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Travels With Maggie: Stepping Back in Time

The air is crisp this afternoon, slowly rising from an early morning reading of thirty-four, so I hope you’ve bundled up for the walk. Maggie girl doesn’t seem to get cold no matter the temperature, but us humans have to take care, so consider yourself properly warned.

The sky is robin-egg blue, the wind is still, and it’s a good day to be alive.

Shall we begin our walk?

Is it time for our walk, Bill?

Is it time for our walk, Bill?

The Time Machine

Walking with Maggie is, for me, like entering a time machine and transporting back to the 1950’s. When I was five my parents bought me a terrier mix puppy, sort of a peace offering for moving us away from my friends into a new neighborhood. As a shy five-year old n 1953 I was not too happy about the move, as I recall, and I remember spending the first few days sitting on the back porch thinking my life had been ruined.

Pixie changed all that. My Toy/Fox Terrier mix was a bundle of puppy energy and love, and we became instant best friends. She lived eighteen years, so Pixie was a constant companion during those formative years, through childhood, adolescence, teen years, and into early adulthood. This was all before leash laws, of course, so any excursions I took with friends around the neighborhood included Pixie keeping pace at my heels, her tiny legs churning to keep up, always inquisitive, always happy to visit anyone, and always eager to lick my face whenever the opportunity arose.

Fast forward almost fifty years and I have once again bonded with a dog, Maggie is her name, and I’m not ashamed to say I adore her. I love her brother Toby, of course, but it is Maggie who reminds me so much of those days long ago when a quiet kid desperately needed the companionship and love only a puppy can provide. Maggie and I will grow old together, and I find great comfort in that fact.

Stop and Pay Attention

Geese flying overhead . . . squirrels playing tag twenty feet above ground, no safety net . . . hawks circling . . . rabbits ducking for cover . . . deer running in that hip-hop way of theirs . . . men in the distance hammering . . . somewhere a young child squeals in delight . . . a diesel engine comes to life . . . a chainsaw signals death in the forest . . . the country symphony continues, day in, day out, its notes available for all with a willingness to hear, and Maggie doesn’t miss a note. From her first step to her last, on each of our walks, Maggie Girl is on alert, hearing, categorizing, and reacting, and doing so instantaneously. If there is a sound, or a smell, she does not recognize, she runs off to investigate. There is no “fake news” for Maggie. There are only experiences verified.

But there are also times when Maggie and me, we’ll come across something Maggie has not experienced, or we will hear a sound she has no recollection of, and she will look at me to gauge my reaction. If I act in fright she knows. If I am calm she assumes there is no danger. She is somehow connected to my emotional wiring and will react according to how I react, which at first seems remarkable until we think of our own childhood, and isn’t that pretty much how we did it when we were toddlers and adolescents, experiencing for ourselves and relying on parents and extended family to transmit messages to us about the strange and the unknown? I clearly remember turning to my dad and gauging his reaction on a number of occasions, and I suspect it isn’t that much different for others as well.

The neighbors come out to welcome us

The neighbors come out to welcome us

Pay Attention to the Shadows

They are longer in October than they were in July, the sun lower in the sky, the lower angle spreading my shadow a good thirty feet in front of me, thirty instead of five, scientifically explainable but I prefer the mystery of it all, and really that’s what life has always been for me, a mystery, mystical, magical, wondrous in so many ways, as long as I have been receptive to it all, receptive like Maggie has been, is, and always will be.

Oh, there have been times when I was much too busy to appreciate it all. I suspect we all get that way, from time to time, burdened with worry or anticipation or guilt, unable to truly absorb all that surrounds us, and hopefully those “cluttered” times are few and far between in your life. They are now in my life, all but eliminated, as I’m now embracing a simpler life, a less-cluttered life, a life much like Maggie’s.

Toby, on the other hand, he chased his shadow the other day, and his tail, and I didn’t have the heart to point out the futility of it all. He’ll learn, as we all must, hopefully sooner rather than later. Until that time comes, though, Maggie and I will enjoy watching the wild one unleashed as he bounds and rolls and splashes his way through life, the proverbial “bull in a china closet,” Hercules unchained in a world designated as his own personal playground.

Fluffy love

Fluffy love

What’s That You Say?

