Letter From New York August 16, 2014

Sitting snuggled in the cottage, the weather reports inform us that we are about fifteen degrees cooler than normal this year, a situation not many are regretting.  It feels a bit like early fall, a feeling coming a bit too early for me.  I stopped today to buy some wine for the cottage and all of us at the wine store agreed it was too early to be thinking of fall.  I will be thinking summer until it is officially fall – only then will I surrender this glorious summer to the past.

This weekend I am babysitting Marcel, a fourteen year old miniature poodle, who has claimed the settee in the entry way as “Marcel Land” and from their reigns over my household while his real humans, Lionel and Pierre, are away in Atlantic City for a work related weekend of frivolity.  In their absence, I am watching over this very fussy animal, who refuses dog food and waits to be delighted by a variety of human foods.  Last night I won him over with honey ham, sprinkled with cheese.  I tried that again this morning; he was having none of it.  So I went to the local deli and got him chicken, which has pleased him today.

At fourteen, he feels he has earned the right to be picky and all of us around him attempt to indulge that pickiness.  He is, after all, fourteen which translates to something like 98 in dog years.  He’s pretty spry for 98.  We went for a half hour walk this morning, exploring my yard then walking across the street to his yard, where we spent some time.  Today he did not go to the front door and look at it longingly, as if to say:  why am I not going in to my own house?  He came quietly back with me today, tacitly acknowledging that my home was his home for right now.

Not really a dog person, I did understand this morning walking Marcel why a morning dog walk can be good for a human too.  It gave me some minutes to clear my head and to focus on something other than my own concerns.  I was attentive to Marcel, to another living being, while I gathered my morning wits about me, sipping my first cup of coffee as we walked our immediate neighborhood.

Work life is quieting down, time is being given me for reflection, a slowing down of everything, so that I can gather myself together to face the next flurry of activity which will eventually come.  This time is, I suspect, a bit like taking a long dog walk.

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