1 April 2016

Into The Wire: Fate on Her Path, In Her Meadow

Fate On Her Path

Fate On Her Path

When I saw Fate emerging from the meadow and slipping through some barbed wire, my heart skipped a beat or two, as yours may have when you saw this photo. Some people have suggested over the years that I am callous about my dogs, and do not take safety and danger as seriously as I might.

People send me messages and warnings every day.

I can't say if that is true or not, my dogs have never been seriously injured, and have all but one (Orson) died of natural causes after good lives. Still, there are choices to be made, realities to consider. If you let a dog run free in the country, there are dangers. Hunters, sometimes, rabid animals, bears, horses and donkeys, all kinds of ticks and parasites, some poisons. And barbed wire.

Old pastures criss-cross the roads and woods, there is barbed wire embedded everywhere. Sometimes it is hidden by brush and twigs, sometimes it mysteriously rises up out of the ground, sometimes it is hidden behind brush and wildflowers.

For me, the choice is epic.

Do I let a dog like Fate live her good and free life like a dog like her was meant to live (not all dogs need to do that or want to), or should I heed the many dangers and alarms – processed dog food, evil vets and vaccinations, Lyme Disease, drowning, falling through ice, riding in warm cards, sick and nasty animals – and keep her close and bounded?

It is a personal decision, everyone must make it for themselves, there is no clear right or wrong in my mind. I have a lot of problems, but I do not have the social media diseases of wanting to argue all day, hating  people who differ, or telling other people what to do.

Fate slips in and out of barbed wire often, she seems to always sense it and see it and slip through it. She has never been cut or scratched and she has a keen radar for avoiding wires that are too tight. Mostly, she sticks to the deer paths. Seeing this photo on the computer – I didn't see the barbed wire when I took the shot, I was actually a good distance away – I had a start, it looked too close to me.

I can keep her from running in the meadow she loves so much, or I can accept that there is some danger out there.

The wire is no problem for Fate. At least so far. She is a savvy country dog.

I am committed to her living as full and free a life as she can live, she deserves it, it is her nature. I accept the risk of freedom, for me and for her. I have traded security for fulfillment and the safety I am told I should have.

For me, that is the trade-off and the opportunity I am given. I do not choose to live a life in fear for me, I do not choose to live one for Fate.

None of us live perfect lives, none of us can be protected from the world, as we see on the news every day. A writer friend named Janet Hamilton wrote a beautiful piece on her blog about her friend David, who was dying of cancer. Eat all the pie you want, Janet, He said.

Life is, after all, a matter of balance. I think every animal knows this in their genes.

Eat all the pie you can, Fate.

Posted in General

Parable: The River Of Already. What Is God?

The River Of Already

The River Of Already

"As I was among the exiles on the River Kevar, the heavens opened and I saw visions of God." – Ezekiel.

"So, Ezekiel was standing on the River Kevar. As he was gazing at the water, the seven heavens were opened for him and he saw the Glory of Holiness, along with celestial creatures, ministering angels, bands of angels, seraphs, and angels with sparkling wings, all joined in the heavenly chariot. As they were passing through heaven, Ezekiel saw them reflected in the water. As it is written, "on the River Kever," the River of Already."

"Turn around! De you see the angels passing by?", he was told. Yes, he said, I saw them in the water, in the River Of Already.

This parable is from the Kabbalah, my daily reading in recent weeks (it changes every couple of weeks). I love the parables in the Kabbalah, the ancient and very beautiful writings of Jewish mystics. I am thinking they were written by women, they are so unlike the raging and thunder in most religious dogma. But no one knows who wrote them, they were hidden away in caves and vaults, and are still being deciphered and interpreted.

I think I might once have been a mystic, hidden in a cave writing on his ancient blog, pondering the meaning of the parables the mystics spewed, like pulp romances and mysteries.

I think of them often in the deep woods, I am mesmerized by the idea of the River Of Already. If I sit still, or close my eyes out there, in my cathedral, I can see the celestial creatures, the ministering angels, the bands of angels, seraphs, and angels with sparkling wings, all joined together and streaking across the sky in the heavenly chariot.

Sometimes, I think God opens the seven heavens for me, and gives me the tiniest peek. I see the celestial creatures and sparkling angels rushing by in the woods. I think we all swim in the River of Already, there we can see visions of our own God.

Mysticism and mystical experiences have always been the part of Judaism that i most relate to, I have never connected much to the faith or been comfortable with its dense rituals and angry Old Testament. As a child, I was disturbed by the bloodthirsty and vengeful underpinnings of the Passover and other holidays.

For some, it spoke of liberation and freedom, for me it was suffocating.

But I have always been drawn to the mysticism, it is embedded somewhere deeply inside of me I feel it in the forest. I always feel the most Jewish reading the Kabbalah, not really anywhere else.

