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Travels With Maggie: Time Can Bend Your Knees

Grateful for the End of January

“Time can bring you down, time can bend your knees

Time can break your heart, have you begging please...begging please”…..Eric Clapton

I know, it’s a weird thing to be grateful for, but I am. The back-to-back months of December/January wear me out something fierce.

Frank . . . December 8,, 2019

Mom . . . December 20, 2003

Dad . . . January 9, 1969

The three most important people in my past, all gone during that thirty-one day span, and man alive the memories and thoughts come flooding in, each year, at this time of year.

“Every ghost that calls upon us
Brings another measure in the mystery
Death is there
To keep us honest
And constantly remind us we are free”

Dan Fogelberg hit the nail on the head with those lyrics. Death is there to keep us honest. True that!

Welcome to the country road. The pavement ends here, at this spot, and the wonder begins. Won’t you join Maggie, Toby, and me as we exercise and contemplate life?

Bev and our "children"

Bev and our "children"

A Time to Decompress

For the dogs, these walks are all about adventure and exploration and exercise and spending time with their second-favorite human being (Bev will always be their favorite). For me they are about contemplation and reflection and decompression from the pressures of just living.

There are times I think I would have made a good Buddhist. Life is suffering. I can embrace that philosophy on certain days, when the melancholy shrouds me and light is heavily filtered. What musician was it who sang he was born under a bad sign? I think I was born under a melancholy sign. I wrote about it in my memoir, “And the Blind Shall See.” Melancholy is my default setting. Not sadness, per se, but just a cloudy, murky, filtered vision of life. It’s been that way for as long as I can remember, even as a kid, but it really manifested itself when my dad died when I was twenty. Fade to black at that point, with grey becoming the dominant color afterwards.

So these walks are therapy for me. They are my opportunity to watch two carefree dogs enjoy life on the simplest of terms. Maggie is not weighed down by thoughts of loss. Toby does not mourn the passing of others. They are all about the wonder of new experiences on these walks. Their minds are clear of disturbing thoughts. Their hearts are light, and through them I learn to be the same, a fraction at a time, a step at a time, and slowly the grey almost resembles white . . . almost!

Progress, Not Perfection

That has been a mantra of mine for thirteen years now, progress not perfection, and greatly relieved I am. I do not have to be perfect. I am allowed to make mistakes. It is perfectly all right for me to be human. In fact, the dogs are ecstatic that I am. They enjoy me. Their love for me is unconditional, and no bullshit when I say that fills me with joy.

They also allow me my melancholy. With my dogs I can just be me. There are days I simply don’t feel like being light-hearted or silly. Hell, there are days a smile will simply not find its way to my face. Those are the days the dogs will find me especially quiet on our walks, staring off into the forest, lost in my thoughts, and Maggie and Toby, I swear, sense that and stay especially close to me. Those are the days I get extra kisses from my dogs, and some hardcore tail-wagging. Those are the days “man’s best friend” is a reality one cannot deny.

Water is for fun!

Water is for fun!

Just One of Those Days

Today is, indeed, one of those days. Everything I see or hear reminds me of Dad, Mom, or Frank. A song on the radio, one Frank and I listened to often on our little record player at college, plays on the truck radio as we drive to the farm. The disc jockey reads an ad for Sears, my dad’s favorite department store. I look into the trees while we are walking and I see a hawk perched up high, and I’m reminded of how much my mom loved listening to birds chirp on a summer morning.

There are days I just can’t shut it off, you know, and that’s all right. Memories tuck up under my chin like a favorite comforter on a chilly night, and they provide comfort.

Their favorite playground

Their favorite playground

Winter? What Winter?

As is his norm, Toby races to the natural pond which forms during the rainy season. He splashes out to the middle of it and promptly lays down in it, completely submerged up to his neck, a bullfrog on a lilly pad. Forty-three degrees this morning and that dog is completely oblivious to the chill. Then he erupts from the pond, goes vertical, and races full-speed at me, altering his course a second before collision, leaving me with droplets of water from his speeding coat.

