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Posts Tagged ‘memories’

Searching through some old journals, I came across a poem I wrote, dusted it off and gave it a little space to breathe again.

 

Lucy listened. Late night coyotes calling their mamma. Suckling pups–drinking moon’s milk, watching stars fall, creeping quietly through wet wood leaves.

Waiting, worrying. “Mamma, take your babies and run!” Scary humans walk the night way.  Can’t collect them under warm sweaters, milk them people-food, teach them coyote ways. . . can’t be you today.

Coyote listens. She howls. She prays.

des, 1996

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I have been meaning to weed Shadow’s tree for some time now.  The crab grass was about to wind up the trunk,  and the city park’s lawn mower got so close the last time he mowed, he snapped one of the tree stakes in half  like a tooth pick. (If that had been Shadow’s tree, he would have been a hunted man.

The paper work, red tape, tree search, delivery, digging, permits it took to get this tree in the ground was staggering. I might have skipped it all and planted it when no one was looking.

I planted this tree four years ago, to honor Shadow, my first and most beloved dog who had just died. It fills in a line of plain trees along the fence of our neighborhood park and I walk by it  every day. I have watched it grow like a hovering parent. In hot months I have watered it, weeded it, fertilized it and even wound  protective tape about it during soccer season.

Trees, for whatever horrific reason, get badly abused around here, branches snapped off, bark peeled, spray painted or simply torn down. They need all the help they can get. I love this tree.

An hour later in the blistering heat–Zephyr watching from the shade–it is nicely clean. The lawn mower can keep his distance. 

Next,  I will lay bark and possibly some geraniums.  but my dad warns, “don’t bring any more attention to it.”  Good point. Let it quietly live, unflashy or beckoning to be bothered. Just watch it close and let it grow.

d.

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Today is a bitter-sweet day. I don’t want to be sad, but losing you was so horrible and I miss you still. You were my constant, protector, travel companion, best friend.

You and I bud, we saved each other. ♥

Shadow:  found Oct 1995. Died July 27, 2006

Love you always, me and zephyr

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This is the view from my bedroom window at the cabin. It’s a window seat and some days I believe I could sit there all day. The only thing better, of course, is to go downstairs and sit on the beach or the pier.
I’ve been lucky enough to have this view a few days a year as far back as I can remember. The family is getting bigger, our time there is getting shorter, but it’s the last place left that has my whole life’s worth of memories stocked up like an old photo album.
Room With A View

Room With A View

Even sitting here at my computer staring out over the water works.  My thoughts go backwards and my blood pressure drops.

What a lovely evening that was. I even caught the canoe just as it swept through the middle of my picture. Tell me that isn’t the most beautiful room with a view.

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It’s summer. I was tired of looking at the misty autumn river scene on my banner. So I edited in my favorite view in the whole world. It’s a bit grainy, but I don’t mind.

The pier on the left is our family pier. It’s fairly new, 10 years or so. My grandfather built the original sometime in the 30s. It weathered a good long life, then got traded up for steel pylons. No more walking from wood hand post to wood hand post. Now it’s a clean, straight walk to the end. A balancing act if vertigo is an issue, especially at cocktail hour.

The whole view w/my kayak

The whole view w/my kayak

I miss the old pier. It smelled like fish and bait and suntan oil. It had history. Still, the new pier works.  Eventually, it will assume the summer odor appropriate to all beach cabins. It will take on the patina of dropped ice cream cones, Popsicles, clam dip, wine, sodas, lotion that have baked in the sun crusted with sand.

I don’t get enough time looking at this real view anymore. The family has grown, everyone wants their time there. And who could blame them. Look at that view!

I was blessed to grow up on the other side of this grand lake, way up on a mountain over looking the lake from what seemed like a  far distance. Really, it was only a mile, if that. Still, nothing was like driving the miles around the lake to spend time at the cabin. It is the only family home I have left. It is the only place that still holds onto my childhood, no matter how long I have been away. I walk out on the beach and down the pier and I am a kid all over again. “Welcome home,” it calls. “Thank you,” I say. A hundred, blessed thank yous.

