Thursday, February 26, 2009


I just let Azalea out into the cold snowy night. She's old, so she doesn't go far. I worry someday she won't come back. Then I'll have to suit up and head out there to find her in the dark. I know I'm 38 but it feels like a grown up's job to decide when its time for a beloved dog to go. I don't know if I'm up for it. Well, I know I have to be, but I want to do right by her. Rob thinks she knows she's mortal, that she's aware there is an end. I don't know. I have no idea what goes on in that head, in that soul.

She's been with us for 14 years, since she could fit in my pocket. I am accustomed to her presence in ways I don't even fathom. The girls love her, their fox-like brown dog. She catches snowballs, she chases the sled, now sometimes she wipes out and her back legs splay. She can't get up. She cries as she slides and she cries when I go pick up her hind part. I feel panic. Then as she walks away, wobbly, I feel like we're both a bit embarrassed.

I've checked for her twice now and she's not there. I know she'll come to the door when she's ready. She's so totally deaf now, it's not worth calling for her.

I know I can deal with alot of emotional and physical intensity because I am a labor and delivery nurse. I think I'm pretty tough, but in some ways it seems like Azalea is the grown-up. I don't want to be watching her age and decline faster than me. She is solid, content, accepting, protective of her boundaries and loving. All things I strive to be.
I check again and there she is. Looking up at me as I open the door, thundering up the stairs and bounding into the living room on old legs because she knows it's time for a bone and a sleep by the woodstove.
Good dog.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Don't be a Muggle!

is a plea from Steven King's On Writing, which I mentioned in my first post. It comes to me frequently. Even now I was just thinking maybe I'd head to bed after a teeth flossing. The children are sweetly sleeping and Rob is out of town visiting his brother. But I'm no muggle, so here I am starting to write at 10:05pm.

We ran out of heating oil last night and I'm still feeling a bit bruised from it. The balance of homelife and work feels strained by our need for more money. I felt so ashamed when Rob called me last night at work to say, "Could we be out of oil? It's freezing." I'm the chick in charge of money in our house. Rob gets a terribly strained look on his face whenever we talk about it so it ends up being my job. I had to call a friend and have her drop off wood at our house in the cold dark at 9pm when she got home (We just used up the last of our three cords of wood for the new wood stove last week, nice.)

Home was cozy when I arrived at 1 am after work. Oil arrived today and someone bled the air from the system; all thanks to my credit card that I had vowed to never use again. I felt like a failure, someone who can't pay her bills and keep her family warm. I wondered about my hopeful magical belief in the world; my desire to write and play the violin, and felt a bit like chiding myself. "Why do you kid yourself? The world isn't magical and warm; it doesn't give a shit about you or anyone. Get back to work and stop staring up at the sky looking for a sign." I prayed for some help, some light as I went about my day.
Lily came home and wrote out a song she sings at school.
"Margarie go feed the Black Sow all on a misty morning..." she sang to me in her sweet high voice. It made me cry with delight! It was magic!
And then I did a week's worth of grocery shopping in less than an hour, also amazing.

I learned it is very difficult for me to ask for help. It was so uncomfortable making the phone calls and asking dear friends for wood. Today the woman who broke wood from her frozen woodpile told me she overcame a fear of being outside alone at her house. She pointed her truck lights at the woodpile and made herself be brave, "I can't let Katherine's girls be cold tonight." My other friend said I could borrow money from her tax return, which I won't, but it was very sweet.

By tonight I felt more held in the world.

I get the Pause for Beauty email from Heron Dance (here is the blog address)

and I thought back to this quote from this week's email.

that, for me, describes the struggle between our inner muggles and wizards.

May the wizards win!

"Often I have tried the frightening way of "reality,"Where things that count are profession, law, fashion, finance,But disillusioned and freed I fled away alone To the other side, the place of dreams and blessed folly."
—Hermann Hesse, excerpted in Issue 56