(with profuse apologies to A. A. Milne…)
One fine day, perhaps tomorrow, two orphaned young armadillos were trying their very best to follow directions they got from Owl, who had a reputation for being One Who Knew Things because he could spell Tuesday. They were hopelessly lost.
“I think we’re lost,” the younger one said as he followed his brother. He was only younger by about three minutes, but still.
“Possibly. All this grass looks the same,” said his brother, a dreamy sort who was sure their lack of wings was the whole problem. “What we need is some wings. Owl has wings, and he never gets lost. When do you suppose ours start growing?”
The younger armadillo gave him a quizzical look. “We get wings?” This was great news, because his feet were tired.
“I don’t know. I hope so,” said the elder, and in him was born Faith.
They stopped in a sunny spot by something called a Strip Mall. The trees disappeared, and they encountered Exhaust Fumes. Unsure of how to proceed, they did what all residents of the Hundred Acre Wood did: they stopped for a snack.
“It’s noisy,” the younger armadillo said. “I’m scared.”
“Me, too,” admitted the elder, looking around, and in him grew germs of Doubt, much like the hidden germs of Leprosy he didn’t know he carried.
They snacked on ants and wildflowers and felt the warm sun on the soft young shells of their backs. The wind sang lullabies to comfort them.
“I like the sunshine,” said the younger one. Their safe home in the forest was cool and familiar, but it was also often dark. “It feels so warm on my skin.” And in him grew Love, Gratitude, and Peace.
The elder armadillo smiled because the younger had unknowingly shared Love with him. “Me, too. I hope it stays this way. I hope we can always feel warm, even when we’re lost.” He did not know this was a prayer. He did not understand the miracle he was asking for, the grace his young heart desired.
He was for asking Time to ignore him. He was asking for his young shell to never harden.