Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Everything

Everything matters, as I was reminded once again on our evening walk around the lake. From the green halo which is slowly--too slowly--overtaking the trees on the edges of the park, especially the willows, which are sobbing for the inevitable but tedious arrival of another Rocky Mountain spring, to the throngs of people that had overrun the trail, most of them--myself included--in shorts and t-shirts. They jogged and biked and walked, leisurely and without any sense of time, while others struggled with their puppies, gangly yellow labs, hounds with ears nearly dragging the greening ground, Pomeranians that jogged along the edge of the path looking like dusty cotton balls caught in the playful, warm afternoon breeze. They were pleasant, these people, smiling as we passed, some offering hellos and passing pats to Dunc's head as he hurried past, his nose low, his eyes trained on the shrubs where the rabbits roost. The smells was there, too, that rich, moist, dark-earth fragrance of spring, thick as the flavor of copper but as light as the few cloud wisps that drifted overhead. It mattered that families had gathered with loaves of bread to feed the geese and ducks in the same way that I had fed them when I was a child and my grandparents had taken me down to the river or to Tautphus Park in Idaho Falls. The ducks crowded the shore, mindful of the eggs they'd just planted in their new nests, but unwilling to ignore a free hand-out from the visitors. It mattered that I pause in our walk to visit with the elderly man who'd stopped to sit on a bench and stare out at the sun playing on the water, a look on his face that reminded me of my grandfather after Grandma passed away. When Dunc sniffed his freckled hands and allowed him to scritch his ears and mumble incomprehensible words to him I wondered if some kind soul had stopped for Grandpa on those long, lonely afternoons and if the moment had meant anything to him, enough to bring a smile to his face. It mattered that the sky was finally gold and blue and warm enough to smile into and that there was no hurry to head home, only to enjoy the sound of Roo's feet on the path and his tail as high as a flag, flapping and wagging with each step he took.


It has been a difficult month for me but afternoons such as this one remind me that even when I think nothing matters, it all does, and there is an infinite world for which to be grateful.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Farewell Hello Home

And then suddenly, after seven years on the property we've called home, five of them in our cozy, one-bedroom apartment, it was time to go for one last walk down the thirty-seven stairs, out onto the sidewalk, painted bright under the morning sun, stroll down The Run for one last meeting with Jeffrey, his cats, and the squirrels which gather at his patio for their morning meal, across Bowles to the park where we could run and throw a good, bright and new tennis ball, and enjoy the memories of all the mornings, evenings, and afternoons we'd done this very thing, while looking to the future, the new people, the new friends we'd make, the new paths we'd amble, and the new apartment we'd call home.


Dunc was all smiles, oblivious to the adventures that awaited us. I took him off leash at the park and let him run and run and run some more, until he was panting and content to roll onto his back and show the blue sky his pink belly. And when it was time to head home, we walked down past our first apartment, ran into Scott and his Golden, Zeus, who gladly ate the treats I offered, and told them we were moving. Duncan glowed red and gold against the newly greening grass and the birds--returned from wherever--sang us a spring song.


And then, hours later, when everything had been lifted and carried and moved from one place to another, when our bones were sore and our muscles tired, we assembled my bed and climbed in, cuddling up against one another, Dunc spooning me, one paw thrown over my shoulder as he snored. 


Our new home is truly new; we are the first to live here. It will be awhile before everything finds the places it needs to go, until the boxes are emptied and carted down to the recycle bin. But that's okay, because we have each other. And the path looms ahead.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Certain and True

There are few things that are certain. One of them is that at those moments when you feel happiest and most secure life is sure toss a few curve balls in your direction. The other is that when you're at your lowest and most vulnerable, nothing brings a smile to your face as easily and as certainly as watching your good, red dog––your best friend, your brother––catch a ball and bring it to you as though there is no finer treasure in all the world, and no one more deserving of it.


I love you, Duncan. You are the finest, most certain truth in my life. Bless you, bless you, bless you.



Thursday, February 13, 2014

From Russia with Love

"You," the woman called from the open window of the car that was coming to a stop next to us.

I pulled Duncan's leash in tight until he was standing next to me, his tongue lolling out but barely visible in the deep blue dark of early evening. We were standing on the edge of the park, which is almost completely dark this time of year, except for the baseball diamonds and the lights from the street. Behind the car, the traffic moved quickly past, their headlights bright in our eyes, illuminating us where we stood.

