connections, family, finding my way, home, live and learn, memories, old dogs new tricks, photography, travel

Hit the road…

So a road trip was in order.  Why not, what was stopping me?  Well, there was the credit card that was coming in the mail since my post-church stop for gas resulted in my credit card being hacked.  How’s that for karma?  The bank shut my account down within a day, and it’s all ‘fixed’, but without even a hint of an attempt to discover who, or how, it happened.  Never pay at the pump was the take away from that conversation, walk into the station and pay, preferably using the chip.  Or cash.  I never have cash, and that would solve the gas station problem, but somehow cash seems less safe to carry around.  Did having a husband make these sorts of issues less of a threat?  Not really, but there was the illusion of being somehow protected.  Is it any wonder why I never ponder the larger issues of life when these every day issues can blow my mind?  Send me back under the covers to wait for something to change?   

And which road, for the road trip I mean?  Did you ever read ‘Blue Highways’, by William Least Heat Moon?  Wonderful book that instilled a wanderlust in me that’s been sitting on the back burner for years now.  Should I get on 95 and drive north at 70 mph, stopping only for the bare necessities?  Or should I travel the ‘blue highways’ on the map, stopping for photo ops, talking with strangers, hearing their stories?  I’m an excellent practitioner of the ‘rosy-glasses’ philosophy of life.  I have never been any good at anticipating the not-so-perfect consequences of any choice I’ve ever made.  So with that as my history I suppose it’s hopeless to expect myself to change at this late date.  And honestly, do I have many regrets over the choices I’ve made in my life?  No, things have turned out well enough for me, in spite of myself…6-12bluehighway

coping, death, growing old, losing battles, memories, moments, old dogs new tricks, photography, solitude

Resting places…

Duxbury Beach in Massachusetts features prominently in my fond memories of home.  Maybe it was that we used to stay at my uncle’s cottage, the last one on the seawall that defined the private beach from the public beach.  That it was rocky, especially after a storm, was a plus.  You could put your blanket out on the sand and scout out a few rocks to anchor down the corners.  My husband had heard me rave about it long before he ever saw it, and when I took him there it was after a storm and it was particularly rocky, and from the look in his eye I’m pretty sure he doubted my sanity after that.  Since then I have been to lovely beaches with expanses of sugar sand as far as the eye can see, but I will never feel about them the way I feel about Duxbury.  Which is why I told Charley that I wanted my ashes scattered at Duxbury when the time came.  My daughter heard that and said that I should be informing her of my wishes, and, as usual, she was right.  If I was ever going to change my mind about that then visiting a cemetery like this one is why I’ll let the decision stand.  Stones sinking into the ground, names and dates barely readable, and no one to care or remember.  Sadly, there was more than one ‘unknown’ marker.  A person, a life.  Someone’s child, possibly someone’s parent, gone except for that sad marker.  After being home alone for so long I’m finding that part of me now wants to get out, hit the road, go everywhere, see everything. But I tell myself I’m too old, I can’t do it alone.  Maybe so, maybe not.  But I like the idea that one day my ashes might ride the wind and the water, and travel farther than my dreams can take me now.  I’ll return to Duxbury one day…5-28cemeteryfence

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adventure, childhood, friends, fun, life goes on, memories, moments, photography

Childhood…

Dog ownership comes in handy sometimes.  Like when your son comes home all excited and babbling, and the gist of it is there’s a ramp, and kids are riding their bikes off it and flying into the lake, and there are adults in charge, and can he ride his bike into the lake?  That he was asking permission instead of just doing it made me at least consider saying yes, but not having the least idea what he was talking about made me say no.  And he was off, and after a minute or two I was right behind him, walking the dog was my excuse, but the thought process was that I wasn’t so sure he’d be able to resist whatever was going on and I needed to see for myself.  It was a bike club, matching tee shirts and all, but why they were having the kids fly down the hill and sail through the air into the water, with an adult in the water to retrieve the bike, remains a mystery to this day.  Kudos to Mike, I don’t think he did it, probably because he didn’t have a matching tee shirt.

I thought of this on Monday because while we were enjoying lunch at this cute little river front restaurant, what we were seeing out the huge windows were four boys taking flying leaps off the bridge and into the river below.  Three at once got a running start and leaped together, and seemed suspended for a second with their arms and legs all going in different directions, a perfect photograph which, sadly, exists only in my head.  Another family was seated next to the window and watching, a mom, dad, and two little boys.  I wondered if those boys lived nearby, and how much time would elapse before they were jumping off that bridge.  I spend so much time reliving the past lately, enjoying my memories of the free-as-a-bird childhood that I treasure, and I don’t even have to ask myself if we would have been jumping off that bridge.  Of course we would have…5-28kayakmyHDR5-28Guy.jpg5-28myriverratsHDR5-28myriverratsHDR25-28myriverratsHDR35-28mural.jpg

