Travels With Maggie: Finding Comfort in Simplicity
I’m weary of all the talk about viruses. The novelty is over. The truth has dug a foxhole and will be with us for awhile. We are all aware of it, we are all crushed by it to varying degrees, and we all know the world has experienced a major shift, taking our reality with it, kicking and screaming.
So I’m done writing about it and, for the most part, making mention of it. No, I’m not sticking my head in the sand. I’m simply choosing to lean more towards the positives in life and yes, I do believe the positives far outnumber the negatives, even in today’s world.
Maggie and Toby, my two Northwest Farm Terriers, don’t know nothing about COVID-19, pardon the slang. All they know is exploration, fun, and love of their humans. I provide food, shelter, and love to them. In return they provide lessons about life, liberally-sprinkled with companionship and devotion.
So thanks for joining us today on our walk. As always, the walk begins where the pavement ends and the wonder begins.
Spring Is a Magical Time
It has arrived late if you pay close attention to the temperatures, but it is slowly arriving. Daytime highs in the forties are not conducive to writing poems about flowers and picnics in the park, but that is the reality this late-March day. Still, the signs are there, for anyone willing to pay close attention.
Flowering cherries brighten the roadsides. Azaleas and Rhodies are blooming. Daffodils are late, but a few brave ones are poking out, scouting the landscape, deciding for the rest of their pals. Our berry bushes are adorned with green nubs, but the grape vines refuse to participate. Despite the cold temperatures and damp skies, there is a feeling of rebirth in the air. My stride is a bit longer now, shaking off the cobwebs of winter and stretching hibernating muscles.
Maggie and Toby are not terribly interested in new growth. Their walks are all about new smells and creatures walking about, two-legged and four. Toby is fully-recovered from his neutering and is feeling quite frisky on this walk. Maggie is fidgety, a state of being she is adopting more and more as she gets older. When she’s ten we’ll call her crotchety, but today it’s simply fidgety, both of which are strange words if you ask me.
Which you didn’t!
The Humans on Our Walk
We pretty much go the same route daily, a shout-out to my obsessive-compulsive nature, and that same route means seeing “regulars” on each walk.
One block from home we see Alana with her white poodle, and right out of the chute Maggie goes ballistic. She has hated that poodle since she was four or five months old. I have no idea why. I probably will never understand why. It’s just the way it is, and Maggie ain’t changing no matter how much coaxing or reprimanding I do. She hates that poodle, period, end of story. I wave to Alana, sheepishly grin and shake my head, muttering a “I’m sorry,” and drag Maggie away as quickly as possible. Toby, he just wants to play. Toby wants to play with every dog, every human, every creature with legs or wings or probably even fins.
Toby wants to play!
I think about Maggie’s behavior as the walk continues. Really, I’m just as guilty as she is. There have been people in my life who I instantly did not like. I would not be able to give you a definitive answer to the question “why?” but without a doubt, on some basic level of existence and awareness, I did not like them. Am I alone in those snap character judgments? I don’t think so. I think, if people are being honest, they would admit the same. Some people just rub us the wrong way, and that’s just the real of it. So why do I get so upset with Maggie?
There was a kid in high school, Gene Williams was his name, and I disliked him something fierce. I have no idea why. I probably had no idea then. I just didn’t like him and he didn’t like me. Well we ended up going to the same university, ended up on the same floor in the dormitory, and we ended up good friends. The more time we spent with each other, the more we liked each other.
Weird how that works!
We see someone new on this day, a girl, maybe twelve, maybe thirteen, riding a hoverboard down the street. She sees us, breaks out into a smile, says hello, and asks if she can say hello to my dogs.
Strange on many levels. A young girl, attractive in that “breaking out” sort of way, talking to a complete stranger, that in itself is pretty odd. Toss into the mix my two dogs, who have decided this young girl is the greatest human being on the planet, just five minutes after the debacle with Alana. Maggie has done a complete Jeckyll & Hyde transformation, her tail vigorously wagging, her butt in sync with the tail, tongue out, as adorable a dog as you are ever likely to meet, the same dog who wanted to rip a poodle apart not five minutes earlier. And, of course, Toby just wants to play.
The girl supplies my mutts with the love they demand, looks at me, half-waves, and says “thanks and have a nice day,” and hoverboards her way down the street.
Curiouser and curiouser!
The Sun Breaks Out
And with the sun comes a cavalcade of colors, no longer muted by the shadows, exploding for all to see, invisible one moment, vibrant the next, a magic show only the Greatest of Magician’s, Mother Nature herself, could provide.
And with the sun comes more and more neighbors, as though a bell has rung releasing them from their homes, Shirley and Sally and Christine along the way, a brown mutt, a black poodle mix, and a boxer by his trade, and he carries a reminder of every glove . . . sorry, remembering a classic by Simon & Garfunkle, and Maggie, for the most part, behaves, and Toby, he just wants to play.
Finish the Walk
We complete the walk under sunny skies, the promise of warmth, a treat apiece and a pat on the head, reminding me of Dad, always ruffling my hair when I was a kid, big, strong hand on my head, giving me reassurance, giving me courage, and giving me love.
“Everything will be all right, Billy,” or “You played a good game today, Billy,” and for a few minutes, at least, because of that simple gesture, life was not a mystery at all. Life was just love.
I hug my dogs and give them another treat as we arrive home. It’s hard for me to imagine life being much better than it is right now for me. Sure, we have this COVID-19 thing going on and sure, it is unsettling, but my life, at its core, is pretty amazing. I am loved by the greatest woman on the planet. My life is simple but amazing, with two great dogs, a roof over our heads, the basics provided for, and good health for all.
I’m not sure how it could be much better!
Thanks for joining us! As you leave us today, would you mind if I did something that may seem a bit strange? Would you mind if I ruffled your hair? Just a quick ruffle, telling you everything will be all right, my friends. Everything will be all right!
See you next time where the pavement ends and the wonder begins.
2020 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)