Morning Moments

 

It’s 6:00 am, my favourite time of day. Much of the world is still asleep and I am swathed in a blanket of silence.  I’m comfortable with it; in fact I welcome it.

Many people experience the world through their eyes and notice a million little details that escape me. But I notice the sound track to life:  the car with the bad muffler rumbling down the street as I headed to my new job, the tone of my daughter’s voice when she tried to convince herself she was fine with her partner going on a weekend get-away without her; a colleague’s cell phone chiming in her office while she was  being raked over the coals by our boss.

 I’m sometimes overwhelmed by the noise in our busy, fast-paced world so I embrace what I call my “morning moments”. When my husband gets up, he will turn the radio on. I’m so tired of hearing about COVID on the news.  I’m tired of hearing the numbers of cases, deaths, intensive care admissions. But mostly, I hate what COVID is doing to people – and by that I don’t mean making them sick. I mean that it’s turning them into bitter, angry people regardless of which side of the vaccine fence they are on.  But that is a whole other post for another day.  Because right now I want to enjoy the calm.

I pour coffee and the hot liquid makes a sloshing sound in my cup just as the fridge compressor starts its low humming. I like these ordinary noises that often go unnoticed; they are part of the familiar rhythm of a new day.  I set my cup on the table and tug on the handle of the patio door. It glides smoothly open on its metal tracks, letting the cool morning air and a medley of sounds rush in.

I know the song of the cardinal, blue jay and a few other species. But I don’t recognize the early birds I hear today and I wonder what they are. A light breeze rises and gently rustles the leaves on the trees.  They have already started to turn from emerald green to scarlet and gold. Somewhere, high in one of those trees, a squirrel is loudly protesting something.

Daylight is leaking into the  blackness, and slowly, the world around me is beginning to stir. In the distance, a dog is barking and a car engine starts.  From the bedroom, I hear Ben’s feet hit the floor.  My morning moments are over for today, but I have a date with them again at 6 am tomorrow.

Miss you still, big boy

I was driving to work yesterday when for no good reason the memory of this beautiful creature, and in particular, this photo, came to mind.  It was strange because this dog has been gone for over 20 years. But yesterday the image of his sweet face and soulful eyes were sharp and clear in my mind. Then today, I read that the theme for ThrowBack Thursday Memory Blog Hop was “The Pets in My Life”.  It felt like a sign.

His name was Kina and he came into my life shortly after I was married. We wanted a dog and I had my heart set on a Husky or a Malamute.  It must have been fate when we saw an ad in the newspaper for a young Malamute. The lady was giving him away to someone who could offer him a  good home. She bought him from a pet shop because even though he was still young, he was almost fully grown and crammed into a small cage all day. She felt sorry for him so she bought him but she couldn’t keep him.  At least that what’s she told us and it was good enough for us. We went to collect him a few days later.

It wasn’t a bowl of cherries. He wasn’t house trained and he did not care for being left alone, even for short periods. Like a child having a tantrum, he made his displeasure clear. He gnawed wooden door frames, pulled  sheets completely off the bed and left little “gifts” for us in unexpected places.  But he was so adorable! He still sat crookedly on one haunch like a puppy who hadn’t quite adjusted to his growing body.  One ear flopped over charmingly and his cold, wet nose was black as night.  His markings were striking and his eyes were like deep pools of liquid chocolate.

With time, Kina grew into a wise, gentle soul. At the cottage where he could roam free, we always knew when a thunder storm was coming. He scratched frantically at the screen door until we let him in, and then cowered in the corner until the storm was over.

When I became pregnant with my son a few years later, warnings came from well-meaning family. Kina might be jealous and harm the baby. Maybe we should consider parting with him. But that wasn’t part of our plan.  We would be cautious but unless he gave us reason to change our minds, he was staying.

