Tuesday, October 27, 2009

From a Writers Heart

“Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much a heart can hold.” – Zelda Fitzgerald

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I’m a writer.

But it’s not all I am.

I’m also someone who rescues animals; strays to be specific.

Tonight I just want to be the writer. Because I don’t really know how much more my heart can take - how much more compassion, endurance or fortitude, I have left to watch another life slip out of my hands. Only to realize too little, too late and wonder was it enough?

I didn’t ask for this. Never in my wildest dreams did I foresee this for myself. Yet here I am, sitting with a heavy heart and trying my damndest to make some sense out of it all.

Counting slowly back through my memories, names and personalities remind me of the ones that survived, the strays I did manage to make a difference for.

I’m only one person.

They all had homes before me, a place where they lived and learned to be domesticated. The question remains, what happened to those homes?

They come to me broken and unsure if I’m trustworthy. Will I chase them away, kick them or scream at them? “Don’t come any closer,” their stance says, betraying the fear they have of humans.

Patience slowly wins them over.

I can’t describe the joy as unique personalities emerge and most importantly trust is gained. Eyes lit up in expectation and excitement to see you, until finally the one moment that gives way to all your patience, the rub. The classic don’t hurt me; I’m going to try to let you close enough to pet me move. And I melt.

Why?

Because the evidence of the road they traveled to get to me is there for all the world to see in each scar, the missing hair, the bug bites and the skinny frame from lack of food.

Yet for one moment they dared to trust and I was worthy.

I’ve seen this same scenario play out over and over. I don’t get it. I don’t understand how someone could cruelly pull up in a car and toss them out, or one day suddenly decide they weren’t worth the time and lock them out of the only home they ever knew. I don’t understand how someone can simply stop caring.

As a writer, I take my writing seriously. As a pet owner, I take their lives into account from beginning to end. There is no, I changed my mind they’re too much work. There is no, I don’t have time or patience for this.

Kittens and Puppies don’t stay that way forever, they grow up, they get old and they need to be taken care of every single day of their lives.

So the writer in me is using the biggest tool I have available to me – my words, to ask, please be responsible pet owners. Know what you’re getting into before taking that leap and falling for a pet that will be the recipient of whatever decisions you make.

If you think you have what it takes to go the distance, please consider a shelter or abandoned animal. All they want is to be loved. They never asked to be thrown away.

Maybe someday everyone who owns an animal will take that responsibility seriously and I won’t feel the need to make a heartfelt plea like this. I don’t know if my heart can take losing another stray, wondering if they had enough time to know someone cared. I’m only one person, one writer, one human being. Stop and think before you give a pet for a gift this holiday or any day and make sure you understand what that new puppy or kitten entails. Please…

(This is dedicated to “the old man - Orange”, as I so fondly called him. I had to have him put to sleep today. He had FIV – Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. He came to us too late to save.)

*Update: And the dance begins again. There was a gray long haired cat studying me from the woods. Will it stick around? Time will tell. Where one life ended, another just might have a chance.


Watercolor painting can be found here

Friday, October 2, 2009

Her Restless Elegance

“My sorrow, when she's here with me, thinks these dark days of autumn rain are beautiful as days can be; she loves the bare, the withered tree; she walks the sodden pasture lane.” – Robert Frost

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A few weeks before October turned the corner, I felt her cold ethereal fingers linger along my neck. Her whispered breath echoed: “Soon. Watch for me,” leaving a gentle breeze across my skin. I knew then. The crisp air with foretold promise would soon warrant the warmth of long sleeves and overcoats.

My lungs breathe heavy of the damp cold, spewing forth a telltale misted breath. The flames dance in delight as the pellet stove alights to chase the cold back outside where it belongs. I wrap myself in Indian blankets adorning the couch. Ensconsed in comforting layers, bundled warmly I smile. My tea is held between clasped hands with hot steam vapor rising. The tree limbs bow and wave outside the window, nodding as the wind and rain dance in merriment at autumn’s restless arrival.

Watch the leaves whisper, shaking in tandem with the limbs of the tree. Watch as the sun's muted days turn us umber, marigold, and burgundy, shades of orange, purple and red. Watch the wind echoes in whispers against my window pane.

Warm food becomes the norm in the form of stews, chili, and baked pies. Autumnal aromas rise from apples, pumpkins, and spiced cakes. Blazing leaves piled high, fires burning in the hearth, my coat adorned with a scarf, a happy pups delight, dance in the Autumn Equinox of my mind.

It's time to welcome her elegance, the majesty of her season, I tell my dog as we make our way outside.

Autumn whispers unbidden, tracing ethereal windblown fingers along my face again, “I am here! See me! Feel me! Smell me! Hear me!"

My step quickens along the wooded path. In a somber moment, I bend and pick up a withered leaf, crisp and burnished by autumn's chill and crumble it in between my fingers.

I finally whisper back, my voice carried on the wind. “Yes I see, smell and feel you my majestic autumn, but I can’t hear you. You can’t change it all.”

Images of the child I was crunching through the piles of leaves along the sidewalk, that sound of long ago haunts this moment. A silent reminder that some things don’t change with the season. A wet nose is suddenly in my hand, sniffing at the remnants of fallen leaf. With amber brown eyes of innocence she looks up at me as if begging to know my heart.

It is nothing more than a moment, I whisper, just enough to remember that some things change and some remain, through winter, spring, summer and now fall. And some of those changes come with a price to be paid and some, like Autumn come free and beautiful.

Yes, my majestic Autumn, I see you laid out in visual splendor! Yes, my majestic Autumn, I welcome, welcome these restless changes of your seasonal heart!

- Indigo

Picture Found Here