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I was reminded last night of how dogs are like children, except they don’t grow up and go away to college. A woman on twitter announced her dog had been chewing on a dead squirrel from behind her shed and was sick. I immediately though “rat poison!” which I didn’t yell to scare her, although I’m sure it didn’t help, but because in a dog centered world, like a kid centered one, you’re the mommy in charge of safety and care of the little bugger, except dogs can’t say “ow, it hurts here.” In fact, their job, they feel, is to hide any pain or weakness for fear of being left behind by the pack. Just like men.

Zephyr

Zephyr

Zephyr has managed so many hairbrained, split second danger diversions it’s amazing I leave the house with him at all. Here are a few  ringers:

1. As reminded, the day I looked down at the park and saw a squirrel tail hanging out of his mouth as if he’d swallowed a Davy Crockett hat. Me, being seasonably calm, pushed down on his head with my left hand then yanked up the tail with my my right. Insta-squirrel jerky and all in one piece. Dogs don’t savor anything, the smellier the faster it’s gone. This includes so many other unsavory items one finds in a park, along the river, I can’t even mention because it’s early and it will ruin your breakfast.

2. Engulfed in biting wasps when he stepped on a hive at the river. Screaming, swatting and running for our lives. We escaped, but Zephyr went from adrenaline high to nearly dropping as we neared the car. I  now keep Benedryl everywhere.

3. Attacked by pitbull & me playing super adrenaline mom, grabbed huge pitbull and wrestled it to its back on the ground. I was VERY lucky that time.

4. Peaceful river walk ends when Zephyr tears into a bramble hedge hiding a coyote den. Horrid teeth gnashing and yelping ensue. I couldn’t see. I couldn’t get to him and I was certain he was a goner. When the sound softned to no sound at all  I sobbed and ripped through the limbs until there was a  nose poking back at me. I yanked him out, no visible blood anywhere, unimaginable. I body checked him to the  end, his ass, where I found a deep hole the size of a silver dollar. He must have turned in fright at momma coyote who gnashed him in the hind quarters. Through the grace of god I had my own vet pharmacy at home: antibiotics and pain meds, which saved us, because it was a Saturday evening of Memorial Day weekend. Of course it was.

 

I see all these gleeful puppy owners in the park, people who have never had a dog before and I imagine if they really knew what they were getting into they would have passed. “What’s to a dog, ” I overheard one guy tell another. “You feed it and walk it once in a while.” I already felt sorry for this guy–but mostly for the dog.

When I found my first and dearest dog, Shadow, 13 yrs ago I had no idea what I was getting into, even though I grew up with a dog. Looking back over the years to follow I can’t imagine it without him. When Shadow died he left behind Zephyr and now it’s just the two of us. After a painful prolonged ending for Shadow, I no longer wait around until the end to be thankful.

Everyday, Zephyr helps me practice the Art of Now. Be here now, because there may not be a later. (Oddly, I can do this for him, with him, but not as much for me.) Often, when I’m rushing around with a list of errands and Zephyr hasn’t been walked  even once I stop and ask myself, “which is more important in the long run, finishing errands or walking Zephyr? I often make myself choose the later, because at the end of my day, year, life, I don’t want to look back and say “well, at least I got all those errands done. Phew!” What I do want to say is “I raised two dogs, loved them and cared for them to the best of my ability.” It isn’t monumental. It won’t make headlines, but it’s an ending I feel I can peacefully live with.

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The world is freaking me out today. The simmering triple digit heat has left Sacramento feeling edgy, jagged and hostile. It’s May and this is way too early for  July weather. It’s best to ease into summer, one digit at a time, instead it  feels like an intersection collision.

Triple digits have become a trigger. I relate it always to Shadow and that dreadful summer where we laid together on the wood floor beneath the whining window AC. Two weeks of heat that would not relent below 100 and more often rose to 114 degrees. The living room became small, suffocating. I draped sheets over the stairwell and wet towels over Shadow.  He was in so much pain by then. Time has never moved so slowly.

Now, when the sky feels like it’s on fire,  those days come back  in a viscious flood. Life was measured in teaspoons then. They were the worst–and the most important–days of our lives. And then Shadow’s life was over before he could feel the coolness again.  I wanted to go with him, but I had to stay behind.

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So, this weekend has been all about haulting encrouching demons,  staying  present, remembering  that it is just heat,  just weather and it will pass. It’s difficult. I don’t want to live here anymore. I hate summer. 

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