Travels With Maggie: Finding Comfort in Simplicity

Updated on April 15, 2020

Enough Already

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.

Maggie welcomes you
Maggie welcomes you

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!

A path to simplicity
A path to simplicity

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!

More Neighbors

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.

Busting out in bloom
Busting out in bloom

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)


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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      And there we go, Lawrence, with the knowledge that it's all changed around us, and we need to find a way to adjust. Best wishes to you, my friend. Stay safe!

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      4 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


      I'm sat here, in my bus at a 'timing point' (I arrived early) on my left is a new retirement village being built, work goes on but with restrictions.

      On my right are open fields, at least for now, soon they'll be houses for the affluent, it's s a wealthy neighbourhood!

      It's later at night now,and my boy Barney is happy with me, he got a walk tonight.

      We're heading for our 'new normal' now, the PM has told us we're going to this new normal which is great but will never be the same as the old.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for walking with us, Marcy! You are pleasant company.

    • Marcy Bialeschki profile image

      Marcy Bialeschki 

      4 months ago from Cerro Gordo, IL

      Thoroughly enjoyed this one. And I am the same...done, done, done thinking and writing about the Rona.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm not going anywhere, Marlene. I'm too stubborn to catch this disease. :) You stay well, as well, and I'll see you next time where the pavement ends and the wonder begins.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 

      4 months ago from USA

      This was a fun walk. It made me forget about C-19 for a while. I need more days like this. And, it's not strange at all. Everything truly will be alright. In the meantime, I must still end with - stay safe in place."

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I will hug them for you, Lora, you can be assured of that. Thanks for walking along with us. You and your poodle are always welcome.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      William, I can't wrap my brain around snow in April. Good luck with that, my friend. You are welcome to keep it all there.

    • Lora Hollings profile image

      Lora Hollings 

      5 months ago

      I sure enjoyed the walk with you, Bill, and your two canine chums! Dogs are certainly a great consolation for what the world often lacks, I find. But your writing certainly doesn't lack but shines with great lustre like the sun illuminating all the colors that are there but we just couldn't see them. Thanks for the hair ruffle. I needed that! Give those dogs a hug from me as well. Take care, Bill.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      5 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Snow here in PA, Bill.I'm not sure what to think. The walk was a blessed change although a little chilly. Thanks for having me along.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I doubt it, Dora, but we can always hope.

      Happy Sunday my friend!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Virtual hugs coming back atcha, Heidi.Thanks for taking a stroll with us. Let's hope the curtain lifts soon, although I doubt it will. lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I have to admit to feeling a bit guilty too, Jo! My life is pretty fantastic right now....and smores sounds good, doesn't it?

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      5 months ago from The Caribbean

      I enjoy the walk with you all in the spring. I also like the Gene Williams story. I can relate. Wondering if Maggie will come around to liking the poodle.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      5 months ago from Chicago Area

      I think I'm getting to a "I'm so over COVID-19" phase, too. Sure, I'll talk about it and deal with it. But we're learning a lot about it and each other in these days.

      My walks with the dogs are super quiet. Rarely see the neighbors. If I do, it's a wave hello. Just seeing the few folks who are "essential" working in our neighborhood.

      Overall, my life hasn't changed too much. A lot more cleaning with hubby working at a hospital. Not going to my favorite places to write, but am adjusting. Just glad that I have a sense of normal.

      Thanks for taking us with you! Virtual hugs to you and the pups!

    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 

      5 months ago from Tennessee

      My life is pretty amazing also, and we are so happy at times here on our hill that we can just forget about the pandemic out there. I sometimes feel guilty sitting here being happy in our security when I know there are so many people out there suffering. And when we sit and watch the fire burn in our fire pit as the sun goes down behind the trees, I remember that big box of Hershey bars and sack of marshmallows in our cupboard and wonder what we're going to do with them. I miss the grandchildren.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I am confident we will make it, Rosina. Thanks for the visit and Happy Weekend to you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Brenda! I hope you are able to enjoy that park soon without shivering. :) Brighter days are ahead for all of us, my friend.

      Blessings to you always

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Join us any old time, Nithya. You are a wonderful companion and Toby and Maggie thoroughly enjoyed you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I agree with you completely, Devika. It is much too easy to let the bleak news overcome us. We must concentrate on the positives.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Color abounds here, Zulma, just in time. I need a splash of color after a dismal winter. As for Maggie yes, white seems to be a color she dislikes and/or distrusts. My girl much prefers red or yellow. lol

      Happy weekend, my friend, and thank you for always being here.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It was my pleasure, Rajan! It was nice having you along on our stroll. Maggie and Toby say you are a wonderful travel companion. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for joining us, Mitara! You are welcome any old time you feel like getting some exercise.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for joining us, John! It's nice when old friends can take a walk together and enjoy each other.

