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Walking with Liam

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I feel the days when Liam is a little boy, home from school, slipping away. I treasure his impish presence in the house. I love his voice, his scent, the things he says. Today we took a long walk. He was grumpy and teary when we started, so I let him pick the route (he favors the Loop), and then settled back to watch the fields, woods and sunshine work their magic on his mood. He relaxed visibly, stopped fussing, and started to live. We stop a lot and drop into our own reveries, watching the sun sparkle on the creek.
Liam likes to hold conversations while we walk; in fact, he talks most of the time, but his voice is so soft and sweet that it's like music to me. I like asking him what he remembers from his early years.
"Liam, do you remember nursing?"
"Oh, yes."
"What was it like?"
"It was like taking a drink of water when you're 30 years old. Spicy water."
I had to suppress a hoot so as not to interrupt our conversation. But he comes out with stuff like that all the time, and it's all I can do not to laugh out loud. He's another universe unto himself. Quirky and strange and always original.
The rule in our family is that as long as you're wearing jeans, it's OK to slide down embankments on your rear. Liam goes out of his way to slide down embankments.
His nickname is King of the Woods. But every now and then the King of the Woods slips his warm little hand in mine and he's still a little boy. I know it won't be long before he'll have other things to do than hike with his mom, so I make it happen now.
Boston terriers aren't much for quiet reverie. Chet noses around in my pocket until he finds his leash and initiates a game of tug-0-war. The only brand of leash and collar that has survived such antics is Lupine Leads. They have a money-back guarantee, even if they're chewed. And they're gorgeous. So far, Chet has chewed four collars into oblivion, but his Lupine collar and leash are as good as new.
Liam and I sat on a wooded hillside watching Chet course back and forth. I never tire of watching his muscular, lithe trot. And when we're in the photographic zone together, he poses as if he were doing it for a living.
This is my favorite picture, though; it captures his springy strength and catlike grace. For as much as we love making over him and teaching him tricks, he's really happiest in the woods, following his nose, just being a dog.

The light today was so gorgeous--it has a springlike intensity now that's turning the maple twigs bright red against the blue, blue sky. The water maples in town are all blooming. Whee!
Spring starts for us in February; the signs are all around and stronger every day. Bill and I stood out on the deck talking tonight, catching up and looking into our future for a long time. We were hoping the woodcock would be back, but it was a silent twilight, the light draining from blue to orange in a line over the trees.


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