What a week! Andie is making great progress at the ole’ ‘Stop’, ‘Come’, ‘Sit’ and ‘Stay’ routine. Three weeks and five times a day has worked miracles. The whole point was to make her safe on our village streets when walking. The visits to the Church lot, however, were a bit hazardous because of all the cigi buts and gum left by the AA’ers, delicious wonders that Andie simply could not resist. However, I found she responds to ‘Drop It’ most of the time.
Our walks up the street also include potty time and, what can I say, ‘push’ happens’—–thank God. But, all those expensive PC bio-degradable faux plastic bags are dwindling down and the kitchen drawer needs to be replenished. On my last visit to PetCo I found lovely Fabreze scented ones for $12.00. I suspect those are for Poodles only and while Andie is the child of champion thoroughbreds, she does live in the country and therefor is quite content that I use what ever is handy for scoop and removable. Fortunately, she is unaware of ‘Farmer’s Only.com’ and besides that little bit has been rendered nonproductive.
The main problem was which bin to put it in: the recyclable, organic, or trash. How a creature as small as Andie is so full of it is simply a mystery. She only eats a cup of kibble a day. The problem has been solved by putting the little bags in the Church dumpster and letting the angels sort it out. I know all this detail is too much information for the normal reader, who prefers bodily functions remain, well, private. The fact is old men and puppies have a lot in common so that the subject is topical, if excruciatingly boring for the account of it. Enough said.
This week Andie and I have broadened our horizons and began walking on the Sonoma County Trail. We drive down the street two blocks and park in the vineyard/coffee roasting industrial parking lot and take a hidden little access to one of our County’s best ideas—turning the old railroad line into a community use hiking trail. For years I would get up at 5:30 and set off down the street and spend two hours at dawn walking that trail, experiencing its ever changing micro-climates, and exquisite beauty. I covered about 6 miles a day. For me it was as much a spiritual path as an exercise experience. Much of my poetry from that period (soon to be published) covers observations from those experiences. After I got a tick bite and suffered a systems collapse, the journey back has never been quite complete.
I had been thinking that those halcyon days were forever gone except in stanza and loving memories. That was especially so after Trace died and a year of anguish dispelled any hope of resurrection. When hope fails, it could be that karma opens a new direction. Andie and I now walk the trail in the early morning hours. We meet the kindest people and dogs. It is gentle fun and displaces grief with the simple joy of the moment. Andie must be a dog angel. She brings out the best in every encounter. She is still a scavenger hound though, and has redirected her attention from Church debris to trail acorns. “Drop it Andie’ kibble treat, ‘let’s go’ and so life is restoring the best of the past.
I find myself, like many widowed seniors, ritualizing the past in little ceremonial ‘settings- to’. In the old days I would be up just before dawn and get ready for the trail by preparing a breakfast surprise for Trace when he got up before I returned. (see below) Now I set everything up before I go to bed: a little muffin plate, home-made jam, spoon, knife, espresso ready to brew. The only thing missing is Trace, but his spirit lives on in Andie. The old habits seem to be returning and that is a gift of happenstance that makes me filled with gratitude.
The week was filled with the visits of two dear friends who are now official Uncle and Auntie to the dog unit named Andie. We sit in the garden and have lunch, great conversations, while Andie roams about free of restraint and just enjoys her ‘dogness’. She has changed her devotion for scoring dried up wild plums to capturing little Gravenstein apples, which are falling in autumnal cycle. Apples are good for dogs: breath ( thank God), fiber, and teeth……. so much better for her than peach pits which pile up near the street, around the corner, or those strange blobs of this or that she has an unerring instinct for on the streets of our village. On our last trip to the Church yard she uncovered a Ben & Jerry’s half-pint container, into which she put her whole head and had to be rescued.
Gotta go….Andie just came in with a tiny apple and is eating it on the bed. Oh, did I mention, she got a haircut too.