I would love it if my dogs could talk. I imagine, at times, that they do, Maggie the wise one, liberally sharing her Buddha quotes, explaining it all to her brother, he laughing at Big Sis, telling her she is foolish, and me sitting back and reveling in their sibling banter. In a way they do, you know . . . talk that is . . . but you have to pay close attention. Maggie does communicate with me. Toby is learning how to do so, just as all creatures on this planet communicate, in their own way, teaching us if we are willing to tune in to their frequencies, and wouldn’t that be grand if we were able, and willing, to do so. We might not be so eager to cut down more forests, pave over more fields, or spew poisons in the air if we heard their words to us, their screams to us, and felt the pain in their sounds.

But that’s probably just a silly old man imagining that which doesn’t exist . . .

Probably . . .

A Shift

Clouds rolling in, the wind shifting, and the air feels different, all signs of the season, a potpourri of meteorological interactions as cold fronts and warm fronts collide, jet streams guide, and fall establishes her hold on the landscape. It’s time to turn for home before the rains begin. Maggie and Toby race ahead, fully aware that we are leaving, barking their way to the truck, standing there, tongues lagging, looking at me for a well-deserved treat. I pat them on their heads, reach into my pocket, and reward them for another perfect walk in a near-perfect life, just a man and his dogs, walking down a country road, remembering a five-year old boy and times gone by.

Maggie and Toby wave goodbye to you with their paws, and we all thank you for tagging along on our walk. You are always welcome, you know. No need to call and ask if you can join us. Just meet us at noon where the pavement ends and the wonders begin.


© 2019 Bill Holland


Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 19, 2020:

Peggy, thank you, and I too am convinced they have ESP. How else to explain it?

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 18, 2020:

I was telling my husband just yesterday how much I enjoy reading your musings of things in the present as well as the past on these walks with Maggie and Toby. I do believe that our pets have a form of ESP. They sense our moods and have a unique way of communicating with us. We have also said that it would be fun to hear what our pets would say to us if they could speak our language.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 14, 2019:

Genna I invite you to Olympia and a walk with us. We would love to have you join us.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on October 13, 2019:

Hi Bill. I've said this before, but Maggie is sooo adorable. I love dogs, but she's one that you want to cuddle as soon as you "meet her." Pixie's age of 18 was remarkable! (That's a lifespan that is usually reserved for cats.)

I love the reference to "fake news" (lol) with Maggie... also how she is connected to your emotional wiring, and her Buddha quotes to her little brother, Toby. Well said. Mother Nature's shift in seasons brings new sights, senses and sounds.

It's always a delight to tag along during your walks..."where the pavement ends and the wonder begins." Thank you.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 11, 2019:

We have our priorities straight, Zulma. :)

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on October 11, 2019:

Bill, you're a man after my own heart. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 10, 2019:

Li-Jen, you are always welcome. I hope one day it is in person.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 10, 2019:

Dip my face in it, Zulma, and call me one happy sonofagun! What are we talking, 2000 calories? It might be worth it. lol

Li-Jen Hew on October 10, 2019:

Thanks for this article which is paw printed with your dogs' wisdom! Nice to know that the surroundings can do a lot within one day. I'm looking forward to more walks with you!

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on October 10, 2019:

Fair enough. I heard about a chocolate shop in London, Dark Sugars, where they make the best hot chocolate in the city. They make all sorts of chocolate in their own chocolate shop so you can choose what you like. Then they make a paste with the chocolate, add hot milk to it, then they take handfuls of chocolate shavings and pile that on top of the mixture and let it melt in. So you get this awesome hot chocolate to drink and at the bottom, you have a thick layer of gooey chocolate decadence to indulge in. The owner of the shop says the best way to drink their hot chocolate is with a spoon. :)

Is that enough straight-up hot chocolate for you?

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 09, 2019:

Zulma no, I'm not into foo-foo! Straight hot chocolate for this boy.

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on October 09, 2019:

Good to know. Thanks, Bill. Will you be having marshmallows and whipped cream with your hot chocolate?

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 08, 2019:

Zulma, they are only allowed if they are your only source of heat, which for us is true. Our furnace broke down many years ago and we couldn't afford a new one. :)

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on October 08, 2019:

Sounds very cosy, indeed. I'm kinda surprised they haven't banned wood-burning stoves. I mean, we're all so environmentally conscious these days.

Here at the Dudgeon residence, it's definitely autumn. My youngest daughter has broken out the cocoa powder and it's hot chocolates for everyone.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 07, 2019:

No apologies necessary, Sean. I understand completely and I agree. That kind of bond and connection is one to be cherished always. Thank you for sharing, my friend!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 07, 2019:

The fire is burning in the wood stove, Zulma, and we are quite toasty on this wet Monday. Thank you! Maggie and Toby send their love, as do I.

