Thursday, June 2, 2011

Old Homesteads, New Marshes, and Blackbirds on the Wing

Buddy and I have decided to make a morning walk part of our day, a ritual, if you will. He was all for it. I needed more convincing. But, I'm glad we reached an agreement, not a compromise, an agreement. We Will go for a morning walk. He takes the lead with the leash in his mouth as though he's just the best little helper on the planet. At some point this walk turns into a run. His ears are flapping, big old smile on his face as he looks back over his shoulder to say, "Isn't this fun?  I told you you'd like a morning walk."

This morning our walk led us to my place near the river. Buddy spotted the water under the small foot bridge and wanted to jump in. I didn't let him, thinking how muddy he would be. Later, I realized I should have let him be a dog and have some fun. So tomorrow he gets to jump in. Should be interesting.

Down the road a piece, Buddy had to check out some smells that only he could smell along a deer path leading into a marshy area along the river. Wild columbine lined the path. We lingered there for a few minutes until all of Buddy's senses were sated, then moved on.

Just as we were going to turn back, I realized the small side road where we stood led to an old homestead. The road itself wound alongside a long-abandoned gravel pit. A marshy area was at the bottom of the pit and several red-winged blackbirds were taking off and landing among the rushes and cat tails. An entirely new little ecosystem had formed in this gravel pit. Buddy and I stood on the edge and watched. We held a silent conversation about time and birds and life's journey, just a few brief ideas held together in the silence, punctuated only by birdsong in the marsh below.

We walked further down this old road, with grass growing in the middle, leading to what must have been the home site at one time. We stood in the tall green grass and listened to the history of the place, the few simple kernels of truth that still exist there, left behind by those who once slept in their beds beneath the stars inside that old stand of cottonwoods. After a few minutes we both quietly turned and walked away, leaving them in peace.

On the way back, Buddy decided it was time to run again and so we ran. The wind was rising, the sun peeking out from behind the clouds only now and then. As we reached the edge of Lonewolf, we stopped and picked a few sprigs from the old lilac bush that stands sentry on the corner. Well, I picked. Buddy rolled around on the ground beneath it, delirious from the scent.

Now, he's all pooped out and sleeping at my feet, dreaming, no doubt, of lilacs and deer poop and blackbirds on the wing.


  1. Hello Teresa:
    We think, from afar, and not having to take part, that the daily walk is a lovely idea [certainly for Buddy] and if every day is to be as enjoyable as what you describe here, then you are set to have a new and exciting dimension [or routine] to your life.

    We love the image you use of 'listening to the history' of a place. Something we should all, perhaps, do a great deal more of.

  2. Walking with a canine can be very healthful Teresa. :-)

  3. That lovely little doggie has a wonderful life. I wish all dogs had that. Thanks for sharing, Teresa. And then he's out in the mud to-morrow. I wonder how you look after he comes jumping with joy to share the mud with you......... `)

  4. . . . and to think of what you might have missed if Buddy wasn't taking you for a walk. Don't you just love all these little moments? Our lilacs here are but a memory now, but, the bush peonies are about to open.

  5. He's Getting You Well Trained!

  6. Sounds like an excellent adventure! Except for the Budweiser and Clamato...blech!! But to each his own, I guess.

    You'll be glad you let him go in the water tomorrow. It's going to be very warm so I'll bet he dries off before you get back to Lonewolf. Be sure to let us know!

    The lilacs are lovely...ours got battered to death with the wind but there are a few still hanging on for dear life. I'm so glad I picked a couple of bunches before our windstorm.

  7. What a lovely walk, a gentle and sweet description, and something for tomorrow: a mud bath! Thank you for this beautiful post, Teresa. I felt as if I were there with you..

  8. It's fun damn it. Many times short excursions like this yield huge results.

  9. Our babies love a daily walk and it's so good for them (and us)...what a great adventure for Buddy. Your lilacs are simply beautiful. Mine have not done so well.

  10. Oh've created a monster...once you get a retriever used to this kind of fun walk you'll never get a break.. You'll have to go even when you don't really want to...cause that retriever will be looking at you with sad eyes and throwing guilt darts at you until you grab for the leash!
    I've had 2 golden retrievers....and they were relentless about their walks. The old girl used to just head out on the sidewalk all on her own if she was not given a walk...we'd see her walking her route all on her own if the kids mistakenly let her out the door.
    Please give that cute Buddy a hug for me...I sure do miss my goldens.

