Saturday, October 27, 2012


Mareid Nesbit of “Celtic Woman” fame is playing an exciting violin solo called Grainuaile’s Dance.  The CD volume is turned down low so I can think.  With a cup of coffee in hand I step out onto the porch with my girls.  The rockers have been taken inside and there is no furniture to sit on but, the porch has a great railing just the right height to half sit upon.  A small amount of light shines down from a window on the second story onto the yard area just in front of the porch.   A very gentle rain is falling and the temperature, though chilly, isn’t intolerable.   I’m thinking how much I like Celtic music.  Its rhythms are like no other music’s and the ladies of Celtic Woman have voices of perfection.  Chestnut hound casually walks across the porch and sits down on the edge of the top step with her feet on the next step down.  She reminds me of how a little kid might sit there.  Dear Shade is at my feet where she always is.  She is my shadow at all times when we are together.  Happy?  Well, Happy is running back toward the porch from the yard with a florescent green, squeaky tennis ball in her mouth.  Oh, that sound – squeak, squeak constantly!  She’s such a sweet little girl.  It wasn’t easy but I got the ball away from her – just until we went back inside later.

It’s quiet out here.  There isn’t a sound except for the gentle rain falling through the trees.  There are a lot of big oak trees surrounding this house offering many, many leaves for the rain to fall upon and pat against.  Sometimes at night I can think myself into being somewhere else – someplace in a forest where no one exists but my girls and me.  And – I miss “him”   tonight.  My sweet boy didn’t have the chance to share our final home together.  How disappointing and sad!  Carelessness on my part erased him from my life in an instant and I will forever beg his forgiveness.

I can barely see the roof of the house that sits down over the hill 600 feet away to the front of us.  I planted Thalusia Pines along the edge of my drive with the expectation that they would block the view of that roof.  They have grown twice their height since I planted them last July and they are performing their duty well.  The forsythias from Scona reside in front of the pines where I can see them when they bloom this Fall.  This place is indeed pretty and it’s far enough away from the chaos to provide solitude.

A cold nose bumps against the back of my hand that is resting upon my knee.  Clear, bright eyes, the whites predominant, stare up at my face – the eyes surrounded by the softest black hair and fir.  I lay my hand on the top of her head and the white disappears.  How sweet is she?!  With a deep breath and a sigh I ask myself out loud, “what are you doing here?”   It’s too deep to go there.  But, thoughts are pouring through my head tonight for some reason.  Were all the years and experiences designed to lead me down a path through life that would deposit me here, on this spot?  Maybe, but I doubt it.  Then again - maybe.  Life has been some picnic for sure.  The fruit of that picnic has been mostly sweet with a touch of bitter lemon in the later years.   I am happier now than I’ve ever been.  Maybe I feel that way because it actually is “now” and the sensations are immediate and fresh.  I used to say my years as a young man on the farm were the happiest.  Those were indeed good times.  I guess the difference between then and now is that I’ve been through three quarters of living with the emphasis being placed on success and money, work and social acceptance.  Priorities are very different during this last quarter of existence.  Money, social standing, fancy cars and status have been replaced by creativity, appreciation of the wild places and the inhabitants who dwell there.  The acquirement of a dream job that places me squarely in the middle of “out there” helps too.  Instead of focusing on gaining wealth I concentrate on ways to get into the wilderness places to capture what I see in a camera and present it in a creative, pleasurable way that will interest folks who read and view my writings and pictures.  I am passionate about the wild places, as you already know.

“There you go again, Shade.  You’re always licking my hand.  It’s irritating at times but, I’ll never try to stop you because it shows how you feel about me.”  Sweet girl!

The sky is dark and the rain continues to fall.  I turned the collar of my jacket up against my neck.  A chill caused me to hunch my shoulders and shiver.  All I need to do is turn and go inside but I’m reluctant to leave the scene and break the magic of this evening moment.  I guess it’s time though.  I stood up and looked once more toward the dark sky – then down at the girls gathered around my feet, waiting in anticipation of some order or direction from me.  I opened the front door and they all slowly filed inside.  I stopped, turned and looked up at the sky once more and said, “miss ya Douglas”, stepped across the threshold and pulled the door shut.