Category Archives: dog love

A walk in Webster Woods

All the recent rain changed the landscape. Rogue rivulets. Impromptu puddles hoping to become ponds. Glistening leaves. It was slippery enough for me to wish I’d brought poles.

It’s hard to get lost in this patch of woods, but we don’t always know precisely where we are. All the fallen leaves obscuring the paths today didn’t help.

It’s hard to believe this small wooded escarpment lies within a mile and a half of the house. Almost every time we traipse through here, I think about how if our boys were raised in the 60’s, they would have known every inch of this area. It makes me a little sad.

This week we are 33 years together. There are certain patterns of communication. I say Which way and when K doesn’t answer I say Let’s go right and when it turns out we kind of went the wrong way and we got to where perhaps we meant to go K says This is where we would’ve come if I’d said what I wanted to which was to go left.

One of the consequences of making a choice is you might be wrong. But if you don’t assert a choice, do you get to be right?

I can think of worse thing to stumble over.

Since a brilliant variety of mushrooms made our last walk festive, I kept an eye out but there were hardly any. What few I saw were like the Puritan versions of Mardi Gras celebrants. Don’t get me wrong, they were still spectacular, which is not an adjective I’d apply to a Puritan.

The leaf below looked like a bird in flight.

This boy was happy. Finn’s pack instincts came to the fore whenever K and I momentarily diverged (for me to take the low route, for instance — when did I become so cautious?). At these junctures, The dog becomes visibly anxious. I love how it matters to him that we stick together!

Like footprints

Today I will: ** read ten Joy Harjo poems; ** boil up Friday’s chicken carcass for stock and then make mushroom soup (shrooms from the market — not to worry!), ** scoop up wet leaves and walnuts along the curb using a straight-edged shovel. We will

From the woods in Concord
Also Concord
Back to Newton

Finn gacked and gacked

There I was googling kennel cough and windpipe obstructions at three a.m. Finn was in distress. Coughing and coughing and letting loose pancakes of foamy mucous. Frequently, poor guy!

(Only on the rugs for some reason).

Called the ER at Angell at four but opted not to go, instead making an emergency appointment at our vet this morning for tomorrow. And then, lo! Finny coughed up half a kibble in one final pancake of slime and hasn’t coughed since.

Whew!

You know what else I’m grateful for this morning? Trees. Always trees. I know I’ve told you before, but the golden chain tree out front came in the mail as a twelve-inch long bare-root sapling on Arbor Day many years ago. I don’t remember exactly when, but the boys were little. Just look at it now!

Another favorite tree on our walk

I’m also grateful to have known Michelle. There is a lovely tribute over on Nancy’s blog this morning. Thank you, Nancy. You speak for a lot of us who are still missing that intrepid and generous soul!

And why do I say “still” missing, as if i should somehow be done by now?

Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of my brother’s stroke. He has come such a long way! Did I mention that he has started to be able to move the affected right leg? Amazing. His progress confirms the stroke advice to measure progress in months and not weeks.

Can’t wait to see him next month. In the meantime, there are quilts to post on Etsy, a Slave Dwelling Conference to attend, and butternut squash soup to make!

Mystery Road

A dog walk is a great opportunity to attend to mystery. There is the mystery of nature, of course. Everywhere. The varieties of fungi, the open fresh faces of morning glories, the jewel-like dew hanging off a hosta stalk.

And then there are the other sorts of mystery. For instance, why an apartment building housing between 12 and 18 units never exhibits any signs of life. Never. I walk past it multiple times a week. Study the windows. Examine the balconies. It is sooo dead. There used to be a marmalade cat on the second floor who’d come out to the edge of the balcony and glare down at Finn. But she’s gone.

Then there’s the mystery of nostalgia. How, even after living in this part of Massachusetts for four times longer than I’ve lived anywhere else, the sight of the silver-toned wire clips on the electrical wires still has the power to remind me of childhood.

Driving from Pittsfield or Schenectady as a family, headed to our beloved rental in Rockport on the North Shore, we always knew we were close when we saw these clips. To our young, excited minds, they were seahorses! (there must be other clips more seahorse-like? Kinda spoils my point here).

