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Into Each Life...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

To my readers: I try to keep this blog a happy place, a place you can go to get away from everyday life. As Chekhov said, "Any idiot can face a crisis; it is this day-to-day living that wears you out."
But into each life some crisis must fall. I'll tell you now, it all works out OK in the end. But it wasn't any fun, no fun at all when it was happening. It's taken me awhile to arrive at the right spiritual place to post it, so these photos will look lush to you, now that the trees have given up all their leaves. Here it is.

I guess I should write about this now, since it woke me up at 2 AM and keeps replaying in my head.

Yesterday, my friend Dave called and suggested we take the dogs for a hike. He’s got a cattle dog named Cooper and a huge blue Weimeraner named Phoenix.

Though they’re nice, calm dogs, Chet has always acted like a jerk to them. Even the perfect dog has flaws, and Chet's Achilles' heel is his Napoleon complex. I hoped that if they were on neutral ground, things would go better. I want Chet to be able to interact with other dogs without being such a little putz, always posturing, hackles raised, trying to dominate a dog four times his weight and volume. Thing is, the little cuss gets away with it. His bluster usually works. Which would be fine, if he would ever stop blustering. No. He has to prove his superiority over and over. I find myself wishing sweet, timid Phoenix would open up a can of whup-ass once, so Chet will stop all the foolishness. I hate being on tenterhooks, always keeping an eye on my uppity little dog, hoping he doesn’t get himself in trouble with the others.

These thoughts and others in my head, we drove about 22 miles into the Ohio backcountry, and the autumn leaves were blazing, so beautiful, whirling up in a fairy sparkle wake behind Dave’s car as we followed.

One of my favorite barns, for its deep maroon patina.

The church at Dalzell.

The gaily-painted general store and canoe livery along Route 26.

Phoebe, an erstwhile Twilight fan, making a quizzical face as I force her to pose next to an evocative headstone. This one's for Zoey and Trixie.

Delicious country curves.

The hiking spot has a big sandstone cave, a sinkhole, really, and a natural bridge, and it sounded like something we all ought to experience. Note the back of Liam's pants. It was very steep, and there's little my kids love more than going down steep slopes on their butts. Ehh, that's why they call them playclothes.

As we passed the first covered bridge on our route, there was a Canada goose, just hit, lying in the road. It was such an odd, odd place for a Canada goose. Its neck was bent in a C, and it was gasping hard, and there were feathers everywhere, and I found myself thinking, “Oh, God, I hope it’s dying, because I don’t want to pick it up and deal with it; I don’t want to have to wring its neck, because that’s a really big bird and it would be hard to do.” These are the things that run through your head when you are compelled to help; when you can't look the other way. Hard to do, both physically and emotionally, to wring a neck like that. We turned in to have a look at the bridge and by the time we got out the goose’s neck was slumped and it was still. I thanked the gods of nature and death that I didn't have to intervene. I just wanted to go for a hike with my kids and my dog today. We drove on.

We parked at the trailhead and the dogs leapt out of the car and, as I’d barely dared hoped, became instant friends on this neutral ground. Chet tried a couple of times to muscle Phoenix and Cooper but there were too many interesting smells and too many miles to race, so he gave up presenting his not-that-impressive profile and brought up the rear as the bigger dogs galumphed up and down the trail.

His wide Boston terrier grin told me he was having fun.

Tomorrow: Chet's fall.


A cliffhanger!?!?! This is so suspenseful! There will be many browser refreshings tomorrow evening.

Hoping Chet is ok...

AAAAACK!! None of us will get any sleep tonight!!!

Yikes! My chest was tight and I realized at the end I'd been holding my breath...Hoping all is well (sorry for the goose but glad the situation was taken out of your hands), and/or will be well.

All is well, fear not. Chet Baker is fine throughout and it all turns out well. But this is an emotional hogchoker for me, and there are a ton of images, and I need more than one post to tell it. Coming here day after day, sometimes I would imagine it's easy to forget the time and care and hours, literally, that go into every post. First, you've got to live it and photograph it. Then you've got to upload and edit photos. Then, upload the photos to the blog while writing and designing the post. Blowing it all in one go would be nicer for the reader, but it buys me another day and gets me through a weekend to split it up. He's fine. He's fine. But he does scare the daylights out of us.

No!!!! My heart was beating fast throughout this post, and now I have to wait to find out what happened. Argh! I'm glad Chet is fine.

Oh My God. Some posts are like chapter books. I get this. He's OK.

There was a post you wrote two years ago about a walk with Shila and Chet where he forged ahead into bull territory... I am reminded of it here.

