Bacon on the Bookshelf

Savory picks for the free range reader

Pepper and The Invisible Fence: A Christmas Story


Unknown-9In all the busy-ness of Christmas, Pepper found time to nose around a book I left lying around – Anne Lamott’s latest, Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace.

“I really like this book,” she told me last night as we were snuggling on the sofa before bedtime and crate-time.

“Me too!” I enthused.  “Better than any writer I know, Anne Lamott finds in all the messiness and pain of life the divinity that surrounds us and the grace that can exist between imperfect people….”

“Right,” Pepper interrupted.  “But there’s this one passage I can’t get off my mind.  It’s from someone named Wendell Berry:  ‘[I]t may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.  The mind that is not baffled is not employed.  The impeded stream is the one that sings.’  It’s kind of like that shock I get near the flags in the yard.  I didn’t get that shock before.  It’s confusing, but I know it’s something important.  I think it has to do with something big… maybe even as big as the meaning of home and a certain complicated kind of freedom.”

“Wow, Pepper,” I replied.  “You are thinking some big thoughts for a small black puppy.  I think you’re onto something about those flags…”

She interrupted again.  “I’ve also been thinking about the strange and beautiful tree that appeared in the sunroom and the baby Jesus I carried around in my mouth for a while and all the music you’ve been listening to.  I’ve been wondering – what does it all mean?”

“For that, we’ll have to get out a different Book, Peppy… I’ll go get it now.  It’s okay if there are some parts you don’t understand.  Remember, ‘The mind that is not baffled is not employed.  The impeded stream is the one that sings.'”

IMG_0118IMG_0119Warmest wishes to all this Christmas!




  1. Thank you Pepper (and Jennifer). A lovely story this morning. Merry Christmas to you both.

  2. Merry Christmas, Lucy! I am so grateful as always for your kind comments and good cheer!! xo

  3. This made me so happy!!! Merry Christmas to you and Pepper

  4. Pepper has uncovered some meaningful advice for us all. Without the collar shock. Nothing wrong with being baffled and impeded. Thanks for sharing, Jennifer. Merry Christmas, ya’ll!

  5. Merry Christmas, Don, and I look forward to seeing you over the holidays!! xo

  6. Baffled and impeded have probably been my saving graces. 🙂

  7. Baffled and impeded are where I live. 🙂 xo

  8. Merry Christmas to you Jennifer and thanks for the many good reads!

  9. Thank you for these words of wisdom this morning. I needed them….perfect timing. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  10. Jennifer, I’ve been utterly charmed through the year by the wisdom, depth and grace of all your posts. Thank you for this gem!

  11. I love the adventures of Pepper!

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