Wednesday, July 27, 2011
In a series of fast and unfortunate events I was the first to arrive on a scene in which I knew I would be the last to extend a little kindness to a life known as Shadow. Shadow -- a small black dog -- lay in the road with a halo of blood around his head, a heaving chest filling with fluid, and two miserably mangled legs. Bloody, muddy, and growling in pain his scared eyes told me the end was near.
As my horror-stricken children watched, I frantically called the number on his tag and delivered terrible news to the shocked and shaky voice on the other end. "Come quick your dog's been hit and he doesn't have long."
Then in my heels and skirt I kneeled in the road and sobbed as I stroked his dirty little back. I didn't pray he'd survive; I knew he was too far gone. Every breath he took was racked with the rattle of sure fate. But I hummed and I cried to him and I held his head. In minutes his momma came with fear in her eyes and the confused look of predictable circumstances -- knowing her dog would never come home, again. She took one look at her Shadow and sighed, "Oh Shadow, what have you done."
My heart couldn't hold the sadness of the moment. So I did what all good mothers do. I pitched in my strength with hers. She had come -- just as I'd instructed -- quickly, but unprepared. So she had no blanket to wrap him in. My mind went straight to the brand new picnic tarp I knew was in the back of my car. After all, I'd just enthusiastically selected it for it's lively red color. Though I knew I'd never get to use it if I offered it, I gladly handed it over and helped her move little Shadow onto what would be his last bed.
I had never met Shadow or his owner before this day, but the scene of his last afternoon plays over and over again in my mind. It even makes me gasp with emotion and begin crying in remarkably off-putting ways. I suppose it's the thought of the end that upsets me so. That and the raw need for unconditional love. Any of us who approached Shadow in his last minutes could have chided him; told him it was his foolish choice to run in the road that got him killed. In fact, I suppose I could have grimaced at the sight of all the blood and foaming saliva, even the grubbiness of his coat. But that is not what Shadow needed. All he needed was love.
While I am not a dog, I think I might be a simple creature. Despite the choices that make me, me -- when my last breaths are counted I hope someone rubs my back and says, "It's OK, little one. Close your eyes and relax. I'll stay until your people come."
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
This morning, on the heels of an extraordinary night, Cooper woke up late and delighted in doing something of no importance – he watched cartoons. He even clapped his hands in a small applause meant only for himself and excitedly breathed the words, “I have nothing today.”
The enthusiasm has waned; the season is over, every body out of the pool.
I still maintain that the high of the season was found in knowing he was dedicated. But just to show me up, the coaches saw fit to select him as their choice for a special trophy. In each age group they singled out one boy and one girl who had demonstrated Determination, Desire, and Drive.
So, that’s it… enough gushing.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
A few days ago I found myself in the cockpit of a canoe, paddling up the Snake River with my father behind me giving commands like, "Other side! Nope, other side. Paddle faster!"
Monday, July 11, 2011
Not far from the shores of the North Fork of the Snake River my grandparents have a small, rustic (emphasis on rustic) cabin. This is a "family" cabin and as I've grown up I've been permitted to visit there from time to time and enjoy the beauty of the mountains, the smell of pine trees, and an awful lot of mosquitos.
We've taken our own children to this retreat before. Frankly, they didn't grow an instant love for the little cottage in the trees. But they are a generation raised on spacious bathrooms, microwave dinners, and Wii playsystems. The idle pastimes available at Mack's Inn in the early nineteen hundreds -- and still the main attractions -- have a hard time getting their attention. This is why it is an ideal spot for family outings and family reunions. There is really nothing better to do than turning off your smart phone, staring at your family, and saying, "Now what?"
Don't get me wrong, this Nature-land is about 20 minutes south of West Yellowstone and the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Gorgeous. You should go. And if you want to rent a teeny, tiny crash pad, and you are neurotically clean, my family might offer you a great rate. (But don't hold your breath.) And if you get all excited and decide to visit, remember your mosquito repellent, citronella candles, and long pants or you might just get carried away.
PS -- There's a remarkably sturdy swing set. Built because you can't tell grandkids you are going to Island Park and then not have swings.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
1. Never let anyone take a picture of you jumping on a trampoline. (Believe me, even children look old whilst jumping on a tramp.)
2. Never, and I do mean never let anyone who is holding a camera talk you into sitting on a swing. They will take your picture, and that is a big FAT no-no.
Seriously people, seeing your butt in a swing is a little like seeing your butt in a backless bar stool. Do yourself a favor, sit at a table in a bar and look at everyone else's butts at the bar. You will NEVER sit at the bar again. I'm just saying.
Strategically cropped, and still woefully unflattering.
Friday, July 8, 2011
Our family vacation began with a 10+ hour drive through some of the most uninteresting part of God's green earth. Seriously, next to the Akmola Province of Kazakhstan, Wyoming is up there.
So it was nice of my parents to arrange for us to meet a herd of miniature horses and a donkey. This is screaming for me to make jack ass jokes. But, I can't.
Anyway, the mini horses were a hit. More so with one of our adorable nieces -- Claire -- but my boys mustered up the "that's cute" gene just long enough to feed the little things some hay. Which leads me to a kid-ism from the drive.Somewhere along the way we passed a pastoral scene replete with cows and hay bales. When we pointed out what was in the field outside his window Mason started to scream, in escalating tones, "Hey, Hay!" I believe this is called, making a connection. Very amusing to observe.