It is October! And I felt it in the air this morning while taking Merle out.
Well, actually, I have been feeling it in the air for a few days now and it has been just slightly, ever so slightly clicking up. Not just because we have now hit October 1st. You can only really feel it at dawn and dusk and if you try hard, throughout the morning. That soft, drier air. It has a different feel. A different smell. It makes me giddy inside. Just downright giddy, I tell you. For the change in more than just temperatures. For freshness. For the setup of the reason for THE season. The reflections of the past seasons and the ones to come. You know how I get this time of year.
I have been out of the state for work for a few days drilling a well. With how busy and ‘full’ life has been the last few months, I was not looking forward to having to be away from home and my Merle. As it happens, like it always does, my eyes were opened while I was away. I was driving myself to dinner after my sift was over one night when I was caught in awe.
I was headed into the sunset down an old, old road that had been long cut through the tall pine trees of the rich timber country. I first noticed the way the light was forming the sunset and the time of day. It made me realize how the days have been getting shorter and the sunsets earlier, and earlier. Then I noticed the ever glow of the golden color of the rays. They were clear rays that bounced off of everything they touched, illuminating anything in contact, but at the same time, my eyes could not tell the difference from one to the other. How they shone between the trunks and the long shadows they created. The rays were seemingly suspended there, caught in that moment and time. Still. I like to think of them being captivated, much like I was. Rewarding me for seeing them. There was promise held in that golden light suspended in those trees.
The camera could not see what I was seeing.
It made me even more excited for fall and what is to come.
My cousin and I have already done an ‘all the fall things’ cooking session. She made a pumpkin chili and I made a pumpkin toffee dump cake. Um. GOOD. We have even picked more things to make for another fall evening and I can not wait. The date is not even on the books yet. Nothing gets me more excited for this time of year.
Sister K texted me yesterday reminding me that tomorrow (meaning today) was October 1st. Which really only means one thing. That we can start playing Christmas music. I know, I know, settle down. We will only play it for ourselves and BIL T, don’t worry. She is married to him so he has to listen (joking!). I promise to not share any Christmas music here until December.
There is another thing about this time of year. The thing that makes me the absolute giddiest of all giddy. If you have been around here for a little while you might be able to guess. It is something that happens for a week every October. A week that I live for. Now that my work commitments are complete (and I can feel myself breathe again) and we are in this fine fall month of October, I am thinking of nothing else.
Walk in love, dear readers, and do enjoy this fall! Embrace the change and allow it to happen like the change of the seasons.
You know what it is going to be? Alright. Everything is going to be alright.
I used to hate it when sister K would say that. Mostly because she would say, “you know what it is going to be?! Fine.” Something about that ‘fine’ word would just…stick…stick in my craw, you know? Still does as a matter of fact.
Maybe you don’t know what I mean, but I do. Trust me.
Do you need to hear that everything is going to be alright right now? I have been, so I am going to tell you. I know I am not alone and neither are you!
Let me tell you how and why I know everything is going to be alright.
I could go on and on with a multitude of reasons, but I will just limit it to the reasons my eyes have been shown as of late.
So today (it would be today, such a Monday thing to do), pretty much just now, I started some laundry. Do you feel the bad omen? One of my sets of bed sheets if you must know. Also if you must know, they have been sitting on my bedroom floor acting as a play mat for Merle covered in toys (his doing, not mine) waiting to be washed for a week (some good adulting right there, let me tell you), but let us not speak of that.
Back to the story. Said sheets are now in the machine. We, Merle and I, are going about our business about to go on a walk when I walk in to the kitchen (that is where my washing machines live) and I see suds streaming down the face of the washer onto the tile floor. I told you there was a bad omen. Apparently I got overzealous with the soap. Admittedly, this is not the first time this has happened.
I curse myself for not being more careful AGAIN and stomp off to the front door with Merle confused (after trying to lick up the aforementioned soap suds) and running after me. We left the sorted mess to be dealt with later. After our walk and after I run an extra rinse cycle.
I opened the door and it was hot and humid and so very muggy. I roll my eyes and just start walking. Eventually at some point down the street I looked up and saw a beautiful rainbow. Not bold and distinct and in your face like you might think, but subtle and quiet and soft, just like its message (hardy har har). A, “hey, you, yes you. Open your eyes and see. Forget about all that other stuff and see all your blessings.”
I could not help but smile. Then I started to notice the after rain blue sky. The green green grass as a result of all these rains. The beauty in the aftermath.
I took a deep breath and knew it was all alright.