The door opened and the woman--a big, burly thing with an enormous mop of platinum blond hair--climbed out, slamming the door behind her with force.

"You," she said again, and this time I recognized a heavy Russian accent. "I see you every day," she announced, stepping away from her idling car and toward us.

I smiled my bravest smile. "I'm sorry," I apologized. "Do I know you?"

As she approached I could just make out the traces of a smile, although because she was Russian it was difficult to be certain. "No, but I know you. I see you all the time. With your dog," which she pronounced, "Dohguh."

"I see in the morning on my way to work. You cross this busy street and your dohguh stays right by your side. I see you every night on my way home from work. And again--your dohguh is right beside you."

I nodded and smiled and kicked a pebble awkwardly with my toe. "Yes, I walk him a lot," I told her.

"Sometimes I see you in the afternoon. I watch for you. I always see you."

I didn't know what to say so I just smiled.

"You love him, no?" she asked, stepping toward him and holding out a meaty hand. Duncan sniffed her tentatively then relaxed and wagged his tail.

"Yes, very much," I told her. "He's my best friend," I said.

"No," she said, scratching his ear. "He is more to you. I can see that. I see that every day for long time," which she pronounced "lohnguh time," hitting the T with a gutteral crispness. "He is your brother, this dohguh. He is more than friend to you."

I blushed and did the only thing I could, which was nod and say, "I love him very much."

"And he loves you." She scratched his chin and then looked up at me. "I have wanted to tell you that for lohnguh time. So tonight I did."

And before I could say anything else she moved back toward her car and climbed in. "He loves you very much," she called out through the window, which was now rolling back up. "Very much." And then she put the big car in gear and pulled away, her tires crunching the gravel and sand as she passed.

We walked home, my brother and me, a smile on my face, a wag in his tail. Duncan, I'm sure, knew nothing about our exchange, but on a deeper level––in that Golden heart of his––he's known all along. This was nothing new to him.




If you like this post, my good dohghuh and I would love to hear from you. We've been waiting a lohnguh time.

Friday, January 31, 2014

A Good Pack

I may not have been Mr. Popular in high school or college, but I think I've more than made up for it since then.


I run with a pretty cool pack these days and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Witness

Last night just after the snow started, in those quiet moments after dark when the first flakes look to be little more than summer insects dancing among the street lamps but then cease their flutterings and grow thicker and heavier and begin to fall in earnest, I took Duncan downstairs for a walk. The traffic had calmed and the night was quiet and thick around us, the only sounds those of our feet slapping the slush and breaking the thin crust of ice that was trying desperately to form along the edges of the curbs. Duncan padded along beside me, pulling gently this way and that when he found a bush or a clump of grass that needed investigating, but mostly sticking close to my side, occasionally brushing against my leg as if to be sure of me.

When our hair had turned good and white and my cheeks were a solid shade of pink, he climbed to the top of the tallest mound of snow leftover by the plough that had cleared the parking-lot last week. It was a mammoth thing, towering over me by a good three feet. One side was dark and solid, an enormous chunk of ice that was stained with rocks and small pebbles, the dirty splashings of passing cars; the other a soft powder of snow, the kind that kind be blown and scattered by a single breath. Duncan rolled over on his back on the soft side, exposing his belly to the heavens and simply looked upward into the cascading flakes, the flurry of white dancing down into his eyes. He laid there a long time, unmoving, simply breathing and witnessing, and after a long moment I could not help but join him. So I climbed the berg and settled down next to him. His body was warm against mine and his tail fluttered when I rested my head beside his. And together we did nothing else but watch the snow come down, each flake sighing a single whispering crystalline chime as it alighted on our lashes or in the powder around us.

I am not the kind of man who throws big parties or attends them even. The nightlife does not know my name or my face. I do not make loud noises. Laying next to Roo in the snow and watching winter be winter is all the excitement this spirit needs or craves.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The North-South Axis

Usually at this time of year, when Denver's winter really starts, when the temperatures plunge and I watch Orion begin his slow descent on the horizon, falling lower and lower each night, after the promise of longer days and shorter nights has been made by the spinning of the earth and its slow rotation around the sun, I think of North and South only in terms of the hemispheres and their weather, with a big "Ha ha, suckers," directed toward those who live on the southern side of the planet and who have just reached that point on their calendar when their own days grow shorter, and longer, darker nights become a reality. Their summer has just begun, of course, but each evening when I drive home I notice the sun resting on the horizon a little longer and a little higher, and each morning when I rise the skies are bluer when Duncan and I finally venture out.