There I think about God, and who and what that is. I think God is a very personal thing, every person carries it inside of him or herself, much as people like to think they have found the one and true God and everyone must accept him or her. I have never thought to tell other people who to worship or believed there was only one way.

I don't feel that God is that clear for me. A nice woman on Facebook was sid that I had not yet accepted Christ as the son of God. Why?, she asked. It is not, I said, a discussion I care to have with a stranger on Facebook. I don't understand the need of people to have everyone worship what they worship. For me, the Glory of Holiness is our individuality.

But I think about God. In the Kabbalah, God does not threaten or warn, he tells his people "Go to your self, know your self, fulfill yourself." That was the God of the mystics, he was the creative spark, it was a gift he gave all of us. Of all the creatures of the earth, only human beings can possess the creative spark, only we can seek to be fulfilled.

Fulfillment is God for me, perhaps, something sacred.

Animals accept the boundaries of their lives, they do not seek to be more, better, or something other than what they were meant to be.

We do, I believe, inside of me is a passion to be fulfilled.

Got to yourself. That, I think, is my idea of God, I am swimming in the River Of Already.


Posted in General

Windowsill Gallery: Start Of The Day

Start Of The Day

Start Of The Day

Today, I saw the windowsill gallery as a window, I watched through it as Maria and Red set out to begin the daily morning chores. Framed by the window and the flowers, I felt as if I were seeing a film of my own life. I scrambled to put my boots on and Fate and I followed, but I loved this brief portrait of our lives, and a new way of seeing the windowsill gallery.

Posted in General

Hamburger Wars: Fate 3, Jon 0. “Seriously?”

Fate 3, Jon 0

Fate 3, Jon 0

The author Robert Heinlein wrote that  women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea. It's good advice, but Heinlein might have added that some pirate young border collies will do as they please and perhaps their humans ought to relax and get used to the idea as well.

Fate and I are locked in the second week of a struggle that began when she lifted raw hamburger meat off of the kitchen counter and ate it when no one was looking. This prompted a series of failed efforts at stopping this behavior before it becomes chronic. I tossed a throw chain at her, set up mousetraps.

I don't think I'm all that smart, but when I stumble, I am reminded forcefully that I am not very smart.

It is not going well for me, and I have trained a lot of dogs to stay away from the counter. I had absolutely no doubt that I could train Fate to stay away. Not yet. Yesterday, another round. I put a piece of bread on a plate on the floor, the idea being I would reinforce the idea that she eats only from her food bowl and nowhere else – no plates, no counters. The burger meat was on this plate.

I put it on the floor and said nothing when she looked at it, I wanted the chance to correct the behavior. I backed up through the doorway out of sight. I went into the living room – I could see the plate but not her and she could not see me. I sat down and checked my e-mail.

Ten minutes went by I hadn't heard her or seen her, I walked into the kitchen to see if she had moved. She hadn't. She looked up at me as I came in. I could almost hear her.

"Seriously? Do you think I'm stupid? Do you think I'll fall for this?"

I went into the study to test my theory and came back an hour later. She was dozing in the living room. The bread was still there.

So what have I gleaned from this week?

First, Fate is smarter than me, I admit it.

Secondly, she is either psychic, speaks English, or reads my mind (so maybe she does visualizations also, as I claim). I am used to accepting the fact that most of the women I live with are smarter than me. My wife is. Chloe the pony knows when I am getting the rich hay and when I am getting the older stuff. If I am getting the former, she is standing waiting at the gate. If I am getting the cheaper stuff, she is wandering around.

I know that Fate seems to grasp when i am laying a trap and when I am not. So far, it has worked this way:  If we unintentionally leave food out and walk away for awhile, it may or may not disappear. If I am setting it out for any reason to catch or correct her, she just gives me the look above and doesn't bite, as it were.

She has more patience than I do.

I will try again and keep you posted, but Heinlein's idea is growing on me.

Posted in General

Tomorrow’s Potholders And Quilts

Tomorrow's Quilts

Tomorrow's Quilts

A warm and windy day in the time of all seasons.  Today, we woke up to 60 degrees. Tomorrow snow, Sunday and Monday arctic weather. On Monday  (low in the teens) we are heading out for a short break, a change of scenery, we're driving East until we hit the ocean, then we will have dinner, find a place to stay and come home. We cant take a real vacation these days, so will take some short and fun ones. Reading, cuddling, talking, sleep.

This morning, I took the dogs out for their run, and I saw this quite amazing line of fabrics flapping in the wind. I knew they weren't out clothes, the mad artist/witch was cleaning some of the very beautiful clothes and fabrics people send her from all over the country. Tomorrow's potholders and quilts.

They looked grand blowing in the wind. Hope they dry quickly, it will be snowing soon.

Posted in General