    • surovi99 profile image

      Rosina S Khan 

      5 months ago

      I thoroughly enjoyed your walk with Maggie and Toby. It is surely a wonderful distraction from the deadly virus. Hopefully, all of us here will be okay, and we will make it. Great hub, Bill.

    • Brenda Arledge profile image


      5 months ago from Washington Court House


      I enjoyed taking a stroll with you today. I can picture your doggied doing the Jekyll and Hyde thing when the little girl is there.

      They so love attention.

      The sun was a bit deceiving here today for it felt quite warm in the car, but when i stopped to eat lunch at the park it was very chilly.

      I just had to get out for a few minutes though.

      Keep walking and inspiring us with your words.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      5 months ago from Dubai

      It is magical when the sun shines! It is a wonderful experience to witness nature at its best with all the glorious colors in display. I guess Maggie is just getting some bad vibes from the white poodle, wish I could read her thoughts. I enjoyed the walk and thank you for the much needed ruffle.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi Bill great stuff sharing your wonderful adventures. Right now e need all the positive moments as you have shared here and the enjoyment of nature.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      70 here today too, Peggy, and heavenly. I think I'll keep the news off today and just enjoy life.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, they say we can walk all we want here in Olympia, as long as we are six feet distant. I can live with that.

      Thanks for joining us, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It really is, Bill. I'm probably in better shape now than when the virus started. lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I understand Maggie too, Pamela. I'm not sure what that says about me, but I understand my dogs quite well. lol

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      5 months ago from United Kingdom

      Hi, Bill.

      Excellent timing on my part. I finished the housework just in time to join you. Spring has sprung here. Daffodils and tulips are blooming and cherry and apple blossoms are coming in. The neighbourhood is getting some much-needed colour. While that's all fine and well on one hand, on the other it's a little frustrating because I imagine the park is quite pretty now and I can't go and take photos. :(

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't you mention that Maggie also took exception to a white rooster in the past? Maybe she just doesn't like the colour white, for whatever reason.

      Thanks for letting me tag along, Bill. Catch you later.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Yes, all will be well and pretty soon all this will be behind us. Thank you for sharing the walk which is a much-needed break from the monotonous life at the moment.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Stay where you are, Eric! It's a much more satisfying place, young man.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It was my pleasure, Denise. Any old time, you know where to find me.

      Blessings always


    • MitaraN profile image

      Mitara N 

      5 months ago from South Africa

      Glad I accepted the invite Bill, was a very interactive and delightful walk much needed.

      Great to get out and take in some sunshine.

      Thoroughly enjoyed hearing about something different to the draining topic of highlight these days.

      Take care, keep well and be safe

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      5 months ago from Queensland Australia

      It couldn't get much better than sharing this walk with you and your dogs Toby and Maggie. This was a wonderful reprieve from the morose news filling the air waves. Like you, I can't complain about my life at the moment one bit. Thanks for the invite Bill.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      5 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Our temps were a perfect 70 degrees today as a high. It was bright and sunny. The birds were chirping, dogs being walked, bicycles being ridden down the street, and to all appearances, all was well with the world, until turning on the TV. I think that it is smart to concentrate on the positives. Your walks with Maggie and Toby are always a joy to read.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      5 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I seemed to feel you as you ruffled my hair. thanks. The walk today was fun and watching Toby and the poodle was a sight to see. I know we're supposed to stay home, but the walks are so much fun, I just can't help myself from joining in. Everything is in full bloom here, but the temp is in the 50's, last week it was 85. See you Toby and Maggie the next time you venture about.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      5 months ago from Massachusetts

      Great walk. Nice to see signs of spring out there. It's coming slowly here also. With all of this staying home it is nice to get out for a walk every day.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Thank you for a wonderful walk today Watching the dogs is so much fun. I like most people I meet and I tend to be friendly. However, every once in a while I meet someone I don't like and I don't have a good reason why. I do not like someone who is condescending toward me, so they may be one explanation. I understand Maggie.

      Enjoy the rest of the week, Bill. Stay healthy.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      5 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill I bought the ticket had it in hand, was standing on the platform in the right spot but they just would not let me on. And then out of the station the train did roll. Maybe that was the last train to Bummerville.

      For now I am stuck in happyville. Maybe one day my train ride out of here will come in.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      5 months ago from Fresno CA

      Thanks for the pat on the head. I needed that. Sometimes it is just that assurance that a person needs.



    • DreamerMeg profile image


      5 months ago from Northern Ireland

      Great walk. I don't remember meeting many people on the walks before and was it 4 or 5 today? But no hens!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      5 months ago from Central Florida

      What an amazing walk today, Bill! I love seeing the neighbors out and about. The colors that emerged with each step we took were breathtaking. The air has cleared my head and I see everything from a much different, more positive perspective.