It is almost impossible to be angry with Toby. He’s the overgrown child, the bull in the china closet, an accident waiting to happen, and his love of life is infectious. Even Maggie, the wise, old spinster, is infected by Toby’s attitude, you can see it in her reactions to him, her playful nature on display when Toby demands her participation. They are a good pair, Toby and Maggie, reminding me of Frank and I. Back then, high school and college, I was the overgrown child and Frank the Maggie, and man alive we made one hell of an odd couple, fun unlimited and consequences be damned.

Then Dad died and it all ended for me.

On the Mend

Recovery is slow but it does happen if we are willing. I’ve been willing now for over thirteen years, and Maggie and Toby do their part to assist in my recovery, and I love them for it. I say none of this for sympathy. I’m not into sympathy. I’m just trying to be real, you know. We all go through it to one degree or another, and we deal with it, rise above it, and once again place our resilient humanness on display for all to see.

We turn and begin the walk back to the truck as the skies open up and angels shed tears upon us. The dogs couldn’t care less, but I pull my hood over my head and wonder to myself if spring will ever return to us. The damp and dreary gets to me eventually, each winter, more so now than in my youth, and I am more than ready for some restoring sunshine.

The skies do not grant me my wish, but a squirrel chatters to another, the hawk silently glides from the top of the fir, and Maggie pushes her head against me, her gesture of unconditional love, and I’m reminded once again how good life can be . . . and is . . . for a man and his dogs, walking down a country road.

You are welcome to join us, any old day, round about noon. You’ll find us where the pavement ends and the wonder begins, and we would love it if you walked with us one of these days.

Thanks so much for joining us!

Bill

2020 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

Comments

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 01, 2020:

I'm so happy you joined us, Eddy! Any time my friend.

Eiddwen from Wales on March 01, 2020:

No better place than where the pavement ends and the wonder begins. I will indeed walk with you every time. Thank you for this gem tet again Bill.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 29, 2020:

It was my pleasure, Mary! Thank you for reading my memories.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on February 28, 2020:

Thanks for sharing your feelings about your loved ones. Yes, even 13 years is not enough for memories to fade.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 24, 2020:

Genna, any walk which includes you is a good walk. Thanks so much for the company and the kind words.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on February 23, 2020:

Hi Bill. Sorry I'm late...but congratulations on the Hubbie Award -- richly deserved. :-)

I agree about the Fogelberg lyrics. "True" that is right. And a life without mystery is almost unimaginable, as is a life of perfection. Our canine friends sense far more than we, including their innate recognition of a good and caring man, and when he needs comfort and affection. I'm glad Sis and Bro were there to help you through these moments of melancholy. Hugs, my friend, and thank you for sharing.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 11, 2020:

Nikki, they send their love back to you. Thank you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 11, 2020:

In that case, Chris, I'm happy. If you ever want to talk about it, I'm always available to share my experience, strength, and hope.

Nikki Khan from London on February 11, 2020:

A fun walk through the woods, splashing all the way in the pond water, running carefree, is that all we need to do, too. Dogs are more human than us. Thanks for joining us in this adventurous strolling.

Love to Toby and Maggie!

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on February 10, 2020:

Thanks for letting me join you on this walk. Your thirteen years gives me hope.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 10, 2020:

Happy Monday, Zulma! I'm glad to hear your daughter's car came out of that unscathed. Here's wishing for a warm, calm day soon for us all.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 10, 2020:

There is no figuring it, William, but thank you for sharing your private throughts.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 10, 2020:

Manatita, Happy Birthday my friend. I hope your special day is filled with love and blessings.

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on February 09, 2020:

Well, that explains it. We must have gotten the wind that was mean for your part of the world. Storm Ciara arrived Saturday night kicking up winds that clocked in at 90-miles an hour in the coastal regions.

