Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace amid the storm.
They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. I have been away from my blog for over a week now and I have truly missed it. Recently I was given the opportunity to watch my quiet, serene world get totally turned upside down and inside out by the arrival of my older brother and his family--wife, two sons ages 9 and 10 and last, but certainly not least, his Golden Lab/Pointer mix, Dash. They drove in from Illinois last Sunday to spend four days in the golden Autumn of Maine. The only thing I imagine worse than their visit was being in their van coming here. I get a rather twisted sense of retribution with that image. Anyway, all the cleaning, sprucing and tidying up that went into preparing for their arrival was both pointless and time wasted. All my efforts were annihilated within the first ten minutes. As well as any goodwill I may have been nurturing. But enough about that................
Among the usual things that people forget when traveling to visit family members--shampoo, toothbrushes, good manners, courtesy, respect for personal space and belongings--there was one thing my brother sort of neglected for which I am truly grateful. And that was Dash the dog. I say sort of neglected only because he did take care to feed and water him, took him out for potty breaks and gave him token play time. My brother loves that dog more than anything else ( with the possible exception of cable television) but he wasn't enjoying this trip and Dash was the loser. One early afternoon my brother took the boys and made yet another trek to Walmart for yet another must-have item that could easily have been obtained locally. Whatever. Dash was desolate that his "daddy" and playmates had gone off and left him. I decided to give my Mom and sister-in-law (who I truly adore) some girl time together and took Dash for a nice long walk. OK--he took me for a walk. We walked up the road which is very rural and scenic with little to no traffic. We came upon a knoll where a large abandoned Victorian farmhouse, barn, and out buildings had once stood and where I had played among the ruins as a child. Dash and I walked the old lane that wound past what used to be there and deep into the surrounding fields. Apparently it's a favourite location for ATV's and dirt bikes as well. It made for smooth travel through the brambles and under brush in the woods. We walked and walked but my mind traveled much further and in the opposite direction. I began thinking about all the places I'd been since the last time I walked here and all the people I'd known and loved since then. It was indeed a sentimental journey. Dash was a perfect traveling companion. He never interrupted my inner monologue and whenever I was at risk of falling into deep, dark introspection he obligingly attempted to dislocate my shoulder by yanking on the leash (already extended to the maximum) in pursuit of yet another squirrel, bird, butterfly, or unicorn.
On the way back to where we'd started I found a patch of ancient rhubarb plants I'd missed initially. Goodness, the memories that overtook me at that moment!! I'm going to go back and pick them when they've matured a bit more. Dash and I got back on the road and headed for home. I had the whole panoramic valley in front of me and it took my breath away. It's amazing how one can overlook the beauty that surrounds him every day. I looked at some of the trees next to the brook and thought how much they resembled the background landscape in many of Leonardo da Vinci's paintings. Wow--I'm living in a da Vinci landscape--awesome!! If it had not been for Dash I would probably not have taken that walk and remembered so much of who I used to be. I may not have taken an accounting of how all that contributed to who I am now. I made sure he got a generous portion of milk bones when we got back to the house. I loved on him as much as I could to express my gratitude for his companionship.
Here's an opportunity for some entrepeneurial type person who has land and love to spare. How about "Rent-A-Dog"?. You think you want to take a walk but don't really have the motivation--rent a dog. You want someone to love you unconditionally even though you're a jerk--rent a dog. You have the spontaneous need to love something but people are too complicated--rent a dog. You need to feel appreciated and adored and no one cares--rent a dog. Hourly or for the week-end. If a dog can make me feel like a whole new person in just one walk imagine what I'd be like if I had one full-time. My cats keep me humble--that's their job. But I think I may need a dog--to distract the cats and take me for walks.