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on October 07, 2019:

Maggie's thoughtful, measured steps and Toby's wild, exuberant gallop are the perfect yin and yang. It's nice to see you're bringing Toby out more, Bill. What a lovely way to look at life from both sides.

Looking forward to our next walk. In the meantime, have a great day and keep warm.

Ioannis Arvanitis from Greece, Almyros on October 06, 2019:

This connection with another creature is a miracle to me! My Robin, a Greek hound dog/ Cocker Spaniel mix, always knew when I was sad and he was trying his best to make me laugh. I was at University, far away from home, when he passed away, but I felt it before my father's call. I will never forget the love I took from this dog-brother! Never! I don't need any other proof to know that we are all One! Please, excuse my monologue, my brother, Bill, but your beautiful Hub brought sweet memories back to my mind and Soul! Thank you! I owe you...

Love over time!


Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 06, 2019:

Thanks so much, Cynthia! Stimulating and harmonious relationships? Wouldn't that be a joy? :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 06, 2019:

Blessings always, Nikki, and once again I thank you for joining us and commenting.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 06, 2019:

Thank you for the walk, Lawrence. Tell Barney I said hello! It sounds like he's got that home of yours totally under control. lol

Blessings always


Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 06, 2019:

It would be fascinating, wouldn't it, Dora! I'm communicating with you right now...can you hear me? I said thank you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 06, 2019:

Thank you Nithya! Life was not meant to be lived as robots.

Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on October 05, 2019:

Dear Bill,

That was a delightful romp with Maggie and some fun observations of her more kinetic brother. I felt a real click of recognition when you described how Maggie Girl turns and gauges your reaction on an unfamiliar experience she comes across. Indeed, dogs would seem to have that EQ that we humans are told to aspire to if we want to have positively stimulating and harmonious relationships with others. Good work! Have a great week!

Nikki Khan from London on October 05, 2019:

I loved your walk down the forest with two cute friends, dogs are truly a great companion more than humans and especially when they connect you to your childhood with a joyful bond of love.

Would wait to hear more about your wonderful walks with Maggie and Toby.

Blessings my friend!

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on October 05, 2019:


You know 90% of all communication is non-verbal, and that goes for us Humans too!

I know animals talk to us, the real problem is are we listening?

Barney often communicates with me in the way he behaves, one cat, the one that doesn't bother him and will even snuggle up to him he totally accepts.

The other one hisses and spits at him, so guess what; she gets chased out of the room! She tries a claw across the nose to distract him (it's supposed to frighten dogs off) but he just ignores it and intimidates her!

He often asks nicely to go out at night, if we oblige everything is good, if not he asks 'not so nicely' and that creates issues, not that he's worried about that.

As I said, Maggie does communicate with her world, and it sounds like you listen to her.

At the moment here, the deck outside is a mess, but life is good and it's peaceful.

Thanks for a great walk'


Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 05, 2019:

The idea of communication between the dogs, and between you and them is fascinating. I wonder how life would be different if humans and animals could discuss and debate, Interesting reflections on this walk.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 05, 2019:

I doubt you do that much, Eric. You seem to be pretty well tuned into the essentials.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 05, 2019:

I'm planning on many more years of walks, Linda, but you know what they say about plans and God.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 05, 2019:

Thank you John! Cut out all the b.s....now there's a suggestion I can sign up for. Let's start a movement, the No B.S. Club!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 05, 2019:

Stay warm, stay safe, and thank you always for the following, Bill.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 05, 2019:

And all the best to you, Mr. Happy! Maggie and Tobias in snow last year was hilarious. One of the greatest free shows of the season. :) As for fluffy love, she's got a llama which protects her and does a fine job of it. The coyotes don't stand a chance against that llama. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 05, 2019:

That's hard, MizB! I doubt I would forgive him for that either. Give me a choice between a pullet and the love of a dog and I'm afraid the pullet loses every single time.

Here's hoping your weather remains mild. Thank you my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 05, 2019:

I've never watched that, Heidi, but I think I should. Thanks for the suggestion!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 05, 2019:

Flourish, you can always count on a kitten to liven things up a bit. :) Thanks for sharing that.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 05, 2019:

Memories like ours, Ruby, are priceless, and will never lose their value. Thank you my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 05, 2019:

PS, we will be waiting for you where the sidewalk ends. Love and blessings winging their way to Florida.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 05, 2019:

Oh Pamela, you would just love Maggie. She has "human eyes." It's almost disconcerting.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 05, 2019:

We enjoy your company, Linda, so please continue to join us. As for Emerson, I look forward to the reveal.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 05, 2019:

Thank you Chitrangada Sharan! I think learning comes from a willingness to learn. At least that's how it seems to me.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on October 05, 2019:

Once again with your girl there you connect with a notion that I just never questioned. Never thought about it and certainly just assumed. I have got to stop just taking things for granted.


