Gratitude 9/25/12

I’m grateful for music which can lift me when nothing else on Earth can even come close. I let it take me away and for just a moment I surrender and am no longer groundless but am clinging to the notes, and not beating myself up for clinging, just enjoying, laughing, floating, and reveling in the happiness it brings me. Whether it’s STAX, Leonard Cohen, Francis Dunnery, bad House Music, ’80’s New Wave, ’70’s Soul, ’90’s Quiet Storm, or any of the other thousands of kinds of notes I let sink in my ears, it’s all good. All of it heals. It makes the groundlessness easier.

I’m grateful for another good Lois day, her laughing face giving me kisses, urging me outside, reminding me that there’s much to be learned…..outside.
I’m grateful for friends calling from afar, just to say hi and remind me I’m not alone in this unpredictable, crazy atmosphere and existence. We’ve all got our life to breathe through and even when I feel alone, I’m really not.
I’m grateful for unexpected kindness. You brace yourself for a lashing and instead receive goodness and generosity and kindness. So grateful and so much more valuable because you guessed wrong.
I’m grateful for birdsong. Just that. Trilling, rolling, lilting birdsong. Precious and beautiful. I want to hold onto it for the days in our winter woods when it’s completely silent. Too damn silent. For when I long for the song of birds. I take it in and hold it, before letting it float back onto the fall breeze. Surrendering it for someone else’s ears to cherish.

My Girl.

On August 27th, my doggie daughter Lois was diagnosed with colon cancer.

I savor every quiet moment with my girl, the good as well as the not so good. She roams our woods searching for a good place to do her business, walking through our forest floor, ferns brushing our legs, mushrooms of every size and shape and color dotting the leaves. Brown tiny-tree like stalks peeping out, and huge white mounds the size of bread loaves or flat like dinner plates. Tiny red umbrellas, and lacy orange fluttering down the side of a stump. Once a tiny pink elfin mushroom, and once, even a magical blue too bright to be real.

She hunts for the perfect spot and I breathe through the fact this might be one of our last days together. I hope we get to roll in the snow one more time. She so loves the snow. My beautiful girl.

My favorite moments of all are when she sleeps by my side early in the morning after The Hubby has gone to work. On her back with her legs splayed out snoring softly. I lie there and listen to the birds and breathe and try to hold onto it, to remember what it feels like to hear crickets chirping, dogs barking in the distance, their echoes calling for my girl to come play, to actually hear the sun rising and to hold onto and remember what it feels like to be loved by Lois. Her gentle eyes telling you everything will be okay Mommy, I’m here, everything will be okay.

Her koala smile tucked into her closed mouth, turned up ever so slightly at the corners, such a small grin conveying such huge happiness. Her soft snore, the way she softly barks in her sleep, her paws tap-tap-tapping on the sides of her crate in the night as she chases rabbits or deer or runs with the direwolves chasing shadowcats. I read, listening to her and The Hubby snore in tandem, each one on either side of me and I am content.

When I first read “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” many years ago and Tereza described to Tomas her love for the dog Karenin, how she might just love Karenin more than she loved him, I rolled my eyes and wrote her off. She’s just a dog. Tomas is your husband.

Then I fell for Lois and my whole world changed. I understand how a dog can make you see the world differently, can make you see yourself differently and teach you things about yourself you never knew. They look at you in such a simple, pure way, with such a clean love and never, ever do they expect anything back. What little you have to give them they will take gratefully and never begrudge you a single thing in return. They never resent you or feel threatened by you. You can hate them and even beat them and they will still crave your love.

It is such a purity of spirit, such a generosity, love at its essence. It makes all other forms pale in comparison. You give them love and they give you the world.

You have so many things in your life, your family, your job, vacations, cars, hopes, dreams, goals, anxieties, fears. All they have is you. And that’s all they need.

You never see a dog with self esteem problems. Sure they might be afraid or shy, but a dog never goes around hating herself. Lois just smiles, wags her tail, and looks at you with those big dark eyes as if to say, “Aren’t I cute? Aren’t I just the greatest? Don’t you love me? I sure love me. I sure do. You do too, right? I can see it. You’re DYING to give me a pet. And a treat. And a belly rub. You loooooooove me. You really do. I can tell. Who wouldn’t love me?”

Lois has taught me more about life than any person ever did or will. Dogs have the uncanny ability to act as a mirror. We look into their eyes and they reflect back onto us that which we love most about ourselves. And for most of us, it’s a shocking sight, one we’ve never seen before. For many, including me, it’s the first time we haven’t felt indelible self hatred from reflected images.

Instead of walking around this planet beating ourselves up, dogs remind us why we should love ourselves and each other. I feel better about myself knowing Lois. And by being her Mom, she has taught me to finally get rid of the self-hatred I’ve been carrying around since I was a child.

Taking care of her has been my greatest honor. Loving her my finest gift. And each day I have left with her will be my best.

Gratitude 9/12/12

Today I am grateful for the late summer sun warming my face as I take my girl out for her afternoon constitutional. The crickets sigh their end of summer song longingly, drawing out their notes in hopes to make it last. The air is still and quiet, holding its breath, waiting for that moment that change in the air when you wake up and notice the leaves have started to turn.

I’m grateful for words and the trickle of them that have started to drip through my fingers after so long a drought.

I’m grateful for photographs and the very few I take where I can say to myself, “Yes, that’s it. In that photo my eyes were open and I really captured what I saw. I was able to look beyond the immediate to something more.”

I’m grateful for the people who care about me in this world, who check in, ask how I’m doing, and really make an effort. Because it can be a big, ugly world at times and friends very often are more family to me than family. I’m grateful for their love, and for their complete and utter acceptance of the flake I can be. It makes me feel like I can handle anything.

I’m grateful for wonderful morning dreams, the kind that take you outside yourself to a better, dreamier place. Would be so easy for me to cling to such dreams in times of trouble but I must remember like everything they are only air, just a mist that drifts away.

Gratitude 9/11/12

Today I am grateful the blanket of summer has been lifted….the air has come rushing in and the day is so bright and sunny the very air is edgy with relief and joy….it feels like a little girl squealing with delight on a carousel and sounds like a whisper of silence and crickets. I am grateful my girl Lois remains asymptomatic and a reflection of the joyful weather, her bedtime bodyslams are forceful and committed, utter bliss and ecstatic doggie laughter behind every one. I’m grateful for hot coffee milky and warm smiling to itself and saying, “Remember me?”. I’m grateful for the need to somehow capture this gratitude in words. Every moment is fleeting and yes, one day far in the future perhaps I’ll read this again and remember, but I know the memory will be soft-edged and fuzzy like the inside of a sweatshirt. It won’t have the clarity, the committment, the prismatic light that this very moment has. I have to breathe it in and let it go, breathe it in, and let it go. And I am grateful for the courage to do that. Lastly I’m grateful to have traveled here today to find 2 quotes from strangers, wonderful, uplifting quotes that made me feel buoyant, lifted, full of light. Much like the weather. Namaste.