  11. I can almost smell those lilacs right from the page, what a nice photograph that is on that cool looking wood round table. I hope the river isn't running too swift for Buddy when he goes in. All that mud, might want to tuck a small towel in your pocket for the next walk. Ha. Animals have a whole different perspective than we do being able to smell how went before. My cats do that if I've been some where, especially my Butter, he sniffs paper bags, coats and all kinds of things and I always wonder what he has learned from the smells.

  12. JANE AND LANCE, Almost everything I do, I try to view through the eyes of "history," too, as it really is still present in all the ways that matter. It adds a dimension to life, as my walks with buddy surely will.

    PAUL, I see it as one of the great bennys to me, besides special time with Buddy, it gets me out of the house and moving. Good for body and soul.

    GRETHE (Thyra), I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to read your comments once again. It should be interesting, as a storm is brewing and may produce its own mud. :)

    PENNY, Buddy is definitely taking me for a walk. I'm so glad he has more discipline than I, and knows that's where some real fun lies.

    TONY, Oh, indeed he is. Somebody had to... :)

    CHERYLK, The lilacs just came into full bloom a few days ago. I hope the coming storm leaves them intact. I have three huge bouquets right now that are staying unusually fresh.

    DJAN, I wish you had been there with me. In spirit, my soul sister.

    ONE FLY, Isn't that true? I love little trips filled with discovery. Small things are really the Big things. It is fun, indeed. :)

    LYNN, Yes, a walk every day is exactly what I needed to get back in the habit of doing. Thankfully, Buddy is providing the impetus.

    KARENA, A friend with two goldens said the same thing, darts of guilt until you're out the door. Already I cannot imagine life without him. A hug for Buddy from Karena. Done! Thank You. They're the best, aren't they?

    LINDA, That round wood table is actually a finished stump from an oak tree and there's another next to it. I use them as end tables. There are three altogether and they have stayed with me throughout my moves. My friend, JB, once owned them. He actually made them. Thanks for the towel suggestion. Smelling seems to be a hug part of their lives.

  13. I can't leave a leash out. I have them in all my vehicles and around the house. Mine likes to walk herself. I like to look over old homesteads. I see a lot of iris growing where they once stood and wonder why they stopped being someones pride and joy. Decorating , holidays, all lost for some unknown reason.
    Steve, OOTP

  14. My best walks have all happened with my dog too. Yours was lovely. Thanks for sharing :)

  15. I love that image you took of the lilacs in the vase and the wonderful log table they are sitting on. And that bowl of...what?...marbles? Stones? Oh kind of "stuff". Our lilacs have come and gone already. You are lucky to have them now. With the rain on its way (again!) they wouldn't have lasted long here anyway.

  16. I used to have a dog when I lived in New York City in the 1970s. She loved to go for walks near the Hudson River. Your post brings back so many fond memories of her.

  17. I can smell the fragrance from the lilacs. They hold memories galore for me. I do the same with Cody as far as the water goes. We have a park with water where we walk and it's like a magnet for Cody. It's mud and everywhere she goes in the house, she leaves a dusting of dirt. So I leash her by the water. Sometimes we drive up the mountain where the streams are fresh and sandy and then she can splash and swim to her delight.


  18. Hi Steve, Mr. Anonymous :) I think in some cases, old homesteads were left to deteriorate when the grown children had other places they wanted to be, and other times there were no children to carry on, so.... It is sad to see lives just disappear, for strangers to visit now and then, but maybe that's why I do what I do, and you, too. We pay homage to them and the lives they once lived.

    MEADOWSWEET COTTAGE, Thank you so much for visiting. It turns a walk into something shared.

    TERI, That log is a finished stump that I use as an end table. I have three of them altogether. In the bowl is a necklace of amber, some of it the regular amber and some of the butterscotch (?). I received it as a gift from the woman who owned the art gallery where I worked in Santa Fe several years ago. She had been on vacation and brought back a gift for me. She knew I loved amber. Perhaps I should blog about it... :)

    Manzanita, A mountains stream for one's dog sounds quite wonderful.

  19. gigi in Hawaii! I'm so glad I brought back fond memories for you. Your walks sound very nice. Thank you for commenting.

  20. My lilacs haven't even started to appear yet. They are so fragrant aren't they? I can hardly wait. We need some warm weather here!

    Sounds like you had a really lovely walk. Have a terrific weekend Teresa!
    xo Catherine

  21. Hi Cat, Everything is late this year, it seems. There are several very old lilac bushes surrounding my place, almost like trees, dating back to the original homestead days, I suppose.

    Have a wonderful weekend with your guys, Cat!