Nithya Venkat from Dubai on October 05, 2019:

I enjoyed the walk and your musings along the way. We forget to stop, look around us, and marvel at the small wonders that pass us by every day. We become mechanical and rush past life, like robots. We should be like Maggie and Toby and enjoy every magical moment.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on October 04, 2019:

I hope you and Maggie (and Toby) have many enjoyable walks together. It sounds like you have a lovely area to explore.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on October 04, 2019:

What a lovely walk it was today. Bill, your prose is simply a delight to read. Life can be so simple and wonderful if we let it. We need to cut all the bs and just take in life like our friends the dogs. I am certain they, all other creatures, and even plants communicate and feel emotions. We just need to learn how to tune in to them. I'll be there to meet you and Maggie next week.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on October 04, 2019:

Hi Bill. Enjoyed the walk with Maggie and Tobias. Tonight we have our first frost warning and the foliage is starting to turn. It’s my favorite time of the year. Have a wonderful weekend.

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on October 04, 2019:

"we’ll come across something Maggie has not experienced" - I like the reaction of puppies when they see snow for the first time lol

"I prefer the mystery of it all" - I do as well. There is only so far we can explain things anyway. After that, it's all Wakan Tanka (The Great Mystery) without any explanations/descriptions.

Haha, that "fluffy love" (sheep) looks in a perfect position to be snatched by a wolf. She's all alone and looking very dinnerish. : )

"We might not be so eager to cut down more forests, pave over more fields, or spew poisons in the air if we heard their words to us, their screams to us, and felt the pain in their sounds." - You know, I'm often thinking about all the crawlers, critters, birds and all other inhabitants of forests when fires scorch through. Who helps the family of squirrels? Where do the wolf pups go? What do the birds do without the safety of the trees? : (

We are all One.

Thank You for your words. All the very best!

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on October 04, 2019:

Ah, Bill, I don’t think you’re a silly old man imagining that which doesn’t exist. You have an open mind and an open heart. Keep yourself open and don’t lose the childlike wonderment.

I just wish that my dad had realized how important to me a pet was. I bonded with a little stray white terrier when I was a child. How I loved that dog! I didn’t care for dolls, but I would borrow my little sister’s doll stroller and dress the dog In her doll’s clothes and push it around in our big ole yard. Daddy trained it to tree squirrels and enjoyed hunting with her, but he wouldn’t pen any of our dogs up. When she and our other dog killed a neighbor’s pullets, he gave both dogs away. I was brokenhearted and still haven’t forgiven him.

Our weatherman promised highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s for next week. I just wish it would stay that way cuz I despise cold weather. Enjoy walking those dogs and have a good weekend, my friend.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on October 04, 2019:

If you've ever watched the Dog Whisperer, you know that we're communicating energetically with our dogs all... the... time. Sounds like you and Maggie have the whole telepathic thing figured out. Tobias? Well, he'll get there.

Thanks for bringing us along!

FlourishAnyway from USA on October 04, 2019:

It’s wonderful that you connect with Maggie like you do. I connect with my cats on an emotional level. Today we painted some trim in the dining room. My deaf cat BayBay and cancer cat Spanky sat watching me three feet away and simply communed with silence. Then the black kitten Alexus came in and provided some hyped up entertainment.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on October 04, 2019:

I'll be here. The time spent with Toby and Maggie is a time well spent and of course, you make it interesting with your look-back. I do that so much and it's a good time of remembrance.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on October 04, 2019:

Will definitely meet you both whete the wonders begin

Angels are headed your way this October eve.ps

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on October 04, 2019:

I too enjoyed the walk today. I think it is so interesting how our dogs can connect with us on an emotional level. I also think it would be so interesting to hear them talk. Taking a walk on a lovely day I am sure would allow them to express their deligt.

Have a great weekend, Bill.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on October 04, 2019:

Bill, thank you for another lovely walk. As you may recall, I recently spent a week in Oregon and brought back a box full of memories. I'll be sharing some of them in my future articles, but this one I'll let out now. In one place that I visited, there was a quotation by Ralph Waldo Emerson--I think Maggie has been reading some of his philosophical writings.

