Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday Night Haiku

cold air on my skin
summer heat is just a dream
winter must be near

Monday, September 2, 2013

Goodbye Abbey

We lost our dog yesterday.  No, that’s not true.  We didn’t lose her, she died.  Dead, done, over, finished.  And I am heartbroken.  This morning when I let the other dogs in the house, first Carlos, then Ed, I waited for her.  Just for a moment, but long enough to break my heart all over again.  We’ve had her for 12 years, and she was part of the routine of our lives.  There were 3, now there are 2.
          The thing is, I have always felt a little guilty about grieving for my pets when they die.  Sure, it’s a loss, and I do love them, but in the end, she was just a dog.  Just a dog.  I think about what that means.  She was part of our family, but not like a child.  I know people who have lost children, and I by no means would compare this to that.  I am sad now, but I will get over it, unlike the mother that will grieve, and I mean really grieve, for that child that she lost 30 years ago.  Yet, there is still this loss to deal with.  But what have I lost?
            It is said that dog is man's best friend, but for me, that’s not really true.  My wife is my best friend.  It is also said that dogs love us unconditionally, but I'm not sure that I believe that.  They depend on us, and they need us.  We are their pack, their family, but is it truly love?  I don’t know.  So what is this emptiness that I feel?  What did she mean to me?  What have all my dogs meant to me?
            Over the years, I have struggled off and on with depression.  Like so many others, I have experienced loneliness, hopelessness, isolation, the full gambit.  And through those times, there is usually someone that I can turn to; my wife, a friend, a doctor, God.  Usually.  But sometimes, when the isolation is too great, the only one who I can feel has been my dog.  Who else ALWAYS has the time to greet me when I walk in the door?  Who else is ALWAYS happy to see me.  Who else is ALWAYS available for a hug, and who else will ALWAYS let me lie down next to them, arrange them the way I want them, and let me bury my face in their furry neck and cry?
           I don’t know if dogs go to heaven, but I like to think so.  In fact, sometimes I think that if there aren’t dogs in heaven, I don’t want to go there.  Maybe we won’t need them there.  Maybe heaven is so fulfilling, we won’t need our dogs.  But, I think that dogs are one of God’s gifts to us.  He knows how hard life is, and He knows that we all need a little bit of fur to hold onto.  So my vision, what I see when I think of heaven, is all of us staring up into the brilliant face of God…and at His feet, napping, snoring, licking themselves, are his dogs.  Our dogs.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday Night Haiku

the world was so big
that I got lost in my head
don't come look for me

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday Night Haiku

in the early spring
the crow returns to the yard
he must hate the snow

Dream Fulfilled?

So, anyhow, I spent last week in a hut in the Canadian Rockies, backcountry skiing. This was a trip that I have spent the last 12 years building the skills needed to be a part of, and now that I have done it, I am faced with that age old question, was it worth it? Was it worth the years that I have spent running, riding, hiking and skiing to build the strength and conditioning needed for a week climbing in the mountains? Was it worth the pain, frustration, time and money spent to develop the skiing skills to ski in the backcountry? Was it worth the time that I have spent in courses, reading books, spending powder days training instead of having fun skiing, so that I could learn the avalanche safety and snow skills needed, the 1st aid skills needed to make me a valuable team member, the mountain skills needed for even being in the backcountry, and the leadership skills needed anytime that you place yourself in a situation as remote and unpredictable as the winter backcountry? Was it worth the mental anguish that I always put my crazy self through, constantly questioning my motives, my skills, my conditioning, the time spent, the money spent, etc., etc., etc.?

Oh Hell Yeah! It was an amazing week. We had beautiful weather, great snow, amazing food, and good company. We fell into a routine, nay, almost a ballet, by the second day. At 6a.m. every morning, John would hop out of bed and head down for the cook hut to start breakfast. Aaron, who had been waiting for half an hour for someone to get up, would head down and fire up the stove. At 6:15, Eric's alarm would sound. At 6:30, Eric would get up and go start the coffee. Then, knowing that the cook hut was warm, breakfast was cooking, and the coffee was ready, I would crawl out of bed, put on my base layer for the day, and head down. Paul would follow shortly.

After breakfast was eaten and the dishes and chores were done, we would start getting ready for skiing. Lunches had to be packed, blisters covered, gear that had been hanging over the stove to dry had to be repacked, and, the worst part, boots had to be donned. By 9 o'clock, we were hiking. The hikes were long and beautiful. We had sunshine the first few days, so we were able to go above treeline. Once the weather changed, we stayed closer to home and skied the trees. Not a bad way to spend a week, and definitely worth the cost, not only in terms of the money, but in the effort it takes to be able to enjoy the backcountry.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sunday Night Haiku

hike for three hours
to slide for fifteen minutes
perfect equation

Friday, January 1, 2010

On the Couch

Last night I went to bed unsure of what I would do today. I set my alarm for 7, in case I decided to go into Coeur d'Alene and run the Hangover 5 miler road race, and I left my phone on my bed side table, in case anybody called to go skiing. I washed all my running and skiing gear, and went to bed, figuring that I would arise in the morning and see what the day might bring.

I woke up this morning at about 5, got up, turned my alarm clock off and went back to bed. I awoke again at around 8:30, and knew that there was no way I was going to get up to go run a race. I was just too sleepy. I woke up again at about 9:30, looked at my phone to make sure I had not missed a call, and then got up and made coffee and pancakes for G and myself.

To make a long story short, I spent the entire day on the couch. I read, I watched HGTV, football, a Twilight Zone Marathon, downloaded some free tunes from @#$%^&*, ate cheese and crackers, drank hot cocoa, watched it rain, watched the squirrels, watched the movie version of Horton Hears a Who (not bad, if you forget the fact that this is a beautiful story by Dr. Suess), called my sister, watched some more football, tormented the dogs, tormented G, spied on the neighbors, watched a little more football, and then went upstairs to go to bed.

All in all, not a bad way to start the new year.