verge (vʉrj)
the edge, brink, or margin (of something): also used figuratively the verge of the forest, on the verge of hysteria

to tend or incline (to or toward)
to be in the process of change or transition into something else; pass gradually (into) dawn verging into daylight

Saturday, January 30, 2010

iWalk, iGo

I've been a little stuck lately.  Really, push has come to shove. I don't usually do this, but every so often I walk with my ipod in my pocket and the buds in my ears.  The dogs usually know when I do this--I usually get a look that says "Oh.  That."  For the first several walks, I justify my silence by telling them that we are walking to the music for health and fitness.  We don't need to talk all the time, I point out. And anyhow, you've been slacking off lately, I might add.  Time to pick it up a notch. Earn your keep. Blow the stink off.  So we go all jammin'-like and takin' it to the streets with Harvest Moon and the Zeros and the Muffins....

In the process, I go elsewhere.  I look where I don't want to look. I go where I don't want to go. I take us on a walk through my own head and discover the secrets I've kept from myself.  The music provides just enough cover to make it safe.  La, la, la, la....The ear buds keep me from trying to escape into the street.  They also keep things out.

And as we walk, I surf my situation atop the surge of sweet sound and I see what I see. Or maybe it sees me. I'm at that sharp and jagged place on the Rim of the Verge that can't be ignored or jammed into a folder somewhere out of sight.  The time has come, yes, here it is.  Later is now, it's now.  The music softens the sharpness of now so that I can just tolerate it.

It's time to take the Many Things apart.  A grand that held the hands of my grandparents.  An upright that played Waltzing Matilda for Echo Lane.  Autumn Leaves. Books that formed friendships with each other on our shelves, and in our laps.  Skeins and skeins of colors of someday sweaters. A trampoline.  Sleds.  Ugly plastic chairs.  Puzzles. The pieces that used to fit.  Baby teeth. The cobwebs.  Chipped window sills.  Finger prints on the doors.  They used to belong there.  That spot where I spilled my coffee.  Where Stickers slept. The room that heard our stories.  Little Mermaids that became prom gowns.  Popsicle stick picture frames.  That sock under the couch. The table that supported our elbows and birthday candles. And our heavy hearts.  The deck that held our laughter and hopes.  The clothesline that doubled as a dragon fly landing strip when everything else was blowing away.  My lilies and my daffodils. You're on your way, but so am I...

I have stayed away from this moment for as long as I possibly could.  For maybe my whole life. I have paused on the tippy edge of the verge of this very Verge for as long as possible.  Boxes are jutting their way in, offering to seal our memories for another day and place.  Many of the Many Things will never see the inside of a box.  They'll just go.  A few things--they'll come along with me and be my tether. But how to neatly step over this line and go....I don't know.

But it's on right now.  Waterboys.  Thank you, fellas.  iCan write this while you sing.

I'll be walking Artemis and Biscuit at the end of this day.  The ipod will stay home.

iAm ready.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Come On In, Wilson.

This is my new friend.  Wilson.  Willy for short.  He's quite the fella and he's already figured things out around here.  He's what they call a "smaht dog" in these pahts of the country. Though I am just getting to know him, I can tell we are going to be quite a pair.  It's been awhile since I've taken on a new dog.  My schedule is full and I can't bear it when things don't work out, so I tend to be very cautious about taking on anyone new.  But I just couldn't resist Willy.  Funny thing--I wasn't looking for new dogs, but here he is.

One of the things I had to learn first was to stop trying to take his picture all the time.  I thought he was incredibly camera shy; every time I would whip out the phone*, he would quickly undo his very handsome and candid pose and go stand just out of sight.  Well darnitall, Willy! So I would have to follow him, my phone* jutted out ahead of me, determined to get a snap.  So he would move to another new out-of-sight spot.  So I would have to follow him again. So he would move....again. So I would follow him....again. He finally allowed me this profile view.  Well, ok--it's not that he allowed it.  It's that I waited him out.  But then I figured it out.  He's not shy.

He's modest.

There's a difference between the two.  Shyness--that tends to be me.  A bit fearful.  Like, "Uh-oh, people in vicinity.  Proceed with caution. Act busy and like you don't notice".  But modesty?  That's quite different.  That's Wilson.

Willy's the kind of dog who sits quietly and takes it in.  He doesn't need to be the first one there.  Or the loudest, or the funniest, or the cutest.  But that seems to make him all those things despite his intentions.  He's not afraid.   He has warmly greeted the throngs of incoming and outgoing daughters and their dates, but once the hellos have been said he has quickly retreated to a very tiny spot on the side of the couch and quietly listened.  We all noticed that about him and like it.

Last night, I allowed him upstairs.  He slept on my bed--but in the far-off corner.  Close enough to be close, but far enough to be just far enough.  That's humility. You can't fake that. That's when I knew for sure that he could come in and be here awhile.  He's not going to suck all the air out of the room.  I can make room for this guy.

Pinch me. A new dog, a new friend. I think it's going to work out just fine.

*Phone, camera, camera, phone....whatever you call it these days.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tucked In

I had a date with Tucker today.  We go way back, for miles and for ever.  We don't see each other much and don't need to. Our love affair is grander than that. Today he met me at the door, and we quietly rolled into each other's arms.

Eyes. Remembrance. Bliss.

Together and side by side, we walk in a place where the seasons share this secret of ours. The path is lined with wild brush wearing trinkets of cardinal and chickadee and jay. Tangled vines mingle with rooted rock.  Tall reeds broken by the weight of snow emerge with candor and indifference. Trees reach way beyond to wrap their limbs into the sunward sky, nestling recent snow that had needed perch.  An old barn leans towards the ground, its haunting windows sag as if to say please, let me be...