This year, however, I've been thinking of North and South in an entirely different manner. A few days ago I stumbled across an article on Live Science that has answered a question I've had since the night Ken first brought Duncan home: why do dogs spin in circles before squatting to take care of the Big Job, the Number Two. Those of us who lack yards and must don our winter coats and boots, pull on our mittens and hats each time our companions need a walk or a bathroom break, are well familiar with the tiring experience of standing in the cold watching our friends move in a slow circle, butt low to the ground, as they go around and around and around again, being ever so particular about where they chose to take care of business. I have shivered and bounced in my boots for minutes at a time, impatiently waiting for Roo to choose the exact spot, always wondering what the big deal is, why one patch of land is preferred over another. 

It seems as though a team of German and Czech researchers may have finally answered that question. After two years of watching dogs poop, they have finally concluded that the reason for the exhausting selectivity is because dogs prefer to do the job in alignment with the magnetic lines, meaning they like to face either north or south when the deed finally goes down. So, because I'm a curious fellow, I have spent the past four days diligently watching Duncan poop, taking note of the direction he faces each time he goes. And as luck––or science––would have it, it looks like these researchers are correct, at least in the case of a certain Golden Retriever who's laid claim to my life. Without fail, every time, his head and rump and have turned and turned and finally settled in such a way that one or the other is pointed north.


And there's your science tidbit. Give it a try yourself and see if your dog's compass points North.


If you liked this story and would like to share your thoughts or the results of your own experiments, I'd love to hear from you. Please don't be a lurker. Post a comment! They're greatly appreciated!



*Photo courtesy of Google Images

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Last Sunset

It has been a lovely day, rising early, before the sun was up, two cats curled up around me, one on each shoulder, Ken warm beside me, and Duncan in a tight little ball in the center of the bed, taking up a fairly sizable portion of my sleeping space. We went out while the sun was still low, chased hundreds of geese from the ground back into the morning sky, ambled about through the last bits of remaining snow, then came home to cuddle on the bed with the cats and Ken until they were ready to get up.

We have been out several times since, to play with the new puppies that have suddenly appeared, to chase squirrels, to visit Jeffrey, and to walk silently beside each other as we do several times a day every day.

Today was filled with simple moments, the kind I live for and love the most.

And now, as the sun dips down on the other side of the horizon, the air still warm on my patio where I sit, Duncan is once again curled up close, his chin resting on my foot, his breath warm and loud. 

I am not one to make resolutions at the end of the year, but I promise not to take a single moment with my boy for granted, to love him as much as my heart allows, and to accept the love he has to offer, in late night head baths while I'm trying to sleep, or even when he takes up most of the bed. He is perfect to me. I could not ask for a better friend and won't even try.

My little family may not be traditional, but I am proud of it, happy being a part of it, and in love with it with every fiber of my being.


Thank you for the wonderful memories of 2013. May the new year be filled with countless blessings for each and every one of you.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ding Dong

The witch is gone.

I'm not sure when it happened but I can only assume it has been a fairly recent occurrence. Her broom hasn't been seen parked in front of her apartment and the local children don't seem to be behaving as though they've been turned into gingerbread.

Her patio––a monstrous place––was nearly empty of her strange, maroon decorations, the wicked creatures with open mouths as bird feeders, and the twisted, stick art reminiscent of the Blair Witch Project. The only thing remaining was a bizarre sculpture that hung above her patio doors, a skull with blood red wings shooting out from it like flames, reminiscent of the Día de los Muertos masks worn in Mexico the day after Halloween. It was exactly where it has always been and even though her blinds were open and I could clearly see the entire apartment was empty, it made me nervous, as though she was somehow watching us, waiting to lock Duncan and me up in a cage to fatten us up before tossing into a cauldron.

Duncan, who has not been allowed anywhere near her for years, seemed to know she was gone and walked right up to the patio. I hung back, even whistled at him out of habit, to come back to me and steer clear of the entire cursed area. But he was impervious to whatever spell she had cast over her property, and sensed no power remaining in the watchful black eye-sockets of that dreadful mask. He was so confident in himself that after sniffing around for a moment or two, he ambled up to the edge of the railing, raised his leg and shot a steady stream of pee right across the cement, a faint of steam rising up where it landed. And when he was done he looked up at me, grinned in that Golden way of his, wagged his tail, and gave me the all-clear.