Our neighbours have a small trampoline in their backyard which they had tied down as a precaution. Sometime during the night, a strong gust blew it over a five-foot fence onto the front driveway we both share. Despite it coming to rest against my daughter's car, by some miracle, there was no damage.

So I'm sure you'll understand if we redirect the wind that was originally intended for. It just wouldn't feel right hogging it all.

Happy Monday, Bill.

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on February 09, 2020:

I wonder if we all have those times, Bill. For me, it's September and October. But funny thing - the fall is my favorite time of year. Figure that one, Bill. Anyway, let's just embrace it all as life. It's all good.

manatita44 from london on February 09, 2020:

Sorry, Flourish.

My condolences. These kinds of losses are extremely difficult for anyone. Higher blessings to all concerned.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 09, 2020:

And I'm sorry for your losses, Flourish...how strange that our losses bunch up in a particular month.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 09, 2020:

Sunshine is here, Zulma. We actually saw a full moon last night with no wind....almost spooky!

manatita44 from london on February 09, 2020:

Yet another brilliant piece of writing! You have taken it to another level here, as it manifests or become alive, even when walking your dogs.

I know that you will get through the gloom, Bro. As we say in poetry: "I've got you! It's all done." yet I dig what you mean. Those trees look happy, holistic, laughing to cheer up your Spirit and the dogs play their part too. Awesome!

FlourishAnyway from USA on February 08, 2020:

I’m sorry for your losses. February in my family is a dark month. We have lost a number of extended family members to death by suicide during February over the years so it is a month of anniversaries. Animals are wonderful partners in life. They sense emotion and are good listeners.

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on February 08, 2020:

Aaaand...now I've got the theme from 'The Golden Girls' stuck in my head. Thanks for that, Bill. lol

Here's hoping for sunshine.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 07, 2020:

Your words and true and wise,Devika, and I thank you for them.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 07, 2020:

Actually, Zulma, the idea of Striker in a kid's book has me laughing out loud. That would be a kick to write.

Have a wonderful weekend, Zulma, and thank you for being my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 07, 2020:

I hope so too, Linda! Thanks so much for being here and Happy Weekend to you.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 07, 2020:

One more day of rain, Mary, and then they are promising five days of sunshine. We sure need it. The flooding is getting pretty serious around here.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 07, 2020:

Being in touch with friends like you, Dora, helps immensely. Thank you for your online friendship.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 07, 2020:

Blessings to you as well, Sean, and thank you for your beautiful thoughts. I would imagine it is lovely in Greece this weekend. I am trying to hold back the jealousy as the rains continue to fall upon us.

bill

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 07, 2020:

All things shall pass, Nithya, and so it is with melancholy. Thank you for your kind words.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 07, 2020:

You share of your loss of loved ones and of your walking experiences that is what life is. We do not see it the way everybody else does unless it is a personal experience do we feel in our own ways. Dogs are amazing they give us comfort as we do for them and at your worst they can make you feel at your best.

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on February 07, 2020:

Actually, Bill, the thought of Striker showing up in the middle of a children's story has amused me no end. :D

Thanks, but I think I'll pass on writing that story. I just don't do Disney.

Have a great weekend, Bill.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on February 06, 2020:

Dogs can be a great comfort for many reasons, including the ones that you've mentioned. I'm glad you have Maggie and Toby in your life. I hope the sun arrives soon.

Mary Wickison from Brazil on February 06, 2020:

I hope sharing your feelings has lessened your sadness some.

I think there are lessons to be learned from dogs. Living in the moment and knowing everything is going to be okay.

Your phrase 'progress not perfection' is a recent addition to my mental vocabulary since I read a book called, 'It's All Figureoutable'.

I hope you get some sunshine soon to help lift your spirits.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on February 06, 2020:

Happy for you that the walks with your dogs provide some relief from your grief, and that their company touch you positively in so many ways. Thanks for sharing these uplifting sentiments.

Ioannis Arvanitis from Greece, Almyros on February 06, 2020:

That's an excellent mantra and a great way to live my dear friend, Bill! I wish it could be written in every school classroom.

