There are many callings. Some people teach. Some people write. Some people sing operas, and some train dogs. And some get up in the middle of the night to sit in the woods next to a stuffed deer head.
I learned this today. I work as the court advo-
cate for SAFE (Shelter Available for Family Emergencies), a program for survivors of domestic violence. I accompany women in court when they need to get restraining orders from battering husbands or boyfriends, or when they testify in assault cases or custody hearings regarding their children.
In this line of work, it's something to be thankful for when business is slow. The time between Christmas and New Year's was, unfortunately but predictably, the busiest season. Holidays seem to bring tension and anger to the surface for some people as easily as they bring joy to others.
As I write this, we seem to be in the lull that comes after the storm. Still, I sit in court two days a week, on the lookout for women who may be in need of our services. And so I get to view a slice of life I might not otherwise see.
TRANSYLVANIA County, North Carolina, is known as the "Land of Waterfalls." A third of the county is covered by the Pisgah National Forest-aptly named for the mountain from which Moses glimpsed the Promised Land. This is a land of tall pines, flowering laurel and rhododendron, and rushing water.
Around here most sins seem to revolve around impaired driving and the heinous deeds of the "trout criminals," caught with undersize fish, unlawful bait, or illegal hooks-or charged with "careless fishing" (don't ask me to explain that one). Some-times people are charged with camping in the wrong place or leaving their old washing machine at the side of the road or letting their livestock run loose. And there are always a few cases that get referred to the Dangerous Dog Review Board (though I personally think that dangerous dogs have no business reviewing anything).