The witch is truly gone.




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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Num!



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Sunday, November 10, 2013

A High-Five Can Make All the Difference

I have not had a good day. In fact, it's been downright unpleasant. So I did what comes naturally at such times: I pouted and took a nice long nap, but upon waking discovered that the day was just as crappy as it had been before I laid down. I snacked and cleaned and did laundry, listening to music loudly––almost obnoxiously so––but nothing seemed to make me feel better. The only things keeping my sane today were Ken's patience and general good nature, and Duncan's unconditional love, the way he rests his chin on my foot even during my ugliest moods.

So I decided to take him to Hero's in the hopes that his excitement and joy would rub off on me. From the moment we walked in the door we were greeted by happy, smiling faces, and people who love Dunc almost as much as I do. They tossed cookies and treats at him, rubbed his belly, went through his entire repertoire of tricks, gave me big hugs and a shoulder rub, and a whole bag of free kitty food. In short, they did nothing out of the ordinary, because they always make us feel good when we go there.

It wasn't until a little boy and his nanny walked in, though, that I felt my mood begin to lighten. Dunc normally runs around the store off-leash, greeting each customer at the door when they enter, merrily following them around in the hopes of earning another treat, smiling and wagging his tail in that way that I love so much. He did the same for the new customers until the nanny informed us that her companion, small and blond and no more than four years old, was afraid of large dogs and was a bit nervous by Duncan's attention. So I set Roo down in front of him, asked him to give me a high-five and then ten––two of his favorite tricks––and then asked the boy if he wanted to give Roo a high-five. I handed him a treat, a big, fat, golden pumpkin cruncher, and taught him how to give the command. Dunc waited patiently until the boy stepped forward and bravely held up his hand. Dunc immediately gave him a nice, gentle high-five, then leaned in close, licked him sloppily on the face and took the treat when it was offered. The boy giggled and clapped and threw his arms around Dunc in a brief hug.

It was at that moment that my foul mood broke and the world seemed a pleasant place once again. Dunc came to me, nuzzled his head against my leg like Pip and Olive do when they're hungry and have decided I'm late delivering their dinner, and thumped his tail against the floor. I scritched his ears and thanked him, and the smile on his face seemed to say, "See, I'm still here. I've got your back. Always."

Bless my dog, my amazing, wonderful best friend.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Song for Autumn

There was an empty spot on our walk this morning. And although my heart broke, just a bit, and my eyes searched--if only briefly--the ground for the simple leaf with the heart-shaped hole, so much so that even Dunc joined in the search, I took a deep breath, sighed and smiled all at once, and took comfort in the presence of my good--my best--golden friend, decided to enjoy the morning, the nakedness of the trees and the wider glory of the sky and the sun, unencumbered through the branches, casting wider swaths of honeyed light across the day.


There is much to be thankful for on an Autumn morning and even though my leaf is gone, my heart is full and content, and ready. My heart is always ready.

Song for Autumn

In the deep fall
    don't you imagine the leaves think how
comfortable it will be to touch
    the earth instead of the
nothingness of air and the endless
    freshets of wind? And don't you think
the trees themselves, especially those with mossy,
    warm caves, begin to think
of the birds that will come — six, a dozen — to sleep
    inside their bodies? And don't you hear
the goldenrod whispering goodbye,
    the everlasting being crowned with the first
tuffets of snow? The pond
    vanishes, and the white field over which
the fox runs so quickly brings out
    its blue shadows. And the wind pumps its
bellows. And at evening especially,
    the piled firewood shifts a little,
longing to be on its way.




Mary Oliver is my favorite poet. Do you have a favorite poem? Share it in a comment. The world is so much better when people comment.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Changed Heart, a Necessary Sadness

It is no secret that I prefer Spring and Summer over Autumn and Winter. As the season warms and the world greens, I have always felt my spirit change––a thrumming in my blood and bones and a calming to my ever-racing thoughts––as the leaves unfurl on the trees and the blossoms emerge from their brown, bark cocoons, their sweet fragrance wafting across the fields and into my open windows. And then in the fall, when the world turns orange and red, and a perpetual sunset seems to hover over us, a necessary sadness overtakes me with the realization that the birds have fallen silent and the tufts of dandelion and cottonwood snow are an eternity away.