I believe that no one really dies as long as we think about them. So, these three beautiful people, not only live inside your Heart, but you create space for them to travel to some other Hearts too. Like mine! You made me pray for them, and I felt their Light in my Heart! Gratitude!

Blessings from Greece!

Sean

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on February 06, 2020:

Sorry for your great loss Bill. Memories of loved ones keep popping up and it is tough to deal with such sad moments. Maggie and Toby seem to understand your feelings. Sun will shine and life is good as you say. Maggie and Toby seem to know and realize it.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 06, 2020:

Peggy, thank you for sharing your family's losses. There is no cure for loss other than the passage of time, I'm afraid, and then I'm not sure that's a real cure.

I will give Maggie and Toby that extra pat. They will be thrilled to receive it, my friend.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 06, 2020:

So very sorry, Bill, for your losses of your brother, dad, and mom in that compressed timeframe of Dec. to Jan.

I can definitely relate. My youngest brother died shortly before Christmas and my mother, on Jan. 10th. Just about a year ago, my aunt died on New Year's Eve.

My husband has never been too fond of the holidays ever since his grandpa died on Christmas Eve. My husband's dad died when my future husband was only 18 months old. He had returned from serving in WWII and got to see his son for the first time and died the very next day in a car accident.

As to your "babies," they are a joy and delight and can definitely brighten an otherwise melancholy mood. Keep going on those walks of yours and enjoy their antics and their unconditional love. Right now, for almost the first time in our lives, we are without a furry bundle of joy. So give them an extra pat on their heads and a treat from us.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 06, 2020:

You betcha! And I'm intimately familiar with it.

Shannon Henry from Texas on February 06, 2020:

Isn't that the definition of melancholy? LOL

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 06, 2020:

Thanks Zulma...always! As for that children's book, I give you permission to use Maggie and Toby and you can write it. No one wants me writing a children's book. lol I'm afraid Striker would appear in the middle of it.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 06, 2020:

Thank you for your thoughts, Brenda! There is comfort in knowing that others experience the same things, and thank God for dogs!!!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 06, 2020:

Lora, thank you for the lovely comment. I admit I looked you up on Facebook and you are quite the animal lover, which means I automatically consider you a quality human being. I was going to "friend" you but that seems to be disabled. Oh well, thanks again.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 06, 2020:

Thank you Heidi! I don't know why that is, but I have quite a few friends with similar stories....weird for sure.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 06, 2020:

Thank you Pamela! The Hubbie means I have gained some respect over the years, and that means I'm growing as a human, so I'm very grateful for the recognition.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 06, 2020:

An excellent description, Liz. Thank you for sharing that.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 06, 2020:

Thank you Linda! All is well. I'm a highly functioning human being, I am loved, and I am 75% "happy" most of the time. That's not bad, eh?

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 06, 2020:

Shannon, I am just wired that way, I'm afraid. it's not sadness, per se, but more a filtered cloud which keeps out the brightness. I am happy without really being 100% happy. :) Oh well, we all have crosses to bear, my friend.

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on February 06, 2020:

Leafing through the catalogues and dreaming, a simple pleasure I still indulge in though these days it's websites instead of tomes.

Toby and Maggie sound like they would make a good children's book. So full of life and living, Toby is apt to get into mischief, but Maggie is nearby to patiently teach him life lessons.

Hang in there, Bill. Spring will be here before you know it.

Thanks for the walk and I'll see you next time.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on February 05, 2020:

Bill,

It does seem like there are moments that just jump out to us reminding us of the loved ones we have lost.

I'm not sure why...but it happens like you describe. Then those thoughts linger throughout the day and sometimes many days and nights to come.

I love that you have your doggies. Animals can bring such joy to one's heart, especially if we are sad.

Thanks for taking me along on your journey.