Every day I come home to this (as in that. That puppy up there with the toys) little orange and white puppy named Merle. This little Merle just explodes with unconditional love the second he sees me. A kind of love us mere humans can barely fathom or even hope to express. His tail wags so fast I can not even see it. He has his own smile and language. He tries so hard not to use his teeth on me because he knows he is not supposed to, even though he still does sometimes. I love this little pup and he makes my heart smile even if I still shed tears at the slight passing thought of my Darcy girl.
I stumbled upon these pictures of her the other day and just could not keep it together.
I got angry and down right mad to be honest. Then that little mighty Merle came and plopped himself in my lap and looked up at me with those dark, soulful eyes as deep as the biggest ocean while he pressed his body and head against me. Just like Darcy would sometimes do.
I knew in that moment Merle was meant to be mine at this time and that everything was going to be alright.
Even if I am not over Darcy (which. I do not think I ever really will fully be). Even if Merle is a slower learner. Even if he is worlds beyond smarter than me. Even if he is into and chewing everything. He is a puppy and that is what they do! And you want to know what? He loves my travel bag, just like Darcy. And he loves to sleep on my feet, just like Darcy.
He lets me know everything is going to be alright.
Two weekends ago Lito and I went to ride with friends. I woke up early to feed, load, and hit the road not too long after sunrise to beat the coming heat. We were greeted with a full moon and a clear, starry sky. There was a slight ‘chill’ in the air. I could see the fog not too long off down the valley and the way it reflected the moonlight. I could see the long moonlit shadows of the pecan and oak trees. I could smell the distant aroma of the previous night’s cooking fire.
The sights and smells stirred up a lot of feelings and emotions. Excitement for the day to come with my boy. Joy and anticipation in the change of seasons. The end of summer and the beginning of fall. The excitement and promise of the future and things to come. The small feelings of that moment and how they reflect the bigger picture of life.
I knew in that moment, walking to the barn to feed with Merle at my feet that everything was going to be alright.
Then there is this guy. This guy right here. I am not sure I can even find the words to express the feelings and emotions and I do not even know what. The gratitude and the love. The pride.
I have written some about our struggles over the last year and a half. The difficulties and set backs and trials. The ‘phase’ my Lito has been in. I just stopped writing about it after a while, just trying to give it time to play out and for him to come around. Giving him his time and not putting more energy into the situation. And because honestly, I did not understand it. I raised this horse. He was a consummate professional from the minute he was born until this whole thing started. It was not ‘supposed’ to be like this.
I do not think understanding it is the point. I think the point was and is to let it go (go figure that one there!). To just accept him where he is and the situation and let it be. Give him his time and work through it and allow our relationship to be better than it was before. And I really think it is. I am not going to say we are completely over it, but man oh man, we have come so far. And getting even better every day.
Just being in his presence lets me know everything is going to be alright.
That is a lot of words for tonight, especially after my prolonged silence. I suppose that is the natural way of things! There has been a lot going on and yet, at the same time, not much going on.
I know I have already said thank you, but I really do appreciate y’all. More than anything, I want each and every one of y’all to know everything is going to be alright. This I know.
Sometimes life just is not fair and we do not understand it. Stuff happens. Or does not happen. No matter what, everything is going to be alright. AHAmoment. Trust me. Take a very deep breath and hold it. Have faith. Pause. Have faith. Then slowly, very slowly let it out. Have faith. Being completely aware of every molecule and how your body reacts. Have faith. Where those molecules go. Have faith. Rinse and repeat.
Then see and count your blessings. Blessing number one is the fact that you are awake and breathing. Open your eyes and see and feel the rest. There are so many.
Everything is going to be alright.
Tell me, how do you know everything is going to be alright?
I was outside with Merle after I got home from work yesterday when I heard what I thought was distant thunder roll. I looked up at the sky to some gray clouds and then down at the patch of grass Merle was standing in. I thought to myself not for the first time how crunchy and dry it looked. How it felt under my bare feet. How it might feel on Merle’s puppy paws, without the wear and tear of running and dog life, all brand new and soft.
We really needed some rain. I might have said as much out loud as Merle took care of his business, likely looking at me with a cocked glance as only a dog can do.
It made me think on how wet this past fall and winter were. All the grass growth we got because of that. How things have seemed to change so much since then. I shut the door behind us as the first drop of blessed rain fell from the sky on the hot, concrete walk that leads to my front door. I sure hate when good rain is wasted on concrete.
