“Your ordinary acts of love and hope point to the extraordinary promise that every human life is of inestimable value.” ~ Desmond Tutu
The yard finally got its first trim of the season. It’s one of my all-time favorite things; that first mow of spring. The wild onions are plenty, and once they’re cut, the aroma sticks until the next rain. I reckon heaven smells like a first mow. Or brownies. That’d be alright, too. Anyway, the yard looks great, but if I’d had a hay baler I could have made a little money on the side. Wally’s a good helper, too. He watches after me, never gets in the way, and he’s genuinely happy to be outside with me. I love my little dog and my little yard and my little mower my sweet daddy gave me. I’m going to sleep good tonight grateful for everything I’ve got (and some of what I don’t).
“Our thoughts, words, and deeds are the threads of the net which we throw around ourselves.”
~ Swami Vivekananda
When the temps are low I take Wallace with me to the store. He enjoys the ride, and he’s a good boy to wait for me. Today, it was warm enough to roll down the window and let some fresh air in even if it was crisp at only 20 mph. I take great joy in seeing his little face in the mirror. If a dog could smile, he sure would, especially when he’s with dad. Those two were meant for each other, and I’m awfully glad he lets Wally stay with me when he’s not around. He’s my shopping companion.
“Worrying about the past or the future isn’t productive. When you start chastising yourself for past mistakes, or seeing disaster around every corner, stop and take a breath and ask yourself what you can do right now to succeed.” ~ Harvey Mackay
It’s National Puppy Day. Even though Wally’s not a puppy by definition, he’s a puppy to me. We headed to the backyard for a little evening shoot. He chewed sticks while I tried to photograph him. Some were more successful than others. He really doesn’t like the camera. Dogs are like people that way: some like it, some don’t. Regardless, he is one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever known. I hope you have a puppy in your life….or a kitteh. They’re cute, too.
“Just be, and enjoy being. If you are present, there is never any need for you to wait for anything.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
I went to West Liberty to watch an afternoon of basketball with mom, dad, and the boys (the boys being Wally and Scrappy). This solemn look persisted most of the day until the final minute of the UK vs. Wichita State game. That’s when we were all screaming at the TV (as if they could hear us), and the dogs began to shake. UK was barely victorious; a nail-biter down to the wire. Louisville didn’t fair as well against their opponent, unfortunately. One of my favorite things is the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament, and I always try to catch at least one game with dad. That, too, is one of my favorite things. I’m so glad I could catch a game with him.
“You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing and dance, and write poems and suffer and understand, for all that is life.” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
March blew in like a lion. I suspect yesterday’s migraine was caused, in no small part, by the massive springtime front pushing into the area. Having slept restlessly through a night of storms, I awoke to feel as if my head was squeezed in a vise to which I could not find the handle, let alone loosen. That’s when the major squall line was pushing through. Its fury pounded my stone house. The roof sounded as if it would take flight. The nearby tornado siren warbled in the 60+ mile per hour gusts. Meanwhile, Wally lay nonplussed by the whole affair, and frankly, so did I. My head hurt so bad that the backyard tree could have fallen on me as I lay in bed, and I would have had little to say beyond, “Ow.” Eventually the front cleared leaving me to nurse the classic migraine hangover with hot coffee and silence. By late afternoon, Wally and I ventured out to assess the damage. The roof was still on tight. The stone house solid as a drum. The dying oak did lose a few limbs, but that’s not unusual. It’s dying. It drops limbs on a calm day. And all these are gifts for which I give thanks this evening. In all things there are linings of silver and gold, even migraines and spring storms.
“An ant on the move does more than a dozing ox.” ~ Zen Proverb
Wally doesn’t understand grace, but he understands roast chicken and veggies. He also understands that Papaw Terry is a sucker for a pitiful looking dog. Non-starving dog aside, aren’t our heroes sweet? They’re such a blessing to have around.
“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore
One look at this little fella and my heart just melts. I could never get tired of that precious face greeting me at day’s end. He’s sweeter than I could ever hope for. He’s extremely well behaved, and kind even to the cats (now that they’ve figured out his bark has zero bite). I’m just smitten as can be, and lucky beyond belief.
“If somebody is a problem for you, it’s not that they should change, it’s that you need to change. If they’re a problem for themselves that’s their karma, if they’re causing you trouble that’s your problem.”