And I like Liam's pants. I spent the first 10 years of my life looking like that and now I'm wearing them again ;-)

Hoping it's just mud, Mare. :-0

Mine usually look like that, too. Ahh, photography. I heard someone quote a nature photography instructor who said if your pants don't get dirty when you're photographing wildflowers, you aren't doin' it right.

Just as long as he hasn't blown out a cruciate ligament or something similarly dire...

Be well, little Chetbean.

And you're a mean lady to make us all chew our nails this way, Mether.


Posted by Anonymous November 18, 2009 at 7:12 PM

Aw geez, here we go. Even though I know "Meet" John Doe," The "Wizard of Oz" and "E.T."turn out just fine, that doesn't keep me from fretting and sobbing along the way.

And boy, do I know from being wired to help, from chasing a purse snatcher several blocks in an unfamiliar neighborhood -- and it wasn't even my purse. Or picking up and getting bitten by a cat someone coming in the opposite direction had just hit; four weeks and $800 later, I found him a loving home. But sometimes the ending isn't at all happy -- but it has to be done. I don't like doing it, but I couldn't live with myself if I didn't get involved.

Ok, I can't sleep tonight and so I'm catching up here. Now it's 2:53am and I'll NEVER get back to sleep, wondering what happened.

I know how scary it can be when dogs get themselves into a dangerous situation. We had an unusual flooding here years ago and our lab was allowed to swim in the big ditch. I didn't realize how strong the current was and it started pulling her into the culvert under the road. Big and strong as she was, she couldn't fight it. Kneeling in water up to my waist and hoping the edge wouldn't crumble under me, I managed to snag her by one ear (she was submerged by this point) and pull up her up. Full grown lab and I did that-now I know how adreneline rushes enable people to lift up cars. If she'd gone under, no doubt the branches and debris in the culvert would have caught her and she'd have drowned under our feet. She's been gone 3 years now and I still have replays in my head about that day.

So sorry for the goose, but so relieved it wasn't one of the dogs. I can'tgive proper sadness for the goose, because my fears were headed in a more tragic direction.

So sorry for the goose.

I reread the first paragraph and you do say it turns out alright but, as Anonymous said, that was pretty mean ;-). Seriously, I was sucked right in from the beginning and read (apparently too quickly), looking for a happy ending. A testimony to your writing skills!

We have a lot of dogs, so there are squabbles now and then--often instigated by our smallest, a (drumroll...) terrier. When I run out to see who's doing what to whom, it's often big brother sitting on her while she screams bloody murder.

Glad we don't have to wait several months after that cliffhanger ending to find out what happened!

Loves me my Catbird. I'll never forget crouching on a curve of a country highway in a pouring rain, bashing a mortally paralyzed car-squished but still living squirrel in the head with a rock, while wearing a mint-green dress suit, on my way to a luncheon. Don't mind the squirrel blood on my pumps. Had to attend to something on my way here...Mind if I wash my hands before we sit down?

Holly, please tell me that this didn't keep you up all night. Please tell me you were up anyway (I'm with ya, girl!) And I'm sorry to have brought back that awful, awful memory of pulling your Lab out of a culvert by her ear. But thank you so much for sharing it. What a freakin' incredible story. And we've all learned a little something about the physics--the incredible acceleration and pull-- of a lot of water going through a narrow passage. I'm so glad Chet isn't drawn to water.

Love can make you WonderWoman, can't it?

I have to admit I saw the title, first few words of the post and the photo and raced down to the end to see what aweful thing must have happened to Chet Baker. I was glad to see it turns out alright, but wish I had been more careful and read through from the beginning! My heart is still racing at the thought of what might have been. The nation awaits for the next part of the story.

I lovingly refer to Franklin as the son I never had. The perennial eight-year old, jumping in leaf piles, frolicking through mud puddles, diving face first into the snow bank.
Getting into trouble, or needing a hand to get back out of it, the immediate pull on the heart strings.

(glad you told us Baker's ok--I can wait for the details)

You know what the best part of this is so far? All the wonderful comments that follow. I'll lay awake at night gnashing my teeth at the idiocy and selfishness of humankind, then something like this will remind me that there's more togetherness in the world than I realize. Thanks, all.

OK--Julie--you are moving into Charles Dickens' territory.
Word has it that Americans lined the docks to meet the ships as they came in with updates of "The Old Curiosity" shop--yelling, Is Little Nell dead?
Don't do this to your readers!

Narf narf narf. Just wanted to see if y'all were still paying attention.

: - D


tune in this afternoon

I'm glad you told us in advance that he was OK. These kinds of things are what makes your hair turn gray.

Posted by Anonymous November 19, 2009 at 7:46 AM
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