If anything, the poor dog was the neglected one as our attention was thrown into caring for a small, screaming newborn.  It was probably payback when one morning I found Erik, who was about a year old at the time, standing in his crib calling for “Dia” (his way of pronouncing Kina’s name) instead of “Mama”.

When Erik was almost three, my husband and I separated. I wanted to keep Kina and I tried to juggle it all for a few months. But being a single parent of a toddler and working full-time was hard. Squeezing in two long walks a day for a big dog that needed them was impossible.  I was heartbroken, but the situation wasn’t fair to Kina. I knew my husband loved him as much as I did, so I was glad when he offered to take him.

Kina had a good, long life but, as often happens, when older animals are in pain and their quality of life suffers, it’s time to say good-bye.  Erik’s Dad called to tell me first so I could prepare our son. My heart broke when I realized that this beautiful dog who gave us so much joy would no longer walk the earth.  Love you and miss you still, big boy.

Written for the Throwback Thursday Memory BlogHop hosted by Maggie from From Cave Walls and Lauren from Llsattitudeofgratitude. This week the subject is “The Pets in My Life”.

A Few of my Favourite Things

When my mom moved into a nursing home, the little bits and pieces of her former life were packed up and brought to my house “for storage”.  This implies a temporary solution and that some day she would reclaim her possessions.  But I knew that would never happen.

I don’t hang onto things I no longer need or want.  I was on the Marie Kondo bandwagon long before it was a bandwagon.  At first though, out of respect for my mom, I couldn’t part with her things. But every so often I sift through the boxes and decide which things to keep, which to donate and which to throw out.  Slowly the stack of boxes is dwindling.

Most recently, I came across the lone survivor of a set of six liqueur glasses. I picked it up and remembered how much I loved them when I was a kid, even though they were only for company.  They were delicate and fragile,  but what I loved most about them was the Canada goose in full flight etched in frosted glass on either side.

The glasses would only be pulled from the cupboard of “good dishes” when we had guests and my father offered them a glass of crème de menthe.  He didn’t speak French very well, despite having married a French Canadian woman, so he had trouble pronouncing the name of the liqueur properly. He would leave my mother to entertain the company in the living room while he went to the kitchen to get the drinks. I’d watch him carefully pour the bright green, syrupy-sweet liqueur into the glasses then place them on a silver tray and carry them to waiting guests.

My father was a veteran of the Royal Canadian Air Force who had been posted overseas during World War II. I have his logbook and I’ve read his entries, so I know he saw death and destruction while sitting, strapped and trapped,  in the seat of a small plane.  Like many veterans, he never spoke about the war.  I sometimes wonder if he struggled to reconcile the images in his head with his post-war life that included a wife, three kids, a modest home and serving  crème de menthe to guests. The memory alone of him calmly and with a steady hand pouring drinks for guests earns the glass a place in my “keep” pile.

Sometimes I am too hasty to part with things so I was glad when a lamp I loved found its way back to me.   I bought it soon after we moved into our current house about  19 years ago. I saw it in a quaint little village gift shop and fell in love with it.  There were two in the store, but I only needed one so, with a pang of regret, I bought one and left its partner behind.

A few weeks later my husband was lying on the couch when he stretched his arms out behind him and knocked the lamp off the pine side table where I had placed it.  It came crashing down into so many pieces there was no hope of gluing them back together.

So, down we marched to the little gift shop. My fingers were crossed that the other lamp was still there. And it was!  It lit up  our living room until we re-decorated and it didn’t mesh with the new furniture.  I can’t remember how it happened, but it found a new home with a good friend. I was happy someone else – someone close to me – could appreciate and use it.

Recently, she redecorated too and asked if I wanted it back.  Of course I did!  I found the perfect place for it on the nightstand in my bedroom. Not only can I admire it, but every night, happily propped up on my pillows, I can read by the soft glow of its light.

Written for the Throwback Thursday Memory BlogHop by Maggie from From Cave Walls and Lauren from Llsattitudeofgratitude. This week the subject is sentimental pictures (or other objects).