I feel honored to be a part of your daily walk.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 04, 2019:

Aww, thanks for checking in, Mary, and pat that Lily on her head for me. She's welcome to join Maggie and me any old time she wants. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 04, 2019:

Thanks Alyssa! What happened to September? That's what we are all asking around here. Oh well, it's good weather for chili and stew, so we have that going for us. Enjoy your weekend, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 04, 2019:

Thank you Monkey. I appreciate that acknowledgement. :) Have a wonderful weekend.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on October 04, 2019:

Enjoyed going through your wonderful thoughts and the walk with Maggie. You described everything beautifully.

We can learn so much from the animals and they communicate so much without even talking.

Thank you for sharing and have a great weekend.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on October 04, 2019:

I envy you, Bill, your walks with Maggie and Toby, too. When we stayed longer in the cottage, I shared our neighbour's dog, Lily, who often comes and keeps us company. These days in the city, there are many dogs but I just don't have any connection with them. Meanwhile, Lily lies down at our doorstep and keeps hoping we'll one day open the door.

Alyssa from Ohio on October 04, 2019:

What a wonderful walk! You both seem to discover something new each time. It's getting cooler here as well. We went from August to October in a mere 8 hours. Have a wonderful weekend, and stay warm! :)

RoadMonkey on October 04, 2019:

Love that sky, robin egg blue! We seldom get that color here unless we have a hot dry summer. Beautiful description.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 04, 2019:

Shannon, great point about kids falling down. How many times did I see that on the playground when I was a teacher? Fall down and then look around to see if anyone was watching? If someone was then the tears would begin. If not, they dusted themselves off and continued playing. lol

You people in Texas need a dose of winter reality! lol Reversing that, I would last about two days in that heat and then I would just lay down and die.

Have a great weekend, my friend.

Shannon Henry from Texas on October 04, 2019:

Thirty-four? Yikes! Brrrrrrr......Maybe at one time, that temp didn't bother me much. Okay, I lied. I never liked being cold. But I was stupid enough to do things like go outside without a coat on and walk short distances or take a shower ten minutes before I had to catch the school bus in the morning and have time to dry my hair. . .Yes, it froze on my head.

Nowadays, it's still in the 90s here and we all rejoice when a cold front drops the temps down into the 80s. It was one of the warmest Septembers on record, if not the warmest. I think I'd maybe freeze to death up your way. I've become too acclimated to this area.

As for your walk itself, your comment about the way children take cues from their parents or to other adults they trust is so accurate. I hadn't thought about it much, but that one gave me pause. Because it's true. It also reminds me of when children fall down. They may not be all that hurt, but sometimes they look back to see how dramatically they should react to scraping their hands or skinning their knees. It makes me think of when I used to work in daycare and nursery settings back before I even had kids of my own. I could always tell which kids were not overly-coddled at home when they fell down.

Well, it's been an interesting walk this week. But I need to go warm up now. I'm afraid I'm not dressed well for this weather of yours.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 04, 2019:

Thank you Sally! You are appreciated very much. I hope your weekend in Norfolk is spectacular.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 04, 2019:

Thanks for sharing, Susan! I hope you get a dog soon. I have no doubt you have a ton of love to share with one.

Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on October 04, 2019:

I so enjoy these walks with Maggie. Thanks for sharing. Have a wonderful week-end.

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on October 04, 2019:

I love all your posts about Maggie and Toby too. When my Maggie and Bruce were alive I wished they could talk but like you, we did communicate. I miss having a dog in my life and I think I'm finally ready to share my life with another one.

Have a great weekend Bill, and don't work too hard. :)

Ann Carr from SW England on October 04, 2019:

You could be right about that!



Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 04, 2019:

Thank you Ann! So many lessons we learned as children seem to be buried under an avalanche of life. Hopefully I will live long enough to recall many of them. :) Maybe what some people call senility is actually simply the aged transporting back to childhood and remembering the simplicity of life?

Have a brilliant weekend, my friend.


Ann Carr from SW England on October 04, 2019:

Thank you for another perfect walk with you and your dogs, bill. I'm transported to a simple, beautiful landscape where there are few worries and it calms me.

Animals do have a sense of what we feel, a sixth sense if you like, and I feel that we could develop our own if we took the time. It has to be there, we just don't know how to reach it unless we spend more time trying to.

We can all learn from the behaviour of animals, as indeed we can from our grandchildren - a fresh, wondrous outlook on everything they come across and a need for input about all that is around them. Natural reactions are not always what we expect because we've put restrictions and 'norms' on how we should behave. We have to go back to going with the flow, trusting our instincts and being true to ourselves.

Enough of waxing lyrical! I hope you have a perfect weekend with your 'family and other animals' to (mis)quote a well-known book from Gerald Durrell.


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