It genuinely makes me want to praise God - which is why, after learning that Andy is okay and commiserating with you over the nuisance of the car, I can't help feeling sad about the poor, little Skippy.

    I have to admit, though, that Suzie's image of the polar bear made me laugh - I hadn't thought about Australian animals seeming funny to people overseas!:)

  4. Hi Sue,

    Haggis is a little furry creature native to Scotland which hops very much like a kangaroo. Difficult to catch but goes down well with a dram or two of whisky and the sound of bagpipes. Here's a link to explain more:


    God bless.

  5. Also, furthermore and moreover, the haggis was immortalised by Scottish poet Robert Burns in his poem "Address to a Haggis" in 1787. It goes like this:

    1 Haggis Road
    Haggis Town

    God bless.

  6. You and Victor have me giggling! Both the post and the comments cracked me up! I've heard all about Victor's "restaurant"- he's probably the owner and is just not telling us!

    I loved the pictures in your post. My brother vacationed in Australia 5 months ago and loved it. He came home with a lot of beautiful pics. Your country is beautiful.

    Around here people hit moose and deer a lot. We even have deer and moose crossing signs. Unfortunately, the moose and deer ignore them :)

    My nephew had a bear in his backyard this summer but that's unusual. Needless to say, he stayed inside :)

    I think kangaroos and koala bears are so cute! My daughter loves them too.

  7. Hi Vicky,

    Yes, it is sad to see so many animals dead on the side of the road. Though I don't think Andy had much sympathy for the kangaroo. The end result was a disaster all round: one dead kangaroo and one dead car.

    Do you like the picture of the polar bear? I took it myself!

    Actually I took only two of the photos. Can you guess which ones?

  8. Victor,
    That link looks suspiciously like the one I followed to confirm that haggis is stuffed sheeps' stomachs. (or perhaps intestines or perhaps artificial membranes)

    Now maybe you're right: the haggis might hop like kangaroos (as they run away from their sheep) but I still don't believe haggis are small furry creatures.

    Btw, what is the plural of haggis? Haggises?

  9. I'm glad you were able to get that close to the polar bear without being eaten!! And, I'm guessing your photos are the banksia and the wattle - I can't imagine you sitting, wet and damp in a hole, waiting for a chance shot of some elusive wildlife, somehow...

    All the photos look great!

  10. Mary,

    Victor is so funny, I agree! But I think I am going crazy sitting here writing about furry, kangaroo-hopping stuffed haggis.

    I'd love to see your deer and moose and bears. Live ones of course!

    Our wombats and kangaroos can't read the road signs either. We also have signs warning drivers about the possibility of road crossing ducks. We often see huge trucks suddenly brake and pull to a stop, to allow a family of ducks to continue their stroll across the highway. Who ever said truck drivers are big and tough and insensitive?

  11. Oh Vicky,

    Was it that easy to spot my photos? Well I think they are very nice pictures of wattle and banksia. And if I'd been at the accident scene when Andy hit that polar bear, I'd have photographed it too.

  12. Sue,
    Between the photos, the writing, and the comments, you have one very fun blog going on here!

    One slight correction: although you should be surprised if I hit a blue whale (they rarely come onto the road), there are actually gray whale (and blue?) sightings off the coast here. Okay, so I've never seen one...nor a haggis...but some people see them not far away (the whales, not the haggissssss <- plural).

    Back to your original point: yes it is such a wonderful world full of exotic creatures!
    How about raccoons? Those are interesting critters: do you have those where you are?

    Wondering if they hit polar bears in the arctic,

  13. Hi Suzie,

    Thank you for continuing the fun!

    Of course you will never see a grey whale as you are driving along the road but gray whales... if that ever happens send me a photo!

    We are hoping to sight some whales when we go on holiday in a couple of weeks' time. Apparently the whales will be migrating south to Antarctica. Could they be hump backed whales?

    Raccoons? No, I've never seen one of those. Do you have them where you live?

    Hitting polar bears in the Arctic? Now that is an interesting question...

    God bless!

  14. You are so kindhearted. I can't imagine how you could ever offend! I'm glad you're feeling a bit better mentally. I'm sorry about Andy's car - so glad he's o.k though. I surely did enjoy the pictures in this post - You're right! It's great to read posts written by people living in different areas of the world. It's amazing how environments can be so different, yet people are people wherever you go.

