We - my husband, sons, and I - adopted a dog last Monday. Her name is Bailey and she is a hound mix, about one to two years old, and as sweet as can be. We don’t know anything about her life before July 15 when she entered a shelter in North Carolina. Then on July 30 the organization S.N.A.R.R. rescued her, as she was scheduled to be “put down.” After being spayed, vaccinated, and treated for worms and ticks, two days later she went to live with a foster family in New Jersey. I saw Bailey’s picture on Facebook and read about her. I contacted Linda - the foster “mom” - by e-mail, filled out an application to adopt, and Linda and I spoke by phone. On Monday morning we drove down to Middletown to meet Bailey and ended up driving back home with her. She was shy, nervous, and I would imagine, confused for the first couple of days, but now, a week later, she seems right at home.
A year ago, on August 1, our dog Ruby died. She had been with us for ten years. We had adopted Ruby from a shelter in Harlem when she was just six weeks old. She had been found, along with about thirty other dogs and puppies, in an abandoned building in the city. Ruby was white with black ears and spots, a pointer mix, and she was smaller than Bailey. She was a high-strung dog, very attached to me, and anxious around strangers and other dogs. We loved her. We miss her.
Now, we have Bailey. It is so very nice to have a dog in the house again. Bailey is very friendly, playful, and pretty. She has russet colored ears and spots, amber eyes, and long legs.
In the past week I have learned, or rather relearned, a few things. For one thing, it is wonderful to walk for no other reason than to walk. Also, it is wonderful to stop, stand very still, lift up your head, look straight ahead but at nothing in particular, and let the sun warm your face and the breeze blow back your hair. Using your nose more is also a very good thing. The world is full of interesting aromas. And taking off after a squirrel or rabbit now and then is invigorating and fun, despite not ever actually catching one.
Bailey is sleeping now, next to me here on the love-seat in our living room. After I finish writing this I will put her leash on and take her for one more trip outside before it is time to settle down for the night. While we are out there, walking and inhaling the scents of this summer evening, and feeling the breeze against our faces, we will take time to stop and be still. While Bailey stares out into the darkness, searching for something to chase, I’ll make sure to look up at the stars, and make a wish on the first one I see.
I sit at my desk, here at home, in my bedroom, and work. This morning I am working on a short story about a ten year old girl who is having her hair done at a beauty salon for the first time because she is the flower-girl in her cousin’s wedding later that day. Anyway, as I type, and delete, and type some more, and moan and groan, there is a fat bumblebee outside the window, trying to break through the screen. Persistent. Crazy thing, banging itself against the screen over and over again. I talk to the bee. “Go away,” I say. “There is nothing in here for you.” Buzzes off, but comes back again in a few seconds. Stubborn. Lost? Lonely? Maybe I’ll put this bee in my story.
All In My Mind
It’s not that the sky has actually fallen, but rather, I feel it’s weight, the atmosphere coming crushingly close to suffocating me.
My breaths grow shallow. My heart feels hollow. The beauty and blue of the sky turns gray. Air is an oppressive thing. Invisible pain.
Then comes the rain. Cold needles from the clouds. And the clouds sliding down, to crawl along the ground. Sky and earth meet, and I break.
I will hide then for a long time. Until it lifts. It will. It does. It always does. I can’t believe it ever will, but it does. It does.
circles and a couple of triangles…
charcoal and oil pastels…
traced circles and triangles…
colored it in…
smudged it up a bit…
took a picture…
played around with filters…
I have this big old sketch book and I began filling it with doodles, drawings, and collages about two years ago. It’s a fat book, lots of pages; I don’t know exactly how many but maybe I’ll count one day. I have trouble finishing things. I am also a procrastinator. This book has become a challenge for me. I am determined to fill it with images. Not one blank page is to be left. No time limit, although I used to tell myself I should do a doodle, drawing, or collage once a week. It’s hit or miss now. Sometimes I do a few pages in one day, and then weeks will go by without me touching the book. I have a problem focusing. I set too many goals for myself. I do a lot of different things but not much consistently or well. I’m a obsessive list maker. My lists are many, and they are messy. They aren’t lists in the strict sense of having words written in columns or neatly down the page. I write all over in all directions and my lists make no sense to anyone but me. They are impractical. But making them calms me. I make some on scraps of paper. Some are in little notebooks I carry with me. On my desk is my main list notebook. It has a title. The title is “Vicki’s list/chore/planning/scheduling/list/agenda/diagram/outline/game plan/list/ideas/list/brainstorming/list/organizer book, the purpose of which is to lessen the pressure on the brain & delay for as long as possible eventual mental collapse.” Long title. I like it.
photo: Diggin’ It, 2014
diggin’ it…open up, explore, make discoveries, make messes, make mistakes, try something new, dare…soak it in, let it flow…live, love, grow…
photos - Gilgo Beach, Long Island, NY, July 2014
I Will Go Back
This water, these waves, the ocean tickling my toes…
I feel like this is where I belong;
I wish I could remain here forever;
I think this was my first home.
But I must leave.
This I know.
There is the life I live elsewhere, so I go
back, knowing someday I will return.
Not yet. Not yet.
There are people. There are things.
And time. Time to be. In time
they will go. Where they will; where they must.
Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.
Then the strings
that hold me
Then I will come back.
I will return, this I promise.
And I will stay.
Back to the water, the waves, the ocean…my home.
Free, flowing, floating away and alone.
pretty little weeds in the backyard at the old house, July 2014
broken gate in the backyard at the old house, July 2014