Life With Dogs – November 2021

Grey is the colour of my November.

For, this is the month when the inevitable happens… winter comes. This year it arrived with a bang, a three-day rain/snow event that left us with wet, heavy snowdrifts along with a new reality.

The dogs didn’t seem to mind although Odin did initially seem a little puzzled.

What’s happening!
But surprise soon turned to winter fun

November is also the month that marks the anniversary of Roland’s passing. It’s been two years now and, for the most part, I feel I am doing better.

But… November has me falling backwards.

The November days, and even more so the nights, are a struggle. I find myself back in that place where Grey lives inside me. I am learning to accept this but am humbled and a little shaken by the loneliness and sadness that still live here.

Roland loved his dogs. I miss him and the life we shared every day.

“Little by little, we let go of loss, but never of love.”

November is not without its splash of colour… and I have my grandkids to thank for this. From October 22 to November 30, five of them have birthdays.

These kids help me remember the good.

And then there are the W.A.S. dogs! They own my heart.

These are but some of the November adoptables. So many great dogs needing good homes…

That leaves my two, Odin and Lacie… where would I be without them! They get me up and out and, more often than not, have me smile.

So yes, November is a tough month and I suspect, for me, that’s just the way it is and will be.

But writing this, and seeing the photos pop up on screen does help.

I guess I have to hold my gratitudes a little closer…

and try to remember to just breathe.

my brain and
heart divorced

two years ago

over who was
to blame about
how big of a mess
I have become

eventually,
they couldn't be
in the same room
with each other

now my head and heart
share custody of me

I stay with my brain
during the week

and my heart
gets me on weekends

they never speak to one another
- instead, they give me
- the same note to pass
- to each other every week
and their notes they
send to one another always
says the same thing:

"This is all your fault"

on Sundays
my heart complains
about how my
head has let me down
in the past

and on Wednesday
my head lists all
of the times my
heart has screwed
things up for me
in the future

they blame each
other for the
state of my life

there's been a lot
of yelling - and crying

so,

lately, I've been
spending a lot of
time with my gut
who serves as my
unofficial therapist

most nights, I sneak out of the
window in my ribcage

and slide down my spine
and collapse on my
gut's plush leather chair
that's always open for me

~ and I just sit sit sit sit
until the sun comes up

last evening,
my gut asked me
if I was having a hard
time being caught
between my heart
and my head

I nodded

I said I didn't know
if I could live with
either of them anymore

"my heart is always sad about
something that happened yesterday
while my head is always worried
about something that may happen tomorrow,"
I lamented

my gut squeezed my hand

"I just can't live with
my mistakes of the past
or my anxiety about the future,"
I sighed

my gut smiled and said:

"in that case,
you should
go stay with your
lungs for a while,"

I was confused
- the look on my face gave it away
"if you are exhausted about
your heart's obsession with
the fixed past and your mind's focus
on the uncertain future

your lungs are the perfect place for you

there is no yesterday in your lungs
there is no tomorrow there either

there is only now
there is only inhale
there is only exhale
there is only this moment

there is only breath

and in that breath
you can rest while your
heart and head work
their relationship out."

this morning,
while my brain
was busy reading
tea leaves

and while my
heart was staring
at old photographs

I packed a little
bag and walked
to the door of
my lungs

before I could even knock
she opened the door
with a smile and as
a gust of air embraced me
she said

"what took you so long?"

~ John Roedel (johnroedel.com) 

**** This post is part of the 2021 Life With Dogs photography project. ****

Life With Dogs – July 2021

July is the month I dream about in December but this year July has been a time of extremes.

A record breaking heat dome has brought endless days of above +30C temps with little if any rain. Heavy smoke from distant forest fires blankets our field with a thick haze that is turning the normally blue sky into a winter-like grey.

The conditions are such that our outdoor time has been limited to early mornings and late evenings and even then, one has to be mindful of the air advisory that is in place.

But there are always reasons to smile…

Six years ago, on July 3rd, Roland and I brought home our sweet Lacie to join the family. It was thought at that time that she was approximately 4 years old… that would make her about 10 today.

Happy Gotcha Day Lacie! Love you!

Occasionally a strong wind blows through and clears our skies giving us a short reprieve from the smell and the smoke.

But on many mornings the first sun of the day presents as a red ball glowing through a smokey haze casting a fiery radiance to the morning light.

When we are at our seasonal site, Odin and I usually head out early in the day to beat the heat and the crowds.

Debonair campground has a lovely aerated pond that is quiet in the early morn but transforms mid-day into a fun oasis for kids of all ages.

Our morning jaunts often include a walk to the main beach at St. Malo Provincial Park.

On this morning, I wondered what had captured Odin’s rapt attention.

It wasn’t long before I found out…

A squirrel, scampering about in the park adjacent to the beach, had caught his eye.

Odin is always on squirrel-watch.

Heading back to camp…

Just chillin’ on a hot summer’s day…

“The summer looks out from her brazen tower, through the flashing bars of July.” ~ Francis Thompson

**** This post is part of the 2021 Life With Dogs photography project. ****

Life With Dogs – May 2021

May is the month I daydream about all winter long. It is the time of new prairie beginnings… the new greens of spring, the new warmth of the sun with winds that flow softly from the south.

“Goodbye,” cold north winds. Arrivederci! Adiós!

