This little button recently turned 7.
I am continually humbled by the trust animals can have in people and the life changing experiences they provide.
Nothing is more sacred and meaningful
than the trust of an animal.
Nothing is a better cure for stress and anxiety
than playtime with puppies.
A chance to put on-hold
obligations and deadlines
and dive into nature
with the purest of spirits.
Removed from the city
even for an afternoon
layers of stress and blocks
fall away, replaced by what
the wind brings, what the
trees take, and what the animals
are willing to share.
How else to rebuild the soul
than to witness firsthand
the infinite cycle of nature,
of earth, of home?
Moments the chaos is held at bay
when the pine filled sky sways
and the ravens visit
and the earth releases pungency.
Each weeks struggle to fit in
to complete what is expected
to fulfil obligations
takes its toll on the mind, the body,
further distancing my connection
to the forest and each animal,
a balance of give and take
that exudes beauty.
Even simple tasks like raking,
clearing brush and watching
the dogs run free with smiles
is all it takes to survive another week.
Weeks have passed since my last visit.
Jack pine needles blanket the pole barn’s roof
a painting of solid green and brown slivers.
The front porch is covered with maple and oak leaves,
spider webs and left-over wood that was cut for fires.
What used to be a driveway is now in the beginning stages
of returning to prairie grasses with spotted wild flowers.
Dragonflies, damselflies, and other winged creatures
casually float 20 to 30 feet overhead and beneath
afternoon blue sky, growing darker as the sun
is sinking below the treeline.
With what little light is left I choose the pruning
shears and work my way to the trail I have spent the past 3-years
cleaning, clearing, and moving deeper into the forest
of countless trees, creatures, and tall guardians.
My goal is to cut branches below 8 feet and leave
a tunnel, allowing more light through and the
path to take on murky, moving shadows.
At the third tree, I stopped, still, silent
and listened as the tree in front of me,
a white birch, spoke my name.
I touched its trunk, felt its heart and energy
and decided that was enough for the evening.
I will leave you untouched, as you are,
guardian of this forest.
We brought Leroy home in early 2011, shortly after I returned from Alaska. I was apprehensive of bringing this tiny life home and the responsibility that came with her. Would we be good pet owners, provide the right nutrition, walks, exercise, training, keep her safe? What do we do when traveling, or simply running errands? Was I willing to make adjustments and some sacrifice for this fur ball? Since I decided to not have children, these are things I never had to worry about and was fearful to say the least.
The first year was probably the most stressful with the most amount of change as this puppy was like a squirrel drinking Monster energy, which is probably why she responds when I say “Monster, come here”. But, as she grew and her personality solidified, so did I. Stress became easier to handle or let go as the monster brought a frisbee and only wanted to play. Patience became easier to muster as walks into the woods became more about living, smelling each flower, and chasing dragonflies.
Now she has become my shadow and enjoys, with a smile, terrorizing me.
Going on 4