I went to Fiske Pond today with the dogs, indulging in a leisurely walk. Usually, the winter snow would have turned to ice by now, lasting till spring and preventing easy access in the woods. But we’re having warm days and the snow has melted, giving us more walking options this January. The pond itself, on the other hand, was frozen solid.
While I finally tested negative for covid yesterday, Lori, my housemate, is down with it big-time, manifesting in a bad cold and, in her words, the feeling that nothing is worth doing. That, more than anything, is what I experienced when I was down with it. I had no desire to go anywhere or do anything even when I managed to get out of bed. In a funny way, I enjoyed that, almost as if I needed permission to stop everything, including dog walks. Covid gave me that permission.
As of today, I’m allowed, by CDC guidelines, to mix with people even without a mask, but I’m still giving it one more day of house seclusion. Tomorrow, it’s back to the world. Unless I get rebound covid.
“Rebound covid? I hope that’s the name of a basketball game.”
“I’m afraid not, Aussie. Some people get covid again quickly after healing, most don’t. I guess I’ll find out this week.”
“You mean, more days with no walks or drives, more days without SHOPPING?”
“You always take me inside the Farmers Co-op when you go there to get lamp oil, gardening supplies, and food for me.”
“I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that, Auss. You cannot lick the treats and bones that they leave out there.”
“Of course I can, why else do they leave them in those bins right above the floor, if not for a starving, emaciated dog like me?”
“Aussie, they’re meant to be picked up by humans and put in a shopping cart.”
“The big birdseed bags right by the entrance are meant to be picked up and put in a shopping cart by humans, not the braided treats, the premium jerky sticks and the bacon crunchies. Those are right there by my nose, what am I supposed to do, ignore them?”
“Exactly. Ignore them. When I say Leave it, you leave it, Auss!”
“What is it with you Buddhists? You’re obsessed with leaving things.”
“We say, let it go.”
“I’m not a Buddhist and I’m not leaving anything. In fact, for 2023, the sky’s the limit. That’s my resolution for 2023: Gimmee, gimmee, gimmee. I’m not leaving anything, I want everything!”
“Aussie, when you have so much without letting go you get confused.”
“Ever notice what happens to you when a few things occur all at the same time? When you have food in your bowl and someone rings the front door or the garage door opens, or our neighbors walk on the road above the house? You don’t know where to go or what to do first. That’s because you haven’t learned how to leave it!”
“I have abandonment issues.”
“I can’t bear to abandon food, dogs, strangers, or treats. It gets me anxious, reminds me of when I didn’t have anything to leave, ever. I was a stray north of Houston, Texas, lonely, uncared for, hungry. At that time I decided that if my life ever changed, I’d never leave anything again. I could obey all commands—Sit! Stay! Let’s go! Car! Food!—but never Leave it!”
“Aussie, I’m so sorry. I had no idea.”
“I was traumatized, I tell you! Not to mention the trip up here in a cage with lots of other cages containing dogs that barked and whined and cried and farted. It was like the trains full of Jews going to Auschwitz!”
“It was not, Aussie. Those were crates, not cages.”
“You mean, there’s a difference?”
“And those trips are often handled by dog-loving volunteers who make stops to take you out and give you food. Why, or why is every trauma nowadays compared to Jews at Auschwitz? Next thing you’ll tell me is that you’re wearing a yellow star on your collar.”
“Trauma is trauma!”
“And look at where you ended up—New England, where so many people want dogs that the shelters have very few and we have to bring them up here from down South. Where you get two meals a day, all the downstairs chairs and sofas for bedding, with an enormous yard, not to mention a sweet little pooch like Henry for company.”
“A Chihuahua! Another immigrant! I tell you, this world is a sad place, with misery and trauma everywhere. Except for one place.”
“Our home, Aussie?”
“No, the Farmer’s Co-op, with those yummy-smelling bones and treats right at nose-level, just begging for a lick. I’m not leaving them, hear that, Buddhist?”
“Have you noticed, Aussie, that that’s the gluten-free section? That all the dog biscuits and treats in those baskets are either gluten-free or vegan?”
“Then I’m converting. Watch me leave it as soon as you give the order. BUT ONLY IN THE GLUTEN FREE SECTION!”
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