Lora Hollings on February 05, 2020:

So glad I joined you and your dogs, Bill, for your introspective walk and your reminiscing on the past. Like you, three major people in my life also passed on and even though, it's been quite awhile, I still miss them so much. I heard someone say that "a memory is something you have and yet something you lose." Without the ability to remember these magical moments, I think our lives could very well be less. But at the same time, there's a reluctance to let go. Like you, I love dogs and as I read your wonderful essay, I thought of my beautiful big dogs, Monty and Tootsie who were such a part of my life for so long! I often reflect on the precious times I spent with them and the years just seem to melt away. Monty was the Toby who would jump into any water whether it was a mud puddle or ice and mild-mannered gentle Tootsie was the Maggie! How much I miss them. Dogs have a wonderful way of bringing you back into the present and lifting our spirits. I think that they can keep us sane in an otherwise pretty mad world! I love the song, “Ghosts," by the way and its haunting lyrics. The loved ones from our past do continue to visit us and bring us both joy and sorrow. I will get your book on Amazon, “And the Blind Shall See.” It sounds like the kind of book I would be interested in reading. I’ve always tended to be more of a melancholy and introspective type and I’m sure that your book can teach us much about life that you’ve learned along the way. Thanks for sharing!

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on February 05, 2020:

We always seem to hear about losses of loved ones near the holidays. Why is that? End of life coming at the natural end to the year?

So glad you have Maggie and Toby to join you on your journeys.

Thanks for sharing your journey, both literally and figuratively, with us!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on February 05, 2020:

I know about melancholy days. i have had several days like that since my mother passed away in June. She lived with us for 14 years and they were good years so I miss her so much. I also lost my cat in Nov. that had been here for 13 !/2 years.

While I was hoping for no rain, I did enjoy the walk today. Toby and Maggie are such a delight. There is nothing quite like a dog romping around ourdoors. Bill, congrats on your Hubbie award, which is well deserved.

Liz Westwood from UK on February 05, 2020:

Thanks for sharing, Bill. A friend, who had suffered great loss, once described grief as being like waves. At first they are big and come at you relentlessly, gradually they calm a little, but every now and then there's the odd unexpected one that catches you off balance and threatens to overwhelm you again. How right she was!

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on February 05, 2020:

Bill, there isn't one month that stands out for me as the onset of melancholy. I think every damned month in the calendar has taken away someone that I love, but like you, it's easier to find a smile when the sun is shining. When winter approaches I would be happy to never venture outside of my house; just pull the covers over my head.

As for those furry little beasts in our lives, I don't know what I would do without mine. You know that I have a cat but they are sentient beings too. They don't bark and dash through mud puddles like your Mr. T, but my Pumpkin senses when I'm not at my best. He curls up in my lap (all 8 pounds of him), nestles his head against my bosom, and slumbers the sleep of the innocent. All I need is to feel that little bit of fluff breathing in and out, and a sense of calm washes over me. Our pets (though just one letter away from being pests) are one of God's gifts to us. Of that, I have no doubt.

I am sorry that this is such a difficult time of year for you. I truly understand. I'll just walk beside you and keep you company. No words needed. Friends can speak to each other without words.

Shannon Henry from Texas on February 05, 2020:

Aww, Bill, way to give us all the feels. I hope that mood has passed you by. You've got a lot of loyal fans and I am a devoted friend. I'm sure you have many of those, too.

It's not raining here, but it is overcast and cold. We were expecting sleet and snow mix, but that stayed north west of us, thankfully. Still, a good backdrop for reading about this melancholy walk.

I can relate to what you describe. I used to feel that quite often as a child and into adulthood. Happy to say not that often anymore. Although it's not necessarily a bad feeling, it can be draining, especially if it's prolonged. It can also, oddly enough, be inspiring for writing, but these days, I make a point to stop thinking too long about all those things that cause that feeling, including lost love, as you put it.

I think animals feel that way sometimes, too. Maybe that's why they are so good at giving unconditional love and showering extra love just when it's needed most. Unlike people, who can sometimes withdraw it during those times.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 05, 2020:

Sorry about the tears, Ruby, but they are therapeutic and definitely needed at times. Hang in there dear friend. There are brighter days ahead.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 05, 2020:

Sunshine would certainly help, Sally! I'm not sad at all, but I do feel a shadow over me this time of year. Here's hoping the shadow lifts soon, my friend. Thank you!