I turned around to look out the window and watched as more drops came down. Then the sky opened up on that dry grass. A smile sneaked up on my face even if I did not want it to be there, and not just because the weather now seemingly matched my mood. It was a doozey of a day that smacked and whacked me around a bit in a lot of ways.
My girl would have been six years old today.
You know how you avoid certain days on the calendar, even though you believe that every day is just a day like any other? Yesterday was one of those days. I tried to avoid it like the plague. Try as I might to stop time, it came rolling on by, as it does.
I miss her like I would miss, oh I don’t know, my arm? Something more than significant. I really and truly do not have the words. It is still a punch in the gut when I think about it. Which, I try not to. I still get mad about it, the whole thing.
But, you know what? I have this little guy.
I also have his big brother. And his big brother’s mother.
They make everything all OK. No matter what. They are always there with unconditional love. They are my blessings.
8:30 AM rolled on in on time while I was working. My phone rang. It was my horse vet. They were scheduled to be out there to give some vaccines and check teeth. It was too early for a call, but I knew what it was about.
It was his time. I had been waiting for it. Watching its glacial pace, giving him his time. I told him goodbye the evening before, like I have been doing the past several weeks. I thanked him. I told him that it was OK, that he could go if he was ready.
He was down when my vet got there. We decided it was best to help him on his way. Certainly a hard thing to do, but it is also too the easiest thing to do.
He was the last of the originals. The third horse we ever got. It is the end of an era it feels.
Funny how it seems certain days seem to really stack on the things. Mix in some more life things in there and it can get pretty heavy. Lay it on me if you’ve got it.
After that much needed evening rain storm passed, a full rainbow shone against the dark sky in full glory. They say we will have a break from triple digit temperatures the next few days.
Red wine and chocolate pie, anyone?
Today is a new day, as they say. AHA moment. Start fresh and clean, like the rainbow shining above your head. Look up. Take a breath or ten, and make them deep. Make them count. Say a prayer. If you messed up yesterday, it is OK. Make it right today and tomorrow. See the blessings around you. They are there and they are plenty.
There are sometimes things that happen in this earthly life that we do not understand, and it is likely that we will never know why on this side. This will most probably go at the top of that list.
A week ago tomorrow, I looked at my Doolittle and I knew it was time for me to let go. In the way that people always say it happens.
I had done everything up to that point to keep her comfortable and she told me that it was no longer enough, but more meds did not mean living. I did everything I could to slow if not stop this freight train, but I found it had no brakes.
I could go on in details, and I will privately for anyone that is in the same position if it would be helpful, but I do not want that here. I do not want that on her remembrance.
So. I did the only thing I could do for her. The last, greatest and hardest gift I could give her. To set her free. To let her go home free of pain and suffering. To let her be happy.
My mom drove us out to the farm that Friday afternoon where my Pops was waiting. It was threatening to rain and the clouds were growing darker. We took one last short walk in the pasture to greet the horses. Darcy was not much up for it, but I needed them. My Lito buried his head in my chest and Cheetah looked at me in that way only a special mare can. In that knowing way.
We sat on the porch and watched a light rain sprinkle and dry before our eyes while we waited.
The vet and tech arrived and they were as kind and nice as they could be. It was all very calm and peaceful. There were a lot of tears.
Then the most amazing thing happened. I have no words to explain it other than I know it was God. Those dark and threatening clouds parted in the very moment that Darcy left this earth and the sun shone through so very bright and strong. The intensity I felt I have never known and I can not describe in words. I could do nothing but smile up through my tears.
I carried her down to her final resting place with the others on the far side of the pond, under a great Pecan tree. I dipped her paws in the pond one last time so she could be farm dirty like she is supposed to be.
Back up at the house, I sat on the porch with my parents looking down the valley. I found myself looking through a heart shaped hole in the leaves of an oak tree with the sun twinkling and winking through.
I do not know how I did it other than I knew that was what I had to do.
She loved unconditionally. She more than spread joy everywhere she went, she was the living embodiment of it. An example to be made. She taught me about life and perspective. She taught me more than I could write about, here or otherwise. She was independent as heck fire and tough as nails, but she was also supremely sensitive, perceptive, and gentle. She was unabashedly herself. She was Darcy. She was my wingpup.
She was more than just a dog.
I may not know much or why, but I do know where she is, who she is with, and where she will be waiting, putting her own spin on that angel band up there in the sky. I have no doubt that her great spirit was needed for His good. Even if it does feel like a double barrel kick in the guts. Even if it does feel at times like my heart might not even be there anymore. I am so grateful to have had her for those almost six years.
