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.