And then there are all the first happenings… the opening of my seasonal site at Debonair Campground (Thanks to my son, David, for helping me with this), the first seeds planted in the garden followed by the seedlings once the frost is no longer a threat. Happily, the first blossom has already graced the yard while robins and songbirds flit about. How I have missed their cheerful ditties.

The heavy shadow of the covid pandemic still hovers mightily over Manitoba. Our province has been hit hard during this third wave. The restrictions are many and the need to stay at home continues but the blue skies and sunshine make the isolation more tolerable.

Thank goodness I have Odin and Lacie for company. With all these covid challenges, I would be lost without them.

It is wonderful that finally the dogs and I can enjoy our field walks unencumbered by layers of sweaters and coats.

Finding a great big stick mid-field is simply the BEST! Odin proudly carries his treasures back to his yard. Sadly (for Odin) these trophies mysteriously seem to disappear shortly afterwards.

The warmer days allow for more yard fun.

The first of many flowers has bloomed, the beautiful Dahlia. This calls for a photoshoot.

Mid-May bought soaring temps and near-perfect days for enjoying walks through our favourite trails at Bunns Creek.

One of Odin’s favourite walking buds is Sandy. This little cutie is a nine-year-old Jack Russel terrier and one of Odin’s best friends.

This particular day was a warm one. Once we got back home Sandy immediately headed for her pool. Odin was intrigued, but cautious. Maybe next time.

The longer days and warmer temps call out for leisurely evenings to simply bask in the stillness and the light.

Two good dogs…

“The world’s favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May.” ~ Edwin Way Teale

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This post is part of the 2021 Life With Dogs photography project.
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Life With Dogs – March 2021

March came in like a lamb and has pretty much stayed the course with unseasonably warm and inviting days. These unexpectedly pleasant days have made this time of Covid more tolerable. Being able to get out and about with dogs and friends while enjoying the new warmth of the sun brings smiles even during this challenging time.

March 6th is an especially happy milestone. Two years ago on this day Roland and I bought home a very scared 5-month-old pup. Our initial intention was to foster only, but it wasn’t long before we knew Odin was home to stay.

Roland loved this dog and he would be thrilled to see what a goofy, gentle boy he is today.

Happy Gotch Day Odin!!

The blackened prairie behind our house from the grass fire in 2010.

With the small amount of snow coverage we have had this year, the field behind our place is near dry.

The ones-in-the-know are predicting possible drought conditions, which have me remembering another very dry spring way back in 2010.

That year the early melt with very little rain led to many local grass fires. Our field became the site of one of them.

That’s our little Coco Bean walking the neighbouring field.

That day was a scary one, with firemen dragging heavy long hoses through our yard then out the back gate to reach the flames. Everything turned out ok… but it is not something I will forget anytime soon.

Here’s hoping for substantial spring rains.

In the meantime, very little snow makes for very little mud and much more field fun.

The warmer days are perfect for doggie dates with best friends.

Lots of happy yard time too…

Then the lion in March made its presence known while letting out a mighty roar.

One day we are enjoying a balmy afternoon of +18C and the next we have snow, -12C temps with wind gusts of 80Kmhr.

March on the prairies…

We are not impressed!

Happily, April will soon come a-knocking with her own promise of spring.

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” ― Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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This post is part of the 2021 Life With Dogs photography project.
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Life With Dogs – January 2021

Of all the months, January is my least favoured… frequently cold, often dark.

Thankfully, the first half of the month this year brought unseasonably warm temps… such a blessing, especially while living under strict Covid-19 restrictions. The warm days provided an escape to the outdoors where walks with family, friends and dogs were a welcome reprieve from the lonesomeness that is the Covid reality.

The mild weather allowed for much anticipated outside play time.

Many of our walks are enjoyed in the field behind our house.

Hoar frost and fog remind us of how creative winter can be.

Playdates with Odin’s best friend, Maple, helped to break up the January monotony.

The middle of January brought colder days. Out came the winter coats and hats.

And last but never least… a little January fun! Where’s Bernie!

 

Happy January Happenings (may be dog related, maybe not)

** On January 6th I was blessed with a new great-grandbaby… Emilia, 7 lbs 14 oz, a sister for siblings Gabriel and Scarlett.

** On January 26th my mom, 98 years old, received the first of two Covid-19 vaccinations. Such a relief!

“JANUARY, the first month of the year, a perfect time to start all over again, changing energies and deserting old moods, new beginnings, new attitudes.”
―Charmaine J. Forde

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This post is part of the 2021 Life With Dogs photography project.
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12 Months For Dogs – January

With the recent loss of my husband, January feels daunting. The cold, the dark only adds to the aloneness.

I have decided that if I am going to get through this I have to focus on the positive and on the things that give me comfort… two of these being photography and my dogs.

The dogs remind me that happiness can be found in the moment. The camera encourages the search for beauty.

With this in mind, I have joined a couple of Flickr groups to provide motivation and camaraderie. The first one is “12 Months For Dogs“. Every month I will submit one photo of Lacie, one photo of Odin and one photo of the two of them together, three projects in total.

The nice perk about the group is the expectation to participate in and enjoy the photography and dogs of the other members. Already this has proven to be an enjoyable endeavour.

Here are the photos for this month:

Odin… all grown up.

Lacie… with snowflakes on her nose and eyelashes

Odin and Lacie together… with the focus on Lacie Girl.

“The best therapist has fur and four legs.”

Related links:
12 Months for Dogs (On Flickr)