13 May

Photo Journal, May 13th, My Life In Pictures; Flo In Autum, Zinnia In Her Prime, Weights, Clouds, Mountains, Chickens, Friends, Leaves, Cows In Fields

by Jon Katz

At the end of the day, I went out to the backyard to throw a ball for Zinnia, she was, as always waiting patiently in front of Maria’s Studio, she looked as if she had grown out of the ground.

It is such a gift to have this peaceful, loving and easy- going creature by my side to walk through life with me.  I love her very much.

I just raised my hand to ask her to stay on the ground for a bit and she stayed until I had taken my picture. We know one another very well. I rarely have to speak, and she gets pictures.

I sat with Flo out on the porch after lunch for about a half hour, I wanted to get a sense from her – is she very old, or very sick? Maria thinks she’s healthy, just aging, I sense something deeper lately. Flo climbed into my lap, curled up into a ball and went to sleep, purring, then silent.

I don’t know why, but it seems to me she’s saying goodbye.

Why do I think she’s trying to tell me something?

Is it my hyper-active imagination, or is she simply wearing out. People say cats give up when they are done.

I think this is something that will reveal itself. In the meantime, I hope to plan more time with her. I don’t always pay enough attention to the animals when they are here, but I miss them when they are gone. I’d rather love an animal than mourn an animal.

I think of autumn leaves as works of art, they explode so beautifully before the bugs get to them and they begin to fray. It seems the leaves all came out overnight, they are strong, vibrant and beautiful.

For most of my other life, I lived in towns and cities where there was very little space, except for the occasional park.

Up here, there is space all around me, and it opens up my spirit and comforts me. I passed by this huge farm today, the cows were spread peacefully all over the place. Corporate milk farms are spawning very different lives for cows. Most of them live on concrete, and never get to graze on graze, the universal joy of sheep world. It was nice to see the cows spread out, standing peacefully and quietly.

The real farmers love their cows like parents love children and give them good lives. And I love living with space around me.

I can almost never resist taking a photo of my favorite farmhouse, down a curving state road. I liked the way the Leica caught the landscape and the trees leafing on all of the hills.

I went back up Scotch Hill Road to check on the clouds hovering over my favorite mountains. I was not disappointed. I missed the clouds when they were gone. I hear tomorrow will be warm and gray.

I went to the gym today for my regular workout plus some therapy for my shoulder, I have a sprain around my rotator cuff and it hurts. I did some weight exercises with my should and about 35 minutes on the treadmill. I made dinner tonight,crabmeat with Bulgar wheat,  crabmeat and chopped vegetables.

I’m eager to sit down and read and then sleep.

I drove up Route 61 and saw a cumulus cloud coming straight me, I fantasized that it was my cloud and it was coming for me, it was moving so quickly and forcefully over the hill.

Dogs communicate in lots of different was, speaking is only one of them. There is clearly a telepathic exchange between a human and a dog they are close to. I’m always struck, as Zinnia and I spent more months and years together, how she understands and anticipates what I want, the true mark of a dog’s intelligence.

Biologists say dogs talk to each other in images and smells, not, of course, in our words. I try to talk to my dogs in the same way, and it works much more often than not.

Back when she was a puppy nearly three years ago, I would invite Zinnia along every day when I went out to get the mail.  When we got to the porch, a good ways from the road, I held up my hand, asked her to stay, a command she knew,and tossed her a small biscuit, both when I left and when I returned. I also asked her to sit.

That was the only time I had to ask her. She just got it.

Every day, when we get halfway to the mailbox on the road, she stops and sits down.

She has never once gone up to the road or near i t. I believe in transference when it comes to dogs, given the chance, and with the right training dogs will get a sense – an image perhaps in their heads –  of what we want. Many people are tossing so many words at their dogs that they get bewildered and respond mostly to tone of voice.

Silence is good for them as well.

Zinnia seems to know where I am going, and what I want.  Wherever I go, she is there.

I trust her completely, this is what makes her a good therapy dog. I usually forget the treats these days, but it doesn’t matter. She’s eager to come and happy to wait.

As I was about to put up this journal, Maria called me – she was taking a walk in the woods with the dogs – and told me the most beautiful clouds had appeared in the sky as the sun was setting. I ran outside with my Iphone 13 and caught the clouds just as they came over one of the green mountains in the distance.

Beautiful formations, a good way to say good night. See you in the morning.


  1. Just WOW, Jon. Photos are spectacular. Every one. And……your inner voice is talking to you regarding Flo. I’m glad you are open to it. I believe she *is* telling you something and it is good that you are tuned in to it. As a very much loved and respected *boss* at one of my jobs told me once……… always listen to your inner voice because it will almost never fail you. I try to live by that sage advice
    Susan M

  2. Jon…
    We’ve had many canine companions through our unpredictable life travels. Our current housemate, cattle dog Hazy, has been with us for a long time. When we rescued her from an abusive situation, the paperwork said she was born in 2004. No wonder she walks slowly.

    She saves her vocal announcements for strangers at the door. But in silence, we make ourselves understood. After all, we don’t have too much to communicate.

    Hazy knows when it’s mealtime, and checks on us if we’re late;

    When she needs to go outside, she waits at the sliding back door. When we missed her cue tonight, she tried to push the door open herself.

    My wife claps her hands to invite Hazy for their afternoon mailbox drive;

    When it’s time for our evening walk, Hazy comes to visit me;

    And if we’re both preoccupied, Hazy naps.

    So I don’t know why, but when we’re walking late at night, I find myself speaking to her.

  3. The photos are so beautiful! We have been spending this past week in the Green Mountains of VT, so I understand the amazing beauty of leaves appearing to open overnight. It is so beautiful up here and, though we miss our dog terribly and can’t wait to get home to her, it’s always a difficult place to leave!

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