This year I have kept my eye on a single maple leaf that hangs directly in our path when we walk down The Run. Sometime in June a six-legged critter, possibly one of the fat green caterpillars that I marvel at, paused on its journey and snacked a heart-shaped hole into its perfect surface. That shape became a symbol of the joy that overtakes me each Spring, of the love I feel for the season. I have watched it daily, reached with my hand to gently push it out of my way and peer through the heart at the blue sky and green cottonwoods on the other side. I have fallen in love with that lone leaf and have watched for it each and every time Duncan and I have ventured outside on our walks.


This past week, when the weather turned consistently cold and the wind found its bite, I have watched it yellow and then turn orange. This morning I discovered that most of its sibling leaves had been pulled free of their mooring and lay scattered on the ground at our feet. While Duncan peered in Jeffrey's window for a sign of the cats he loves to play with, I rushed forward to check on my leaf with its heart-shaped hole. My stomach dropped, my mind raced. I should have plucked it free and taken it home to keep with me always as a reminder of these days and these walks Dunc and I have shared. When I finally found it, I ran my thumb across its surface and watched it flutter in the wind, its skin, once thick and juicy, now brittle and dry as an old woman's foot. I wanted to pull it loose but then changed my mind and decided to let it be, to allow the wind to carry it at the time of its choosing, at the moment it was destined to fall, flying briefly, rejoicing in a sudden and exhilarating freedom before the hand of gravity pulled it to its final resting spot. Such a simple decision, and one most people would regard as unnecessary, but it took all my will power to let it go, to look back one more time not knowing if I would see it again. And while Duncan ran blissfully across the park, rolling his face against the stiff, frosted grass, my mind kept wandering back to the maple, back to its fate, and that necessary sadness claimed me once again.


There is a fierce wind out tonight, loud and cold and tireless. The branches are beating against each other like old enemies and while Duncan lays curled up at my feet, his chin resting so gently against and warming the top of my foot, my thoughts are out there in the dark, worrying for my heart, wondering if it will still be there in the morning.




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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Dance

We have had frost and then Indian Summer, and then snow and a second sweet Indian Summer again, with the grass still green but crisp, the leaves––orange and gold and amber––still clinging to the boughs and branches, their silhouettes perfect against the early evening sunset, as they should be at this time of year. The air is cool on our walks but heavy with the fragrance of tired, brown earth, and the steadily falling and drifting Autumn quilt from above.


Autumn is not my favorite time of year, but it is rich with poetry and magic.

This evening I watched a timid and delicate breeze, maple-scented and playful, pluck a single leaf from the ground, spin it around on its invisible axis, and flutter it across our path, flapping it like the wings of a golden butterfly in the last rays of the sun. Duncan stopped, his ears perked high, and watched for the emergence of a mouse or one of the small birds that like to dart from the shrubs, flapping a moment before his dancing nose before hurrying for cover among the deep shadows of the trees. When no creature appeared, he seemed content, as I was, to witness the mystery and delight of the season and relish something far beyond his comprehension.

At moments like these I wonder if it would be wrong to have the power to explain it to him, or if it would be a blessing to see it through his eyes, to watch without question or hope of explanation, and simply experience it.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday: Duncan's Commercial Promos for Hero's Pets Part 1

Last Summer Chelsea at Hero's Pets asked if Duncan and I wanted to make more commercials for her store. Two months later the results are finally in. Unfortunately I can't post all three spots in a single post so there are two more following this.

Duncan and I make only the briefest of appearances in this first commercial so be sure to watch the other two.






(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday: Duncan's Commercial Promos for Hero's Pets Part 2

Here's the second promo Duncan and I did for Hero's Pets last summer. We play a much bigger part in this one but be sure to watch all three. And be sure to let the good people at Hero's (my friends) know how great you think they are!

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday: Duncan's Commercial Promos for Hero's Pets Part 3

Here's the longest of the three promos Duncan and I filmed for Hero's Pets last summer.

Be sure to visit their website, stop by if you're in the area, or give them a call to let them know what you think. Hero's is Dunc's favorite place in the world. Make it yours, too.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Where's the Waldo?

Can you spot the fresh, warm goody someone was inconsiderate enough to leave behind after their dog tended to its Big Job?


Neither could I. And I and my new shoes are most perturbed, thankyouverymuch.




