Still Life with Dog

It’s hard to take life moment by moment, but sometimes I find myself in a pocket of stillness and I’m able to stop thinking ahead.  For a short time, anyway.

I took Ziggy on a walk through our neighborhood the other day.  We don’t have the Greenbelt a few blocks away anymore like we did at the old apartment.  There’s no nice Silver Lake loop with the side paths where I can let Ziggy roam off-leash.  The new place is situated squarely in the middle of suburbia, houses and more houses stretching out in every direction like C.S. Lewis’ vision of purgatory in “The Great Divorce.”  Zig and I were aiming for the nearest park, as marked on the map of Boise J and I bought over a year ago when we first moved to this town.  It was shaping up to be a warm afternoon, and I was out for the walk more because I felt I had to walk Zig than because I wanted to be out there.

The park, when we reached it, was pleasant but dull:  a large swath of lawn with a spread of picnic tables, playground equipment, and cottonwood trees.  Predictably there was a “Dogs on Leash Only” sign posted out front, but for once I didn’t care.  At least it was public access.  Ziggy and I roamed around for a while, me letting her sniff and mark the bases of the trees.  I thought about getting back, about the yard that needs more work, about the pregnancy, the thesis, my non-career.  The sun felt nice and I walked us over to a picnic table.

“Up!” I said to Ziggy, and she obligingly jumped up on the wooden boards.  I sat next to her, and the combination of sun and sitting made me feel suddenly tired.  Resting my head against Zig’s side I thought about what a pair we made these days, me with the baby and all my doctor appointments, her with this sudden plethora of health issues and vet appointments.  It was all so busy, and there was so much to think and worry about.

Zig, who had her eyes closed in the sun, let out a big sigh then, like she does whenever she’s really comfortable or is dog-piling with her people.  We were both quiet for a while, enjoying the weather and each other’s company.

Eventually we stood back up, walked back home, and the day continued.

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