  15. Dana,

    Thank you for your kind words!

    I am glad that you enjoyed the photos. I always enjoy visiting your blog and looking at your images because, as you said, 'environments can be so different' and I love finding out more about places far from home.

    But yes, 'people are people wherever you go' and we have so much to share and laugh about, despite the fact we live in such different places. Isn't the Internet wonderful allowing us all to be friends when we live so far apart?

  16. I dont know when to laugh and when to take you all seriously! So I will just smile. :)
    Anyhow, love the pictures and the post and the polar bear.:)

  17. Thank you,Colleen!

    The damaged car and the black mood were very serious... at least at first... after all the laughing I'm not sure even they were that bad. All the haggis, polar bear and whale talk has certainly cheered me up. And I am grateful for the kind friends who stopped by to add to the fun.

    Can I convince you I took that beautiful photo of the polar bear? Perhaps not!

  18. As you know Sue, I have just returned from holidays to a mountain of Blogs to read and emails, And I find this lovely post. Although it is serious regarding Andy the car and the kangaroo and your heavy mood, but I see how beautiful and unique our Australia is.
    We have a pack of kangaroos who meet on the street corner at sunset as we walk. We found it odd to see them in eleborate fenced area in the animal parks we visited.
    You made me proud to live in this land, and see things in a different way.
    God Bless

  19. Hi Leanne,

    I've missed you! I hope you had a great time away.

    Yes, we live in a beautiful country which sometimes we take for granted. It is good to try and look at it through outside eyes occasionally.

    Andy has a new car and it will soon be our turn to go on holiday, so everyone is happy! God is good. No black moods.

    God bless, Leanne.

  20. Sue,

    Enjoyed this post and got a chuckle off it too. Can't imagine anyone in Wisconsin hitting a kangeroo unless it escaped the zoo. Our nuisance animal here is the white-tailed deer. It is not uncommon to see one dead on the side of the road whereever you travel. Glad my husband is a hunter, we really have way too many out there! They cost us thousands of dollars a year in insurance costs and car repairs.
    Glad your husband is ok, though!!

  21. Hi Angie, thank you for stopping by and saying hello.

    I'd love to see your white-tailed deer. A live one preferably! I bet they'd do even more damage to a car than a kangaroo. I can't imagine having the strength to pull a deer off the road to prevent anyone else from hitting it too.

    Andy has a new car. I suggested a bull bar to protect it from future collisions but it's only a little car and probably wouldn't get very far with a great weight like that hanging off the front. My van though is well protected!

    God bless.

  22. Ah, Australia is such a wonderful country (even without polar bears running across the roads).

    1. Kelly,

      So true! We live in a beautiful and unique country. I remember seeing a polar bear at a zoo many, many years ago. It didn't look at all happy. Much too hot. I don't think they'd like our traffic either!

  23. Lol!!!!! LOVED this post! My mom has wanted to go to Australia for years. Have you ever seen Five Mile Creek?
    We loved that Disney series. And now I have to ask...do you speak with an Australian or British accent? For some reason I'm thinking you were raised in England. I need to know so I know which accent to hear in my head when I read your posts. ;-).

    1. Elizabeth,

      I have to admit I haven't heard of Five Mile Creek, but I'm going to do some research now you've mentioned how you love it.

      You have a good memory! I was 7 when we arrived in Australia and have lived a few years in England and Wales since then. But it's been 30 years since we last travelled overseas. I guess I have a mixed accent. It's hard for people to place where I come from. Sometimes I have even been mistaken for Irish, though I can't hear the similarity! I'll have to post a video with me talking some day so you will be able to imagine my words with the right accent! It's funny how we read words with accents. I do it all the time!

    2. Oh yes! That would be so much fun to hear your voice!! And you HAVE to check out Five Mile Creek...it's awesome!!! But you'll only think its awesome if you like cowboy type movies. AND the characters are Catholic. :-).

    3. Elizabeth,

      I found Five Mile Creek episodes on Youtube. The girls and I can't wait to watch. The series sounds perfect. Thank you so much for the recommendation!

    4. Yay!!! I'm going to have to look those up so I can watch them again with you, in a way. The only bad thing about the series is that they ended it after 40 episodes but the ending is great. Have fun!

    5. Elizabeth,

      I will think of you when we watch Five Mile Creek! We might do that this afternoon. I'll let you know how we like the series!


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