Not leaving a comment is almost as inconsiderate as the mess I wandered into this morning. So be a chum and say something nice.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

(A Not So) Nearly Wordless Wednesday: "Every Fair Face"

Never lose an opportunity to see anything that is beautiful.
        It is God's handwriting - a wayside sacrament.    Welcome
        it in every fair face, every fair sky,  every fair flower.
                                                                             (Ralph Waldo Emerson
)

It was a gorgeous day, warm and blue and bright with a cool breeze which danced with the bees and the little flying things that love it more than even I do. The grass had been mowed and the air was sweet with its moist, green fragrance. So on our walk, after the soccer hoards and the new volleyball hoards had quit the park and left it to Dunc and me to enjoy all to ourselves, I did what nature demanded, which to quietly lay down on the grass, heedless of its clippings, which wanted nothing more than to inch their way into my shoes and under my socks, climb into the sleeves of my shirt and work their way against against my skin. I did not mind, though, because the sky was too blue not to marvel at, the world around me too perfect not to rejoice in.


And Duncan, being a Golden Retriever, and a lover of all things, did what his nature demanded, which was to forget his ball and amble to my side where he could lean over me, where he could drool for a moment, obscure my view, and then slobber my nose with a great big kiss.


What a lovely view I have. And what a lovely day.




Leave a comment and make the day even better!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

"The Journey-Work of the Stars"

I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars. (Walt Whitman)

They mowed the grass today as they do once a week. It's a chore I have been without for the past seven years, and have somehow grown to miss. There is something nice about kicking off your shoes and feeling those long blades working their way between your toes as they paint the soles of your feet muddy green and leave them sticky and sappy with their sweet juice. It's easy for me to feel nostalgic about such a tedious act having not done it for so long, but I miss the smell and the sweat and the sun on my back and face, the feeling of accomplishment when it's over, and the icy sting of cold beer sliding down your throat as your reward.

Tonight Duncan and I walked through the grass after a very long and trying day of work. Dunc rolled among the clipping, joyously and without care, sniffing and huffing while I kicked off my flip-flops and kneaded the small, dry piles into greater ones with my bare feet. The smell was luxurious and intoxicating, and as the moon rose orange and as fat as a too-ripe peach in the east, and stars ignited around and beyond her, I couldn't help but feel the passing of the summer in the coolness of the evening air and the quieting song of the crickets. There is very little grass-mowing left in our immediate future, perhaps only three or four more times if we're lucky. Autumn is coming, with its own parade of fragrances, but I will miss the grass and all the loveliness it brings to my small corner of the world.

I am green at heart, a child of summer and wonder, who loves watching his good red dog roll among its blanket, a smile spread wide across his face.

 There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.
(John Calvin)



If you liked this post, or hated it even, I'd love to hear about it. Please take a moment to leave a comment. After all, it's the little things that matter most in this world!

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Rains

The rains brought a wet and soft kind of silence, a faint rhythmic thrum––on the leaves, dripping down the rough bark of the maples, mingling like familiars among the bowing blades of grass––a silence felt rather than heard. The mornings were sweet for Duncan and me, with a sprinkling so fine it could hardly even be called a mist. The drops were motes: silky, invisible, and delightful on my cheeks and throat, gathering as they did, like sunshine along the line of Duncan's back, extending from the tip of his nose, gathering together sweetly on his eyelashes, parading all the way down to his golden strands at the end of his tail.

It has been a long time since we have walked in such silence. The air had turned cool––nearly cold––and all those people in all those home around us were doing what I had done when the drowning heat of the week before had finally passed: they flung open their windows and turned off their air conditioners and allowed the first fresh air to mingle among their things and themselves. The Run seemed almost empty without the constant whir of machines, the lurching clap clap clap of motors coming suddenly to life. The only sound was the dreamlike drizzle off the trees and the soft squish of our feet in the soft earth. We walked slowly, without purpose or hurried pace, afraid to stir the silence even slightly for fear that the morning would shatter, which it eventually did, but by no fault of our own.

For many these rains were anything but peaceful. Homes have been lost, as have lives, and it will be a very long time before things return to the way were only a week ago, but for Duncan and me, in our little corner of the world, in their own way they were wondrous, not for their cacophony but for their serenity. That seems almost unfair to admit, but not to marvel at them would be a lie, and to ignore even the smallest drops would be a crime.