Certain evenings at the farm, without any other people there, often bring back memories and make me miss a certain someone. Particularly when I am out walking in the pastures. I always have and always had, back then, a special buddy with me.
Two independent beings and kindred spirits, comfortable just being in the joined, shared silence that can only be had in that secure, comfortable way. They way of a life long relationship, but not needing all those years to get there. With that knowingness.
Glad and relieved for the lack of pressure and expectation, strolling through the pastures, not side by side, but not one in front either. Content just being present. In each other’s company. Accompanied only by the ambiance created by that country air and those country sounds. The breeze in the pecan trees, through the grass, and over the pond. The sun setting, ablaze with fire, and reflecting off the migrating ripples after the crash of a Bass on the surface. Likely preying on the recent hatch. The distant snort and swish of horse tails as the herd grazes. A cow mooing for her calf and the bull making his claim known to the neighboring herd. Backed up by the common clink of ice in a glass and the distant speaker playing real country music. The good kind. Old and new.
Something like this.
(Side note. Go treat yourself to this album. It is brand new, but as far as I can tell is as close to classic, old school country as it gets these days with a distinct modern arrangements. I am a sucker for all things steel, fiddle, and piano along with the guitar. I pre-ordered it a while back and so far it is great. I have been listening to Joshua Hedley for a while.) Now back to the story at hand. My buddy. The instigator of all these memories.
She had the luxury of being born out here. Well, right down the road technically, but close enough. As much a part of the landscape as the centuries old Live Oak up by the house.
My mother’s old Labrador Retriever, Annabelle.
There is just something about a Lab, isn’t there?
A gal pal after my own heart she was. Middle Sister, K feels the same way, if not more.
Even though she was not mine, we grew to have a very deep connection in her later years. Especially during what I call my “Lost Year.” The year between my undergrad and graduate school. Not knowing what to do with my life and having trouble finding a job using my degree. In the end I bucked up and applied for grad school and began that journey within the year. Sometimes it feels like I miss that year, but really I just fondly remember those nights at the farm with Annabelle.
We got her right before Oldest Sister, A went off to college.
We would go to the farm together about three times a week during that year. It was glorious. She was my gal pal. My farm buddy. She knew the plan before I did and would rally her old bones. I had to help her get into the car so we could go, but I also had to stop her from jumping out of the car and hurting herself when we would arrive. She would run as best as she could until she had to take a nap.
We would walk out in the pastures together at sundown. At length, we would eventually come to a stop. Annabelle would walk out a few paces in front, stop, take a big breath of that country air looking back at me, and then sit and gaze off into the distance, like only a wise dog can. Eventually, when it got close to dark, we would make our way back up to the house.
She was a great dog even though she rarely listened to anyone. We had to put her down while I was in graduate school and we were left with a big hole in our lives. I would never recommend being dogless if you can help it. It is awful. It was a good thing Darcy was on her way.
Dogs are such amazing creatures. They sure do leave their mark in their short time here on earth. It is a wonder to me how we handle having them in our lives and move on after they are gone. Yet at the same time, I could never imagine my life without a dog in it. What gifts they are. They seem to make us aware of how human we are. The remind us that we do not have all the time in the world. If only we could do as much good as a dog does in its lifetime in our own.
They are never ‘just a dog.’ Do you know what I mean?
Anyway, I just wanted to share Annabelle with you as I was thinking of her.
Walk in love, dear readers!