~ Ram Dass
I turned 52 today. Every year past 50 feels like a milestone. Maybe because so many people I loved didn’t get this far. Or maybe because I have my health so, unless an accident takes me out, I’m still firing all cylinders for a while. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I like it. This was one of the best birthdays I’ve had because I had only one thing planned; breakfast with Stacy at Winchell’s. It was, of course, excellent, and the perfect way to start a day that was sunny, albeit cold as a well digger’s s$$. I’m told it was cold like this when I was born. I also learned recently that I was late by four days. That pretty much set the tone for my life, because if you know me at all, then you know I am always, always, always late. I digress. Then there’s Wally. My, sweet, compassionate, faithful, smart boy. Late this afternoon I went to the Lexington Zen Center for the first time with Marlon as my guide. The reading talked about how we are all connected; to each other, everything around us, in us, on this planet, you get the picture. To truly understand connection, to my way of thinking anyway, requires a high degree of compassion. For instance, Wally loved dad’s dog, Crackerjack. We didn’t know how he’d take up with mom’s dog, Scrappy. Scrappy is fed in the morning. Wally gets supper. One night I fed Wally but he wouldn’t eat until I also gave food to Scrappy. Once the visiting dog had food in his bowl, only then would Wally eat. It was remarkable to see actually. Scrappy likes to mark his territory, so when there are no humans in the house he has to go in the kennel. One day last week I tried to leave Wally out of the kennel because he doesn’t need to be crated, but he wouldn’t have it. Scrappy was in the kennel, so he, too, must be in the kennel. It’s not that the dogs are close like Wally and Crackerjack were, they’re not. It’s that Wally has a sense of justice, compassion, loyalty; all the things we humans aspire to have and yet so often fall short of. I look at that little dog and I see God, plain and simple. He is a great teacher. I am grateful to still be on this plane connected with every little atom that comes my way, and I’m forever grateful for this little Buddha Jesus dog who teaches me the meaning of compassion every day.
“Each of us is an innkeeper who decides if there’s room.” ~ Neal A. Maxwell
After cooking for hours, eating for hours, and then cleaning for an hour, mom, dad, and I drove across town to my Aunt Lois’ where all four of dad’s living sisters were gathered. We got there just as the cousins were packing their loot and taking their leave. It was good to see them however brief. They all love dad, and it was obvious they were happy to see him. He loves them, too. I watched him perk up, his color got better, his smile wider. Mind you, he wasn’t in a bad mood to start with. We’d had a fantabulous meal. Stacy joined us, and we four ate until we were full as ticks. Even the dogs got a bite or two because dad thinks every sad eye is that of a starving dog. We had such a great day that we didn’t exchange gifts until we came back from Lois’, which seemed to surprise everyone. But for us this Christmas was about being together. We didn’t take it for granted. We soaked up every moment with each other and our loved ones. A more perfect Christmas couldn’t have been had.
“Walk in peace. Shine love into every dark corner. Show kindness. Maybe a little sassafras.”
~ Vicki Caroline Cheatwood
When the Thurman – Plested clan were here in the fall I told a story about Wally confronting a possum. It’s not as funny without the visuals, but essentially it goes like this: I heard unusual barking after I let Wally out for his evening constitutional. It wasn’t a, “Hey, I see you walking past my house,” bark, or a, “Hey, what are you doing in my driveway?” bark. It wasn’t even a, “Squirrel, squirrel, I hate you, squirrel,” bark. It was more like the talking bark he uses with Leo the cat. It’s conversational, not at all aggressive. Knowing the cats were inside, and the yard was fenced, I didn’t know what could be happening. I popped my head out the back door and there he was about five feet from a possum. Wally was talking. The possum was hissing. I was thinking, “Thank God he’s had his shots,” followed soon after by, “this could get expensive,” when I saw the possum’s teeth. But Wally wasn’t charging. He was just talking. The possum would take a few steps away from him, and Wally, in his best rabbit imitation, would hop. Yes hop after the possum as if he was giving chase…but not really. It was just part of the game, and clearly the possum was wise to the rules. The possum would stop and hiss. Wally would talk and hop. And on they went down the fenceline until the possum made his way under the fence and out of the yard. It was the funniest show Wally has ever put on. Barb and Pam remembered that story, and yesterday, this painting of a possum on a piece of cannel coal (yes, as in Cannel City cannel coal) showed up in my mailbox. I haven’t stopped laughing. Those two remember everything I tell them, and I love it! I love the possum, and I love them, too.