The Dog Chronicles: Andie Sunday 10/25/2015

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There is something about Autumn that stirs the spirit: chilly halcyon afternoons raking and the smell of burning leaves, crisp apples, warm cider and cinnamon donuts come to mind.  Some part of New England will always stay in the depths of my soul.  The days are shorter  here in our village and  remain warm, the blue sky which is crystal clear with light magnificent and sparkling dappled effect,  charms the day, while pink and golden sunsets bring a night that grows colder and colder.

Andie and I sleep in the bedroom at the back of the house, where a large window opens to the garden. There we see hour by hour, day by day the inevitable changes that bring one season to the next. There is a bit of melancholy in the feeling, if not sadness for some, because in the dying of Summer, never has beauty been so sublime, so magnificent, so filled with portents and blossoms of the past.

The past became ever so alive when this past week a dear cousin from my long ago childhood came to visit me and Andie. We spent lovely afternoons sharing stories, eating lunch in the garden and creating a friendship much needed in these days where the long haul gets shorter by the minute. Andie and I love our Rene and bring the past into the future’

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Last night filled our room with moonlight from that dazzeling orb, so treasured by lovers, gazers and the old, who remember embraces between the sheets. The garden is surrounded by a ten foot redwood fence, now silvered with age. No neighboring houselights can be seen at night and the moon, which rises directly over the horizon, outshines  thousands of visible stars, while she  settles in the darkened bedroom for some splendid magic. Andie is asleep by then, but I remember all love past, because for me it never dies.

Andie first gets me up at 3:00 AM with her latest signal to go out. The signals are becoming more diverting and complex as she learns to translate ‘dog’ into human. The ‘go potty’ lexicon has become  very athletic, because that’s the medium of direct communication. She jumps down from the bed, then leaps back up and stands on me. If I crack my eye open a bit, I can see her staring directly at me. The cracked eye doesn’t fool her, because her senses rate right up there with the Super Heroes. So it’s no use to pretend.

Once that transpires Andie jumps down and back up again until I say, “OK.” So out we go. The neighborhood is silent, everywhere stillness blankets the village. Last night the edge of a fog bank brushed the sky overhead and the stars were mesmerizing. It’s not just a dedicated commitment to follow through with Andie’s training that gets me up at that hour without complaint, but memories of my young days as a Buddhist monk in Kyoto.

Well, OK,  the truth is and I must admit that the real reason I get up is because Andie will leave an environmental floor creation on the bathroom rug if I don’t . She’s no Andy Goldsworthy yet, but as her proud dogfather I can discern great potential there, but insist it be done outside in the spirit of that great master artist.

I shouldn’t be surprised at the turn of events. The signs were all there and I did my best to stop the old habits Andie had for junk food like, cigi butts, shiny foil, gum wads, plastic ties, and other discarded ephemera, which she embraced as delicious discoveries. It began dear reader as you may recall with Andie’s hunting of fallen wild plums in late Summer, then in early Autumn she transferred to those sweet Gravenstein apples that fall from the preacher’s tree on the other side of the fence. A little history about the preacher’s tree might be of interest here. Several seasons  and a few preachers ago a city preacher took up her post at the old Methodist Church around the corner, the very one Andie gleans for eatable treasures left behind by the AA’rs, who juggle sugar cookies and cigarettes between meetings.

That poor preacher, who had arrived from an inner city storefront congregation, had walked into rural Valhalla, in wine country where too many souls know more about the provenance of the locally made Chevre, than Paul’s letters to the Corinthians. The time came for a Church community volunteer committee to tend to the jungle that had become of the large double lot back yard of the Church house.

They, true to the spirit of the Old Testament ( Exodus 10), leveled everything in sight and were about to cut down the old apple tree, when the voice of an avenging angel ( me) on the other side of the fence intervened and saved the day for a future Andie. Sometime miracles happen on time released realization.  The preacher didn’t last that long and went away. I hear tell from a little birdie that her pulpit presentations were too Baptist for Methodist sensibilities. My mother’s mother was a Baptist and my grandfather was a Methodist—-I understand.

But, I digress.  Back to Andie’s eating habits—–she’s gone organic! The valley village culture has like TOTALLY captured her. Once we began walking on the trail, Andie took up acorns as a main diversion when she wasn’t arduously crisscrossing sniffing out skunks, rabbits, mice, possums, coons and gawd knows what else. She likes to chew them or just walk along carrying them. The ‘drop it’ seems to work, but overall the acorns don’t seem to upset her, so mostly I just let her run with them. She has also discovered walnuts and LOVES them. Munch, crunch, munch, crunch! I get a little concerned about the sharp edges of the nuts, but I don’t want to be a helicopter dogfather, even though I don’t mind if she lives at home  and eats Cheetos in the basement for the rest of her life.

Walking on the Trail has given me a sense of renewal and Andie a path for adventure. We hit a milestone the other day when we made it as far as the Jenny Bench. Andie thrives. I begin to heal.

Nothing,

Is ever truly lost,

Or forgotten.

No woe begotten sadness lingers there.

She is just behind the air,

Among the Russian Olives,

Wild flowers,

Queen Anne’s lace,

And the moss crepe’d oaks.

Her girl’s face a mystery,

Her rest a fair

And sacred place,

Beside the trail

In that verdant space.

She lives in seasons that pass,

The hours that unfold and the

Fast years—- as they go by,

For those of us who see her

And rest on Jenny Ryan’s bench.

‘Memorial Bench’

Is the formal name,

And always,

The view

Is never the same—-

From day to night.

In the morning,

Time,

Past the mourning,

When only joy sits there,

And spirits rest

To calm the test of life.

On warm summer days,

The silvered bench

Bares the wear of those

Who pause,

And listen,

To birdsong,

Rustling leaves,

Vineyard noise

In the poise of stillness.

Some signer

Leaves graffito,

Small…elegant,

Alien runes—

Time after time after time.

Is it an abomination?

Or a sign of love?

There are those who,

Wash with bleach

Time after time after time

The mystic intrusions,

Unaware that Jenny

Delights in the art

That honors…

Memorializes

With its radical heart

Of involvement.

After dark

In transient passage,

Owls, foxes, skunks, possums,

And others who prowl

Pass by

The ancient, gnarled trunk of olive

Across her way,

Which brings

Every Spring

Fresh, young sprouts.

And, touts anew—-

The ever green.

On bright nights

Moonbeams stream

Down,

Over the tolley fog,

Glimmers the silver bench

And rolls over the waves of grass,

Leaving for the dawn

Wet, watery drops of dew

Refracting from pointed tips

Colors of white, red, green and blue.

Dawn becomes Jenny

Gold and bright,

Pink and silver

To a girl’s delight

And Dusk,

Her velvet rest.

Jenny Ryan Smith  1972-1985

nocoller

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3 Responses to The Dog Chronicles: Andie Sunday 10/25/2015

  1. robin andrea says:

    This post is so evocative and beautiful. It is like autumn itself, when the memory of summer warmth still lingers, and the hint of winter’s breath cools the night air. I love what Andie brings into your world and into your heart.

  2. rainnnn says:

    Love this as I have them all. Beautiful bonding and learning

  3. saramajors says:

    I love dog chronicles and your poetry!

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