dogs, grief, growing old, losing battles, memories, photography, responsibility

Decisions…

The vet tech had an explanation for it.  “It” being the fact that the dog I had brought in, the one that had required me to hoist her back end up off the floor every time she wanted to get up for the last 48 hours, was repeatedly getting herself up off the tile floor at the vet’s office yesterday.  It was because even though there were no other dogs there to witness her struggles, she still could smell them, and no dog wants to let herself be seen as the weakest one in the pack, so the adrenaline rush she was having was serving as a pain reliever.  Or so they said.  I had told myself that the thing I didn’t want to do was to take her in and spend a whole lot of money, knowing what the outcome was really going to be in the not so distant future, and knowing that my Zoe was going to suffer while I fought to justify my decision of what to do.  But in the vet’s office she looked like a different dog from the one I’d had at home.  Needing help getting up was relatively new, and while she had needed me to help her for a day or two recently, she had seemed to recover and I told myself that she had strained something and it was all better.  And the confusion in her face when she couldn’t get herself up was heartbreaking.  But she seemed to be in not so dire of a condition while we were there, so it was pain meds, joint supplements, and see her in two weeks.

Except once I got her home she was trying to not use her right back leg at all.  That she was in distress was obvious.  I brought the water bowl to her and she drank, but she wouldn’t eat.  She cried and wanted to get up, so I’d hoist her up, and then she’d stand there not knowing what she wanted to do next.  I thought about how I’d learned to help my mother, and then my husband, when they couldn’t get out of a chair.  I’d lean in and hug them to me, and use leverage to just lift them up.  It worked perfectly.  Not possible with Zoe, and I was already feeling the strain in my back from lifting her.  

I’m writing this at 4 AM while I listen to Zoe’s breathing.  She is finally asleep.  We have been up for hours, she was crying, it actually sounded like a low growl, and nothing I could do for her except sit with her and pet her seemed to help.  Sweet, easy-going Ozzie was determined to put himself between Zoe and me, so I had to put him in the bedroom before he hurt her, or me.  It was the pleading in her eyes that got to me.  Just like when it’s been raining for hours and the dogs want to go out, and they look at me  wondering why I’m letting it rain when they know that I’m in charge of the world and I could stop it if I wanted to.  Zoe’s eyes tell me that she is pleading with me to make it stop, not the rain, but the pain…4-26onelasttime

backyard visitors, birds, dogs, finding my way, Florida wildlife, home, memories, nature, photography

Missing the boat…

I may have missed the boat as far as seeing the crane family heading off the lake goes, for the sake of catching them close-up (with the big lens) I mean, but later that morning there were some birds out back who needed their photos taken.4-19reflect4-20Greatwhiteegret4-20ibis4-20littleblue

Then I headed to church at 4 PM and thought I could catch the cranes on their return, but they were already on the lake when I went in to pick up the camera.  Again, pretty far away from my vantage point, even with the zoom lens.  Which is probably why I got distracted by the dogs, who were the only other creatures out there at the time.  They went down to the lake to drink, Zoe walking in chest deep, and Ozzie lifting his head with lots of drool dripping down.  And there was a nice breeze, whipping said drool all around.  It was pretty much the most interesting thing going on out there…4-21zoe4-21drool14-21drool2Zoe will be 13 on May 1st and, sadly, her age is starting to show.  I’ve had to haul her to her feet several times recently.  Or maybe I didn’t have to, maybe I just hated seeing her struggling and was afraid she would hurt herself.  She is older than I am now, in dog years of course.  Though I’ve traveled back to my pre-teen years mentally and I’m enjoying it there so much that I’m thinking of staying…

connections, coping, finding my way, growing old, home, life, life goes on, loneliness, memories, moments, photography, sunrise

Just listen…

“Just listen,” I said for the umpteenth time.  It was so frustrating that my mother was so dismissive of the music I was loving at the time.  Roughly age 15 or so.  It was Simon and Garfunkel for heaven’s sake, beautiful music, and elegant words.  How could she not listen and be moved?  It made me so mad.

And of course I didn’t think it was the same thing at all when I was in the car with my son when he was about that same age, and on the radio came the latest trend in ‘music’, a rap song.  There was nothing elegant in those lyrics, or if there was I couldn’t get past the un-elegant parts to hear it.  I would snap my fingers, pretending to be snapping to the beat, which there wasn’t any that I could hear.  I was sure rap would be a flash in the pan. 

Will that rap music be something he looks back on eventually and feel that it was written just for him, as I am doing now with Simon and Garfunkel?   I found something in their music that spoke to me back then, and, if anything, it speaks to me more now, decades later.  “How terribly strange to be seventy”, they said.  Yes, it is, and I’m not quite there yet so I’m having my moment over it in advance.  It’s a cliche isn’t it, old people’s minds going back, living in the past?  Hanging onto their memories?  Is that what’s happening to me?  Am I Slip-Sliding Away?

https://youtu.be/CeqPTb0DwGw