The soft grey-brown little dove was watching us. But she wasn’t moving.
Quincy the dog and I stood at a respectful distance from the sweet little bird as she rested, perhaps nesting, on the ground. It was an ill-chosen place for a nest, I thought – on the corner of a driveway, only slightly under a protective bush; deeply shaded, but terribly open, vulnerable.
I know that some doves do nest on the ground. And their nests can be a hasty affair – just scraps and bits of twigs and grass and pine straw thrown together without much thought or structural soundness. I also know that doves often simply sit and rest on the ground – so I looked carefully, and I saw the nesting materials clearly evident around her body. And the fact that she stayed, even as Q and I slowly approached, made me quite convinced that this was, indeed, her nesting place, her home, her stage for introducing her future fledglings into the world. Not well chosen, indeed. But it was hers and she was obviously committed to it. more “Hatching stones.”
It happens when you stand up fast, and the blood rushes down into your legs and feet, and your blood pressure drops, and you get kind of giddy and things go upside down for a minute, and your ears hiss, and you feel rather stupid. And sometimes you have to sit back down again for it to all settle into place.
It’s called “head rush,” but it seems to me that even that nomenclature is rather upside down – since everything is rushing away from your head, not toward it. But that’s what it’s called, and I would suspect that most of us have experienced it at one time or another in our lives. more “If I’m wearing pants, this must be Tuesday.”
I always thought they were a gift from my mother.
The wild and brilliant red rose vines burst into my yard, along the front of the house, just beneath my bedroom windows, the very first spring following my mother’s death. They have been bringing me delight and insight rather consistently ever since.
It’s been almost a decade now. And I’ve always refrained from interfering with their spontaneity, their freeform loveliness, even their integration with the window shutters and roofline and other architectural aspects of the house itself, as well as their fellow plants that grow and coexist among them. more “The care and feeding of wild roses.”
When I picked her up from the shelter, she was being called Lois. But on the car ride back to my house, she and I decided that her “new life” name should be Mia. It was May 13th – five weeks and four days ago today. more “Mia’s Story.”
I have a friend who used to ride the rails. It was back in the 1970s. And he was photo-documenting the lives of railroad tramps – a culture and lifestyle that was fast-disappearing, even then.
His photographs are haunting and harsh and starkly real in unflinching black and white. They tell stories of deprivation and pride; stories of living on edges and in shadows; of the addiction to it all, the blatant freedom and mindset of it; the habitual moving and leaving and never arriving, never staying.
The work is brilliant. The photographs are utterly compelling. But what captures my mind and imagination the most are the words he uses to describe the experience – not the least of which is in the cultural dialogue of the tramps themselves. more “Riding the words.”
I have now washed my hands so many times, I no longer have fingerprints. I suspect that is significant.
I discovered this phenomenon when it became harder and harder for me to access my phone with my thumbprint. And it seemed to me that my identity must be literally slipping away.
Perhaps that is so for all of us right now. If not literally, then figuratively. And if not as individuals, then perhaps as a species.
We are no longer who we once were – or had become. And perhaps this is a wise and wholesome thing. more “In praise of an identity crisis.”
Once upon a time … before all the world stopped and held its breath … before we became achingly aware of and careful with one another … before, when life was just as it had always been, and would never be again … I wrote a story in remembrance of three weddings. more “In search of happily ever after.”
There is a gaping hole in the picket fence that once stood happily defining the edge of my front yard. It’s a place where the wood has simply degraded and fallen away. I find it significant that it happened under the weight and consequence of great beauty: an old and beloved honeysuckle vine that rested there for decades finally had its way with it. more “A hole in the fence.”
I’m not sure why, but people seem to want to come up and talk to me when I’m wearing my red rubber boots. With or without the dog. Any time of day. Downtown or in the woods or at a store or anywhere in between. more “The possibilities of red rubber boots.”
Quincy is a very literal sort of dog. And he takes things personally. He’s more agreeable than well trained, although he’s rather opinionated. He tries very hard, but is shy. Loyal to a fault. Vulnerable and naive and not terribly brave, but compellingly sincere.
Quincy is the kind of dog who barks first and asks questions later. Particularly when anyone comes to my house. No matter how often they may visit, how well he may know them, male or female, young or old or anywhere in between, he announces their arrival well and loudly. He announces it to me, to them, to himself, to most of the neighbors: “They’re here!” He barks it at the top of his voice. more “Quincy barks YES.”