Friday, November 26, 2010

Walking pell-mell

I set up my blog site with the mission to laugh and entertain. Literally, it was designed for me to share my experiences learning, living, laughing, and loving life. But the other day I found myself wanting to rant and rave about an issue in our community and schools. I was ready to write an Op-Ed article stating my point of view. Luckily, my heart won out. In an attempt to keep my site lite I threw on warm winter clothes and huffed out the door with the dog on lease. What a great relief to be able to walk down country roads babbling in my head and occasionally out loud, so that before long my issues had been streamed away by the cool winter blasts.

Just like that my eyes were opened to adventure. Walking West down the dirt road I am always glancing for oncoming cars and trucks and birds of our prairie gracing the low skies. Lucy, our blue healer mix, runs pell-mell every which direction with her nose to the ground. I become her protector from traffic while she chases field mice, birds, cows, horses, and oh yes, dastardly squirrels.

At that moment two squirrels were seen in the distance hurrying and scurrying about the field. Lucy froze, which way to run. Both squirrels managed to deceive her when they ran in opposite directions and then back to the row of trees protecting them. Lucy's run was in vain, except for the blessing that it reminded me of on a summer day a few years ago when we both literally, came face to face with a daring squirrel.

Far down the dirt road away from the tree line we spotted a squirrel skittering around. As we walked closer I noticed the horses in the field were mesmerized by the critter making her way hither and yon on their grazing turf. As the horses closed in on two sides Lucy and I closed in leaving only high prairie grass for escape for the nearest telephone pole was a ways down the road. Just then she panicked. Her short attempts at escape from the chasing dog and formidable horses took her no where. Then suddenly she noticed two tan legs that must have looked like saplings. In an instance she was scrambling up my left leg.

My eyes met hers then a frightened scream and frantic leap erupted from my rigid body. The squirrel flew from my thigh to midair and down. In passing she took a swipe at Lucy's barking nose. With blood now trickling down my leg and dripping from the dog's nose, the distraction gave the squirrel a chance to run the fence line and up the nearest telephone pole.

From the top of the pole she had the nerve to chatter chatter spit on us as we limped by. By the time we wiped our bloody wounds with last year's kleenex and walked on home, all signs and thoughts of frustrations and worldly issues were far from my mind. We both healed with only a few scatches to show of our encounter, but we did call Lucy "Scareface" from time to time. Luckily, adventures don't happen just once. They live on in our minds to rescue us from moments of thoughtlessness.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Dancing in the Breeze

My dog, Lucy, and I often walk our quiet streets attempting to stir up squirrels and cats. Quite often we do and like a flash Lucy is chasing the free animal with her lease bouncing and banging beside her. So our quiet neighbor is once again awake with barking and snarling.

Yesterday, as we walked, the muted fall leaves scurried like little mice across the streets, under our feet, around the corners, and down from above. Still it was quiet and the animals in the neighborhood slept on. My mind, too, was quiet, until suddenly a yard sprinkler system came on full blast. Shivers crept up my wet side as I danced to the right and out into the center of street. Lucy was faster and never a drop touched her fur.

I laugh at moments like this and often wonder if the angels above enjoy the same moments. Sometimes I think I hear their laughter in the trees.

The splash of water reminded me of a moment that I enjoyed last summer. It was Friday, August 13 and once again Lucy and I were walking down the street in the early morning. Thank heavens she walks and tugs with her nose to the ground because that day it saved us. I, too, am always scanning the bushes and yards for cats, rabbits, and squirrels so I can be prepared should Lucy decide to jerk or bound away from me. (Just keeps my shoulder joint in place!) On that Friday the 13th I was blessed to watch a little black animal trot across the street one house away. Oh, she pranced with delight and when her tail went up I froze. The little skunk surprised me. She never noticed me and so I quietly observed her.

Just after she crossed into a wide open yard the sprinkler system came on. Much to her delight she seemed to leap onto her tiptoes and dance the two step across the yard. Back and forth her tail wavered in the light sprays of water and she was alone with nature. This was her dance, her time, her space and I was one lucky traveller who felt blessed to watch this interaction.

