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.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

More Than a Thousand Miles Later

Ever wonder where you'd end up if you took your dog for a walk and never once pulled back on the leash? (Robert Brault)

Six years ago tonight, after a long day of work, I took Duncan on what was certainly our two-hundredth walk to the park to unwind and clear my head. I'd dabbled with blogging, writing a short-lived fiction series called School Daze, but it was difficult work and my heart just wasn't in it. I'd been searching for a new idea, something that would be easier to manage than a series of connected short stories, something close to my heart and relevant to my life. While Duncan was tending to business, I noticed one of the little leaguers struggling with his own business much to the horror of his mother. Almost instantly I knew what my new blog would be about: the places Duncan led me, the adventures we had, the things we taught each other.

It's been quite the journey: 964 posts and 55,157 page views, countless magic feathers, six pairs of walking shoes, one sturdy pair of winter boots, and hundreds, if not thousands of miles later, we're still here. It's always been about Duncan and the journey, of course, but tonight I wanted to take just a moment, as I often do on this anniversary, to thank my readers. Your support and encouragement over the years has been a blessing I never anticipated. I never expected that people from every state in the country and from nearly every country in the world--from South Africa to Chile--would join us on our walks. Readers have come and gone and many have stayed. I value each of you, especially those who leave comments and kindness when they visit. You, and my good red dog, have brought more pleasure and wonder to my life than I can express. Thank you.

I hope to see you out there, among the trees, be they green and full of leaves, or cotton-covered by snow, be the air sweet and fragrant or wet and filled with the breath from our bodies. Duncan and I will greet you warmly and with great tenderness. There is always a place for you at our sides.

If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking.  Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk. (Raymond Inmon)

If you enjoyed this post, please leave a comment. Your comments don't pay the bills but they surely make life that much sweeter.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


While there are countless things in this life that make me happy, few make me as happy as bringing joy to Duncan. And tonight, in honor of his ninth birthday, I got to do that with a trip to Hero's. Caught in traffic I called in a panic and alerted them to the fact that it's Roo's big day so they offered to stay open until we got there so they could help him celebrate.

And celebrate they did!

They gave him all sorts of good treats, danced with him, sang to him, and Retta, who he loves dearly, cried at the sight of his joy. Her kindness and generosity to Dunc is limitless and I love watching him play with her. She even gave him a couple of very meaty raw bones to enjoy for dinner tonight.

All in all he made out pretty well, what with the new dragon friend we brought home, the bag of apple cranberry treats, the birthday cupcake, a dried catfish skin, and a candy bone.

The people at Hero's are some of the finest I have ever met, as are the good people who wished him a happy birthday on Facebook today. I would be lost without him and thank The Universe daily that so many people have been able to share in our walks these past seven years, loving him from near and far.

Happy birthday to my good boy, my best boy. Blessings to you, Dunc. If you receive half as many as you have bestowed upon me, you will the luckiest, happiest dog in the world.

Please be sure to leave a comment and tell Duncan happy birthday!

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Happy Birthday, Duncan!

Happy birthday, Roo! Nine is sublime!