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on February 05, 2020:

Well, ' you went and done it ' I'm sitting here with tears flowing. January is a horrible month for me, I lost my son Jackie on Jan, 17 and life has never been the same, I wonder if it ever will. Thank God for memories. Thanks for taking me along. I enjoyed every step, even thought I felt your pain.

Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on February 05, 2020:

There is definite melancholy in the air today and heaven knows I do understand the reasons why. It does seem to me that the older we get the more we visit the past, sometimes voluntarily so, but at other times it just happens. My theory is that we have to visit the past before we can deal with the future. There is a some comfort in doing so. Perhaps we both need a little more sunshine.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 05, 2020:

I knew you would understand, Eric. I reckon you summed it up perfectly, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 05, 2020:

Mr.Happy we have on Sears in town. How much longer it remains open is anyone's guess, but I'll be slightly sad to see it go. I miss the old Sears catalogs. Loved it when they would arrive in the mail. I would spend hours looking through it and daydreaming of having money. lol

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on February 05, 2020:

I have spent a decade working on enjoying the down days. Yes I know that sounds weird. Perhaps like a story, where we know that in the end the hero pulls through. You have to read the hard parts to get to the climax.

And I like to pat myself on the back for not returning to self destructive behavior during those time. Thank you for the camaraderie.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 05, 2020:

A wonderful quote, Bushra! Thank you for sharing it.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 05, 2020:

I will do that, Ann, and thank you! Just one of those days, my friend. Not sadness per se....just floating deeply into the memories of love lost.

Have a splendid Wednesday, and thank you!

bill

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on February 05, 2020:

"Fade to black at that point" - Been there before and those times call for the Stones with "Painted Black". I love that song. As a matter of fact I'm gonna play it now lol

Never thought about my "default setting" until now, that You mentioned it. I don't think I have one. I'm a Gemini so, I think I have at least two, haha!! If I had to pick one, I think it'd be curiosity. I'm such a curious creature ... I have to know everything! And that's obviously a futile exercise because the more You know, the more there is to know. A never ending hunt.

"progress not perfection" - That sounds like reasonable advice.

"the disc jockey reads an ad for Sears" - You guys still have Sears stores? They're all closed here. I thought they went out of business.

"We all go through it to one degree or another" - We sure do. Happiness for me is just overcoming whatever obstacles Life throws out. So, as long as I see tomorrow's Light, it's alright. I'm happy.

"where the pavement ends and the wonder begins" - Ya. I wrote a piece some years ago about "dirt roads". I love dirt roads. They do lead to interesting places; places not many venture to and from. Dirt roads are the ones closest to wilderness. This wolf needs wilderness. The concrete jungle weighs down heavily. It's hard this time of Winter 'cause it's been long with the cold, snow, rain and I gotta get in the Forest to do some hiking and healing and resting. Can't rest well in cities. So, basically I don't really rest in the Winter. It'd be nice to be able to sleep Winter off like Bears. Imagine the amazing sleep one would have, sleeping for months on end. Haha!!

Thanks for letting us into the journey. All the very best!

Anya Ali from Rabwah, Pakistan on February 05, 2020:

'Life is the path of Death, some are in the earth, others on it.' (Translated from a couplet by Majrooh Sultanpuri, 1919-2000, Urdu poet). Thank you for an excellent article.

Ann Carr from SW England on February 05, 2020:

Wonderful! I can feel the melancholy on this walk - you have that ability to impart such things. I know what you mean by those sort of days.

Dogs have a sixth sense when it comes to emotions or sickness, don't they? Amazing creatures and perfect company. I don't have one now because we go away too often and that's not fair on them.

Have now responded to your challenge and left a link on your hub.

Give your dogs a good fuss from me!

Ann