I also felt humanely blessed that my dog's nose was busy sniffing the nearby cedar bushes, so she never once picked up the scent or dance of the skunk. Now as Halloween approaches I picture our little skunk dancing, and hope she doesn't trick our neighborhood children, but if she does, So Be It. They, too, will have stories to tell about the little black and white trick or treater.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mosquito lessons

I once took a college class in which the professor explained that we really hadn't learned anything until we processed it, acted on it, and continued to act on the learned lesson. So I guess I don't learn well!

Lesson ONE not learned: about a month ago I was sitting outside in the evening watching the birds glide across the sky while chatting on the cell phone when a mosquito happened to nimble on my arm. Instinctively I slapped the mosquito, but the cell phone in hand took flight. I must say the mosquito was unharmed while the cell phone has two concrete bruises on it. Now I thought I had learned my lesson, don't slap mosquitoes while talking on the phone. Wrong! I did it again while talking and walking in the backyard last night. This time I slapped a mosquito on my neck and as the phone began sliding down my back side I managed a new dance step and voila! I caught the phone mid-air. But the question remains--did I learn not to talk on the phone with mosquitoes present?

Lesson TWO not learned: don't leave the windows down in the car on summer evenings while it's parked safely in the garage, unless, of course, one desires to see how many mosquitoes can reproduce overnight in a car. Pulling out of the driveway that morning not to many weeks ago found me with four windows down, AC going full blast, and arms slapping in my vain attempt to shed the car of mosquitoes. I was just relieved that the neighbors weren't outside watching. But did I learn not to leave the windows down....No. At least the second time the mosquito population didn't amount to very many, and I was able to drive away after minor slapping, but kept the windows down a few more blocks, just in case. So maybe the professor was right-I haven't learned my lessons.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Miami Memories: American Pies

A soft but warm summer rain hasn't dampened the spirits of our neighborhood. Aerial bombs and firecrackers have been radiating the misty air off and on for nearly 24 hours. But today the rains have kept some of us indoors more than we want to be. Our dog Lucy, a blue healer mix, needs to run and play daily, so we've ventured out twice already to play tug, toss the ball, and throw the frisbie. She doesn't mind the rain, but the firecrackers send her house bound and shaking.

This morning as I stood under the protection of the maple trees while tossing the ball, my senses took me back to another time and place when I would have found myself outside under a tree or bush slapping mud pies together. Rain without lightning and thunder is a delight and rarity for those of us in the plains states. Even as a child I jumped at the chance to be outside in the fresh air. So today I smelled the rain, the green of the trees, and the wet soil beneath my toes. I even squished my toes and giggled to myself.

I think it was the smell that brought me back to 209 H st. Northeast. There I was sitting in mom's bushy garden on the east side of the house in the shade making mud pies. After I had them mixed just right and rounded on the edges I'd place them on the cement front porch to bake. I decorated them with clover and other natural trimmings. One time I made a comic character out of my mud pies and mom gave me an "artistic award" of merit. Oh, did I ever dream of being a famous artist. I vaguely remember my creation was something like a fat bull frog. He came with ears, a giant green tongue sticking out (not flat), marble eyes, and leafy legs and arms. The tongue was the winner. I had created it from the "never die" plant (sedum?). The magic tongue was simple. Take a "never die" leaf, press it's sides together until they squish but don't tear, open the stem end, place lips on the open edge and blow gently into the leaf. Voila! a three dimensional tongue.

So thank you VETERANS of all wars and peace for the opportunity to grow up safely in this grand country, and for giving every child a chance to enjoy a summer day outside with no fear of a snipers bullets or the blast of killing bombs. We owe our freedoms to you.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Literally Learning

In the heat of this windy June day my friends are playing golf without me. Instead my brain chose a workshop in the cool air conditioning: "Who Let the Blogs Out." So here I am learning how to communicate with the world. It's fascinating watching Rosemary move her fingers over the keyboard producing a wealth of pictures, graphics, and more. Instead I'm just doing my best to type. Guess this shows you how long it takes to learn new skills. Practice, repeat, and continue. So this blog will be a study of learning, living, laughing, and loving life with Letty.