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If armadillos weren’t real, they would have been invented by a cartoonist. They are just that surprising and cute all at the same time. Armadillos don’t see at all well, which has kept me hopeful about sneaking up on one to take a picture. They have a great sense of smell, so you have to approach them from downwind.

After a few failed armadillo safaris to get a good picture, I was driving into town when there by the side of the road was Fred, the Christmas armadillo. Yes, yes, I know it is Christmas and we’ll get to that, but first I am going to finish my story about Fred.

So Fred was walking by the side of the road out in broad daylight, like he was a runway model hoping to attract a photographer. I leaped out of the truck in the middle of the road and walked slowly toward him taking closer and closer pictures as I went. He let me get quite close and then got to wondering. This is the moment when he thought there might be something around worth sniffing. He sat up on his haunches and sniffed hello.

He must have decided I was friendly enough, since he didn’t run, but he ambled back toward the fence, where I later found several dug out entrances to his burrow. Fred has armor on his back and tail, but he has a soft underbelly where he is vulnerable. In that way Fred is like most of us.

It is Christmas and today you are to gift yourself with the best day you can. Today is the day to use the bubble bath or take the walk or leave the dust bunnies under the couch. If you are with family, let other hands do the work. If you are alone, leave the work for another day and treat yourself to the kind of day you wish for.

Peace on earth starts when that tight place in your chest unclenches. It fills your heart and radiates from you outward. You cannot know how far it will travel, but it will reach me here. Blessings for peace, dear one, beginning with you.

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