Always the wonder of spiders, right?

The wonder of some people’s talent with plants.

But also the wonder of preoccupation. How reading a post about Grace’s encounter with a lizard yesterday informed how I saw a dead leaf today. Against all reason, for a flash, my brain told me that the brown form was a lizard. That counts as a mystery.

Always the wonder of money. How much of the world it drives. And, how do other people make such big piles of it? Here are two such simple examples from this morning’s walk.

This project, above, started with tearing down a respectable, well-constructed two family house. So much effort! So many supplies! I’m guessing the new town homes will go on the market for well north of 1.4 million. (That’s how ONE person makes a pile of money).

And then there’s this new grassy sward on Cypress Street formerly occupied by a house. It appears the neighbor and owner of the RV, bought the lot to create space. In other words, that new driveway cost over $600,000. Woosh!

Lastly, there is the wonder of conditioning. I still don’t consider myself a dog person (written about here), but Finn and I have learned a lot together. When I get to about the car, I drop the leash and say, “Go home!” He dashes to the door and turns expectantly for a treat.

I started this practice after he ran away from a dog walker one time. Finn made his way home over a span of about a half mile. I guess, he already knew how to go home, but I wanted to underscore the command.

Before this area turned into Rabbitville, I’d drop the leash back at the corner of the lot, but those little furry hoppers are too tempting. It’s too risky.

Tomorrow: white versus black slips for the Patron Chicken Saint of Delayed Success and a blue silk heart.

Let’s Count – dog walk edition

One – number of trucks driven under low hanging wire, number of telephone poles pulled down by wire, number of transformers that blew, number of blocks away I was, number of screams that came out of my mouth.

Also one – number of flamingo puppets lying out, number of chipmunks seen flying into a hole, number of trains that passed while walking on Braeland Ave.

Still one – number of statues of the Virgin spied in a garden. Number of times Finn barked at a dog and looked at me for a treat (denied!)

Three – number of times I gave Finn treats for reasons unrelated to other dogs or for no reason at all.

Also Three – number of times I gave Finn treats for seeing other dogs and not reacting.

Five – number of people I recognized from making the Langley/Cypress loop regularly. Also roughly the number of times loud noise interrupted my peace and annoyed me (not counting the transformer explosion).

Nine or so — number of neighbors that spilled out of their houses after the big electrical POP. I recognized more than half of them.

Eighteen – number of rabbits counted at the Fun Corner Yard, but I’ll bet there were more.

And then there was the view of the woods that made me pause and the burdock that offered up a rhythmic patterning that somehow thrilled me. Both resist the count.

Have a good start to your week! I’ve determined that being disoriented to season feels a lot like sadness. Or maybe it’s the other way around?

Post-Henri Errands

This open drapey robe would be suitable for a tall thin woman. Not me, in other words. I didn’t wear it on our bank errand yesterday because there are times when I feel that I ought to be semi-presentable.

We closed our Eastern account and moved the money to BOA, an institution seemingly committed to anti-service. Whaddya gonna do? I swear, though, if they make more of a stink about yesterday’s deposit, we’ll go in there and close THAT account and go back to Eastern. If your check blah blah. No charge if blah blah. DO YOU WANT OUR MONEY OR NOT?! Vengeance banking — it could be a thing.

We also went to the mall. I bought bath bombs and two disks of shampoo and conditioner (the reward mentioned two days ago). I was dumb struck when the cherubic curly-haired clerk asked me what I wanted from my conditioner. Ummm. My hair was a day-late for washing and haphazardly pulled on top of my head with a pair of clips. Do I look like I care?

K and I laughed in the car. You should have told her you do better with multiple choice. He’d seen me nodding with relief when she’d offered, “Add more volume?”

Meanwhile, the rain that I’d heard was pounding west of Boston seemed to be headed our way. The sky offered up a spectacular display.

That was Tuesday. Already, it’s Wednesday. We took another dunk at the lake. Hardly anyone was there, which was nice.