I want to thank all the vets and techs who have worked so hard to help and comfort us through all of this. My Pops who called and arranged everything because neither my Mom or I could do it, both of them for being there for us in the moment, and my whole family for checking in on me. And, I think most importantly, the vet and tech who met us out at the farm to do the job. I can not thank them enough for just being them. I do not have the words to thank you properly. Just, thank you.
Interestingly enough, this poem popped up today.
Get your tissues out, you will need more than one.
If it should be that I grow frail and weak
And pain does keep me from my sleep,
Then will you do what must be done
For this – the last battle – can’t be won.
You will be sad I understand
But don’t let grief then stay you hand.
For on this day, more than the rest
Your love and friendship must stand the test.
We have had so many happy years,
You wouldn’t want me to suffer so.
When the time comes, please let me go.
Take me to where my needs they’ll tend,
Only, stay with me till the end.
And hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time you will agree
It is a kindness you do to me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I have been saved.
Don’t grieve that it must now be you
Who has to decide this thing to do.
We’ve been so close – we two – these years,
Don’t let your heart hold any tears.
Yes, me. Your long lost friend. Hi, ya. I have missed y’all!
How is it May? And how has it been two weeks since I have written you? Not sure how that quite happened. It was not intentional, that is for dang sure. I have not fallen off the face of the earth. Maybe you wish I had! Anyway, it is not for lack of goings ons.
There has just been a lot of life going on over here in my world. Now is not the time for that though.
Not to worry and they say worrying is fruitless anyhow (spoiler alert, it is true). God has it all and me. And you. This I know with great conviction. He has been ever present throughout it all and is still here.
I will do my best to get back to writing to y’all regularly, but in the meantime, enjoy some photos of the past couple of weeks.
Life and time go on, man. It is how you use it. How you live it. How you share it. AHAmoment. Taking each and every day to be better than you were the day before. Letting God work through you for the blessings of others.
Walk in love, dear readers!
Work trips are not all that bad.
But being at the farm is better. Especially to catch the moon setting in the morning.
I do, I love you.
Getting our steps in.
Easter eve yoga for the Darcy dog.
A new view.
Easter morning sunrise.
Tuners with all the words to say.
Cooking is always a good idea. It is good for the soul. Roasted red pepper soup from scratch. Pretty dang good.
Until next time…which will be soon! I am spending the weekend with some of my best friends riding horses here in the great state! Even if it rains, it will be a grand time!
Do not think too hard now. You will think right on past the answer quicker than you could drive through a one stop light town.
Do you have an idea? I will give you a few more moments to ponder.
It is not quite as difficult as you may think.
Alright, I will tell you.
Love and laughter.
AHAmoment. Simple as that.
Everyone understands them. No matter what kind of words you speak or don’t speak. Every being gets them. Especially animals. They know them better than us. Which is why having animals in our lives makes us better humans. Better communicators.
Go walk in love and laughter, dear readers! Have a happy Friday.
He got you, didn’t he? Sneak attack, I know. I bet it just made you smile though. Even if you were trying not to.
Any kiss from a Lito Man will do that, but a kiss from an awkward and gangley baby Lito will especially do it.
I just love that guy.
I have been able to wake up at the farm these last two days because of the cold snap we got. You know, feeding and blanketing and shoveling poop. My other day job. There really is nothing like seeing the horses first thing in the morning to get you going on the right foot.
We are long overdue for a Daily Dose Of Cute over here!
I would also bet y’all are excited for me to quit being a broken record, talking only about how I have not been able to ride because of the rain and mud (literally I think that is all I ever say here these days). While that is all still true, this gal was actually able to ride this weekend! I even took my time grooming and braiding just because that is what I wanted to do.
“Excuse me, mom, I am the center of attention here, not Chance. Take my photo.”
“What are you doing up there?”
“Is this my best side?”
Lito clearly thinks this is his best side.
Now it is time for a little Darcy love. Darcy has the most love of all to give to everyone. All smiles and words of affirmation from that girl.
It was so foggy Saturday. We basically lived in a cloud for half of the day.
You may not know her in real life, but she smiles for real and talks for real. Maybe not in English, but she sure as heck knows the language. If not English than the language of love.
An unexpected surprise to me, our office was closed yesterday and I got an extra sunny day for some bareback play.
Cheetah was extra lovey.
Complete with molasses tub all over her face.
I also have a sunset for you. You know, just for good measure. You can never have too much animal cuteness and sunrises/sunsets.