It feels like the loneliness of winter. But here on this path, she quietly reveals herself. Winter, with all his gravity, can't suppress her buoyancy. You can feel her wisps in the air and sky. And she dances among those birds.  She trickles water along the surface of his skin, promising him more.  She's not far from him, and he knows it.  He waits now.

Together and side by side, spring melts into her beloved winter, converging the certainty and translucence of their union.  Tucker and I recognize this.  We tuck each other in at the door and say nothing.  No need.  No, need. I'll be back, and he'll wait.

Eyes. Remembrance. Bliss.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

It's Too Damn Cold. Wait. It's Too Damn Hot.

So I go to give Remy a romp in the snow.  As long as he doesn't decide to stand up straight, we're the same size.  I'm undaunted by this because his goofiness is even larger than his stature and I like to believe I have him wrapped right around my little finger.  I attribute that to our age difference:  I'm 49 years his senior.  I'm the mature grown-up.  He thinks I'm in charge.

But let me tell you about this romp we take.  I have temporarily forsaken my high standards for bein' stylin' at all times (don't panic over this) so that I can withstand the ever-so-chill of our cold, cold, cold winter.  I am sufficiently bundled and as soon as Remy sees that it's me and that I've come to be the center of his universe (he's been well-trained), he gets down right giddy about going out.    The door opens and out galumphs Remy, landing with a giant ka-thump in the snow.

And he rolls in it.  
And he jumps in it.  
He leaps through the air!  
He slobbers(!) such joy
Which clings to his hair.
He buries his face 
And burrows his nose 
And then he squishes it between
Each of his toes.

And then, as his magnum opus he belly surfs across the yard, stretching out just as far as he can go, from his tippy tail to his humungous head, using the snow to create a memory-foam sort of bed for himself.

I am simply aghast.  I do these pitiful little jigs and jogs to keep warm, but I'm as rigid and frigid as all get-out.  But he's so happy that I feel a little, well, almost jealous. I suppose I'm glad for Cold that someone appreciates it.  Because I sure as hell don't.  But I am captivated by his bliss and so I manage to uncurl my frozen fingers just enough to throw his rubber ball (which feels more like throwing a rock), and together we pay homage to the sun and the way it blings up the ground.  Remy is Winter's mascot.  King of Winter, he revels in it.

And then comes the irony.

Oh, someone's laughing somewhere.  

I come inside, the day wears on, night falls, and I spend my time getting all warmed up. It's a part-time job in this neck of the woods, but the cold finally melts.  

Feeling good.  Ummmm-mmmmm, so good. Toasty, even.  

I'm comfy.  These covers, they're good--really good.  Not too heavy, not too thin. Oh, the warmth of night in deep, deep winter--the para-dox-i-cal-beau-ty of it all....I'm thinking.  All marshmallowy-warm and yummy under here.  Queen of Cozy, I dub myself.  Remy can have the snow, but I have these covers, I'm thinking.  

I drift off....



I am on fire!  I am UTTERLY on fire!  These blankets! Get them off of me right this minute, I shriek in my most Exorcist voice.  Get those windows open!  Get me OUT! OF! HERE! A power surge? A hot flash?? Who (and I want names!) came up with such lame expressions???  I'm not having a little old hot flash--oh, no!  I'm having a full-throttle, all-hands-on-deck Sizzle Fest and I'm dripping in sweat, my hair is suddenly eight inches too long, and I'm apparently giving birth to That Time of Life. With the windows open, I hang my head over the ledge, and I see the glitter on the ground....

And suddenly.

I want nothing more than to channel Remy, and to jump into this memory foam of snow. 

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Got Nap?

Take a good look at this picture.

Get a good look.  Go on, look.  But tip toe, please.

This is a rare moment:  Millie is sound asleep.  She's really and truly sleeping.  Precious sight, yes?

SHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! You're getting too close!  I SAID TIP TOE!

Do you have any idea how many dog-walking-miles this nap represents?  Do you have the slightest idea how much up-and-down-the-road time it takes to wear this little poof-ball out?  Well let me tell you, dear reader, it takes much more than you might imagine!

When Millie is here, I don't bother to take my coat off because by the time I get all un-scarved and de-booted and defrosted, it's about time to get all suited-up again.  I, being a smart dog walker, know to wear boots that don't require zippers, buckles, ties, velcro, or other complicated hardware (but in case you think that means they're ugly, you're so wrong).  This means I can quickly kick them off at the back door and move about the house in a semi-ready state for Millie's next burst of energy, which usually comes within 45 minutes of our last excursion.

We go everywhere.  We blaze trails, we walk the roadways.  We visit every single neighbor dog and bark bark bark the latest gossip and news.  We walk, we run, we leap, we fly, we walk more, and some more, and some more.  We sniff wherever the deer have touched the ground, all the deer and all the ground.  We chase every single (and I mean every, single) shovel-full of snow.  We can't resist knowing all about what's happening down on one end of the street and then making it our business to report back to the folks at the other end.  When Millie's inside, she parks herself at the bird-feeder window and debates the birds at the feeders, who patiently keep their distance until we head out--again-- down the road.

But I'm not complaining.  Millie keeps me moving and helps blow the stink off.  I get a good dose of crisp fresh air.  I get good and worn out.  No treadmills or seasonal lethargy for me, no sir-ee!  I have a keen (or would you call it nagging, daughters?) know-it-all sense about road conditions and the moisture content of air.  I can tell you the weather report without having to watch it, all thanks to Millie.

But if you'll excuse me--I see the birds have come back to the window feeders and while she's you-know-what-ing, I'm going to tip toe out of here for a little shut eye before the next.....