Monday, May 14, 2018

second chance (a letter to grover)

in the morning
i wake from a dream
in which i am having difficulty
keeping my eyes open
i struggle against the weight
of impossibly heavy lids
it isn't so different from waking reality
i struggle daily
pushing against the weight of ignorance
trying to see
trying to wake from a deeply ingrained trance
to awaken
to what is
your picture is pinned up next to the bed
i see it every morning
but this morning is different
this morning your deep brown eyes
seem to look right into me
and my heart breaks all over again
i was blind in so many ways then
i did what i thought was right
i went along with many of the cultural attitudes
about how a dog ought to be treated
i loved you
but i kept a distance between us
because you were a dog and i was a human
and that's the way everyone knew it was supposed to be
they were wrong
i was wrong
things started to change in your last year
i started to see a little more clearly
i started to open to you
we weren't just dog and human
we were friends
we grew closer
and then you got sick
and i knew i had wasted so much of our time together
stuck in ignorance
there was cancer in your liver and spleen
you were in pain
the doctor said euthanasia would be best
we spent one more day together
the next morning
i helped you into the truck
because you were too weak to make the jump onto the seat
i walked you into that little room that reeked of antiseptic
the doctor came in with two syringes
the first one was to calm you
the second to put you into a sleep you'd never wake from
in all your years of vaccinations
and blood draws
you never let on you even felt the prick of the needle
but that morning was different
that morning on the cold hard floor in the vet's office
you fought the needle for the first time
but i couldn't let myself hear you say
“take me home, please take me home”
a doctor, an expert had said this was for the best
and so
i held you still
i held you as you slumped
and your breath grew ragged
i held you as your heart stopped
and your body went so still and so quiet
and i couldn't feel you there anymore
the doctor pronounced you dead
and left the room
i started to cry
i picked up your body
heavy and limp
and carried you to the truck
to take you home
as i drove i stroked your head
i was numb
but somewhere underneath the numbness
i knew
i was wrong
i should have kept you home that morning
i should have held you
in our familiar room with its familiar smells
i should have held you
through the pain on a soft warm bed
i should have held you
just the two of us saying goodbye
and letting you go
as your time came
and you were ready
just as it had that day you were born
grover dandy
and i wonder
why we see the pain of birth as natural
and the pain of dying as something unnatural
i buried you in the garden
for weeks i cried
devastated and heartbroken
over your death
and the suffering i'd caused you
through my blindness
my ignorance
on a walk at sunset
more than a month after your death
i break down on the trail on the hillside
on my knees
i tell you how sorry i am
i ask you to help me find you again
ask for a second chance
swear that i will do better
swear it
with all there is of me
i picked myself up as the sun slid below the horizon
and walked back to the little room we once shared
after that i spend every free moment
searching the internet
for you
for my dog
for a puppy that will be our second chance
i visit a local shelter
look at countless puppy pictures on the internet
none of them feel right
until one day
a picture of a blue heeler pup
something in his eyes
i am excited
and scared
but i know he is the one
a friend drives me nearly 3 hours to stockton to see him
i am nervous on the drive
still on the highway but not far from our exit
i see a billboard for “the grove” church
moments later we pass a truck
with a logo on the door for “grover tree service”
i smile and relax a bit
we get off the highway and drive through a residential area
two blocks before the street we are looking for is “grove st.”
i know this is the way
we find the house
and a man hands me the pup from the picture
as soon as he is in my arms he turns to face me
and clings to my shoulders with all the strength in his little paws
“don't put me down”
i hear him clearly
“don't put me down, take me home”
we get in the truck to go home
pup still clinging to my shoulders
i struggle to put on my seat belt
i gently persuade him onto my lap
and get myself belted in
he turns to face me again
and sits that way
without a wimper
barely moving or even blinking
just staring into my eyes the entire 3 hour drive home
as we sit looking into eachother on the long drive
i promise him my best
that we will do everything together
our bond is sealed
and now
this morning as i look at your picture and cry
this pup you helped me find
licks the tears from my eyes
and settles down next to me on the bed
waiting to see what we will do together today
i get myself up
and prepare for the lessons he will offer me
thank you
for all you taught me
and for the second chance

Friday, May 4, 2018

some baby voles and a turtle

neat day.  i was doing a little watering in the kitchen garden this afternoon and heard some little squeaks coming from a big clump of arugula.  found a couple of tiny baby voles that had somehow wandered out of their nest.  they were a little wet from my watering so i dried them off with my t-shirt and got them back into the nest.  a little while later i saw their mama go into the arugula to check on her little ones.

around 5:00 our neighbor pulled into our driveway and handed me a turtle she had just found in the middle of the road.  staal and i are going to take him to nearby pond where we often see turtles.

Friday, March 23, 2018

heavy rain

we had about 3 1/2 hours of very heavy rainfall yesterday afternoon/early evening.  staal and i were out in it cutting trenches with shovel and hoe to divert water away from the back of the mill office and house.  the corner of the slab in the back room is a little damp inside this morning but that's about it.  our property is flanked by creeks on the east and west sides and both of them exceeded the drainage capacity of their 3ft diameter culverts and overflowed onto triangle rd for a little while.  happy our house is on high ground and happy the rain stopped when it did.

got a few photos and a short video...

creek on west side overflowing onto triangle rd

taken this morning from roughly the same view as above photo

triangle rd from the end our driveway looking southwest

taken this morning from roughly the same view as above photo

taken this morning standing in west creek looking south to triangle rd.  this is the "pond" from first photo

taken this morning in west creek looking south to triangle rd.  3ft diameter culvert, creek bottom is roughly 8ft below triangle rd

video taken during the storm (apologies for shakiness of image...was walking pretty quickly while shooting).

things are nice and calm today and we may even get a little sunshine later on.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

a life together

we wrote a poem
about a life we'd live
now we write a life
living the poetry of it
day by day