Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Small moments

[This was originally written on May 17 but, for some reason, did not publish.]

Moments of quiet have been at a premium in recent days. It's a race to the finish at home and at work - the yearbook supplement must be competed and submitted, the main yearbook must be distributed (that started today), book inventory, equipment and furnishings inventory, grades, banquets, assemblies. And. Graduation. The day that looms - happy and heartbreaking - on our immediate horizon. The commitments and emotions swirl. We are all tired and sad, taking the next tentative step into the future. 

So when Carson offered a moment of shared solitude one recent evening, I grasped it with both hands. She simply sat next to me on the bed and stared with her midnight-black eyes. Soon we were joined, nose to nose, softly touching. Eyes soft. BEING in that singular way canines seem to possess. For nearly five minutes she sat in stillness, inviting me to do nothing more than breathe and remember how to be.

It was beautiful and fulfilling in such a simple way. The memory of it sustains me in the last stages of this march towards the inevitable family changes.

Of course, the next night, she tried to eat as many June bugs as possible on her way in for the night! This girl is nothing if not unpredictable!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Could it possibly be Spring?

We have had several days of sunshine. In a row. After days and weeks of rain and unseasonably cold weather, it's a blessing. It also means that some little girl dog I know is actually a little bit tired when it's time for bed. Or, she would be if the human's schedule isn't also following a typical Spring pattern.

On the bright side, tennis season is pretty much done. Prom and graduation loom on the horizon, but there was a break in the schedule last weekend and that could mean only one thing: Time for a little girl to start getting beautiful for the warmer weather!

Carson has been getting progressively more woolly as the weeks go by. I didn't worry about it too much, given the cold and gloom. But give us just one sunny day and I knew she would be miserable. I started to trim her a couple of weeks ago and realized my #7 blade was absolutely shot, so she got a bit of a reprieve. But, as you can see from these photos, she would soon be unable to negotiate her way around because of the curls in her eyes.
Ready to play to keep away the winter doldrums!
Starting to look at little hairy ...
What do you mean this fur adds pounds?
Okay, starting to get out of hand!

So, we spent about an hour on the table on Saturday and took of enough hair from her body to make another complete Welsh Terrier. Whew. We will save her legs and her tummy area for later this week. But we can see her eyes again! And she is such a cute girl! Here's ... Carson!

Look at how cute I am; may I have a treat now?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Our eyes on the unseen

The more I live with dogs, the more I learn to truly see them, and to see as they see. Now, I don't always REMEMBER to live this way but, when I do, I realize how blessed this way of life - and seeing - can be.

This particular train of thought has been on my mind since Tuesday, when I attended the funeral of a teacher-colleague. I smile as I type the word "train" because, as I learned at his service, this man was a huge train fan. I never knew that about him and wish I had had the opportunity to learn more about this passion of his. He was also an ordained minister, one whose gentle spirit and love of all living things was evident in his everyday life. I will miss his calm, constant presence in our lives.

The scripture passage used on his program is what triggered my thoughts - once again - about how our animals are simultaneously more attuned to the present and yet see beyond this world. To quote:

And we are contemplating, not the things that are seen, but the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are temporal, whereas the things that are not seen are eternal. (II Corinthians 4:18)

Does it not seem that often our animals see past the temporary quality that is life? While they live fully in the moment, enjoying what is in the here and now, they also are bigger than the world we live in with wisdom and understanding that goes beyond what we, as humans, see and know.

This is how I want to live, how I want to evolve, what I strive to become.

Interestingly (and because, as my friend CJ says, there are no coincidences), two blog posts I read this morning touch on topics related to my thoughts. I get daily emails from Tiny Buddha. One of today's post from the site is titled "Lessons from Dogs on Being Present and Healing After Loss." It is fabulous. The second (and also wonderful) post is titled "How Death Teaches Us to Live Fully: 7 Enlightening Lessons."

A lot to think about; a lot to incorporate into my way of being. I will close today with a poem mentioned in one of the above articles which is, I believe, my perfect way to start the weekend:


When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
-- Wendell Berry