      Now that we've met back where we began: where the pavement ends and the wonder begins, I bid you, Maggie, and Toby adieu.

      Go ahead and ruffle my hair. It would mean the world to me!

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      5 months ago from Texas

      What a walk! Springtime is my favorite time of year. A holdover from growing up in the Midwest, I suppose. After a long winter, I always looked forward to the colors popping up everywhere. Here, I still love spring, but it isn't the same. The seasons are more like summer and winter. Right now, we've got leaves back on the trees and the wildflowers have been back for some time, but it's also a rollercoaster of warm then cold. Mother Nature can't seem to make up her mind this year. Someone said she went to bed last night with the air conditioner on and then woke up freezing. Would you believe we've already had a couple of 90 degree days this year? You wouldn't if you were here today. LOL

      Strange about Maggie and the poodle, but at least it's only one dog. Daisy wants to eat just about any other animal she comes into contact with. Some dogs and some people seem to never meet anyone they don't like and so it's surprising when they do. Funny you should mention high school, though, because I was thinking the other day about how some people from high school that I never really cared for then don't seem so bad now. Perhaps they never were really "that bad" then. More likely, I had no good reason for the disdain toward them and didn't try to make friends for whatever reason. I wasn't popular and didn't try to be, so who knows. LOL

      Anyway...have a fantastic April day now, not March. Haha......Thanks for the reminders of life going on around us still. All my days seem to run together lately. At least the seasons are still changing in some parts of the country. ;)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank's for sharing that, Becky! I'll bet they look lovely. Our Rhodies are blooming and that is the first thing you see when you walk out our door. I wish they bloomed all year long.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      5 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, thanks for helping us focus on the positive. You and I are luckier than most and for that I am thankful. There are blessings in everything, but leave my hair alone.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      5 months ago from USA

      Don’t you ruffle my hair just yet, Bill. You stay six feet away, old boy, or Ima gone get you. And you better be wearing a mask given your advanced age if you know what I mean.

      In all seriousness, my sister is a nurse practitioner who tested people at the residence care facility where 1/3 of residents have died so far (45) and many of the healthcare providers are themselves testing asymptotic positive. She wears a space suit type getup to test people at these sites and cries every night. I have one of her three sons because he has asthma and someone else has the other two. It’ll be ok eventually but for some of us it will be a lot longer before that happens.

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 

      5 months ago from Hereford, AZ

      I walked out my door yesterday, and got hit with the sight of my roses. I have not had a chance to go look them over yet, but they decided to bloom. I have lavender roses and white ones blooming, and pink and yellow ones with good buds on them. The red ones haven't opened their buds yet, but soon. I also have succulents blooming, a weird twisted one has the most gorgeous pink flowers on it. That one is on the patio table, in a pink teacup that holds a gallon of dirt. The aloe on my front porch has bright red spires sticking up out the middle of it. I need to get that one into a bigger pot. Looks like it has doubled in size since last summer.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, Liz! I hadn't thought about the noise level, but you are correct. It is much more peaceful.

      Thanks for joining us, my friend.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      5 months ago from UK

      Thanks for transporting us all with you on your walks. In a strange way, as we get into mid Spring, I have noticed many around me taking more notice of the nature around us. Now that we're in lockdown, planes are grounded, noise imuch reduced, we can take pleasure in the simple things of life, like hearing the birds sing and watching the changes in nature close by.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      They are great words, aren't they, Ann! I love words like those.

      I was talking about the lockdown yesterday with our barista in the drive-through. I almost feel guilty. My life really hasn't changed that much. My income hasn't suffered. I'm living the same kind of life I have for years. Hardship for me? Not really! A bit unsettling at times, and of course I feel deeply for those who suffer from this virus or the economic mess it has caused, but my life is pretty fantastic.

      I don't tell many people that. I don't think those who are struggling want to hear it. :)

      Blessings from afar


    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      5 months ago from SW England

      Thanks for the hair ruffle! Those words crotchety and fidgety are great words, strange but great I think. They have the 'made-up' quality about them, a fill-the-gap kind of word between, shades of 'rude' and 'restless'. I like to analyse why words appear!

      I think the girl on the hover-board must be called Alice, just appearing and disappearing. You sure you didn't fall down a hole at the beginning of your walk? I'm rambling. Well, I'm walking with you anyway.

      I think we have to concentrate on the positives; without hope, there is nothing. I have much to be content about too. My life is good and my family are fine. I'm willing it to stay that way. Yes, everything will be all right.

      Thanks for a great walk, bill!



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    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)