Sunday, April 05, 2009


"Well," I asked as Chienne leaped and whimpered in greeting when I returned from breakfast yesterday, "shall we go for a walk? Together this time rather than me chasing after you?" I took her prancing to the door and pawing at it as agreement and tucked Kleenex in my pocket before clipping her leash on and setting off toward the woods nearby.

I paused to take photos a couple of times, admiring the overcast afternoon and enjoying the brisk wind rustling through the amber grasses. Having been firmly instructed to take time for myself by the women at breakfast (I will, I wanted to say. I even wrote it on my blog!), I decided that exploring the paths Chienne had uncovered during yesterday's escape (part 2 of 2) appealed.

"This way," I called and Chienne followed me up a strange path, diverting from our usual route along the river but familiar with the short command. She soon took point while I climbed and tried not to stumble over randomly exposed roots. It was pleasant, I decided. Dead leaves crackling gently under my sneakers, looking around the bare trees and listening to the branches creak under the strain of the wind. I hadn't seen another person - it was quite chilly for an afternoon stroll - and savored the quiet as we continued to walk.

"Huh," I murmured upon reaching the crest of the hill. I frowned and turned in a circle, finally deciding I'd turned left into the park then left at the uphill path. I should continue to turn left, I reasoned, but continued to stand still, familiar with the sense of disorientation and flawed logic that lands me lost more often than not. I looked down at Chienne as she sniffed the ground, half blind but completely content, and thought she was more likely than I to get us home. But I was ready to head that way now and I wasn't sure what her ideal schedule was.

Unwilling to trust the puppy with our path, I thought through it again and decided that going left made sense. The park was surrounded by houses, I reasoned. If going left wasn't correct, I would eventually reach a neat line of houses. Wondering if this was like my strategy on the coasts of using oceans as landmarks - which always seems like it should work but never really does - I looked around and realized I was growing cold. I'd been out for a little over an hour and there was a snow storm coming. Growing worried that I'd be trapped in some sort of fast-moving blizzard, I took a breath and tried to enjoy the time as I made my way in what I hoped was a homeward direction.

I kicked off my heels when I entered the house this evening, some 30 hours after I made my triumphant return from our exploration yesterday. "Hey, pretty girl," I offered and bent until I could kiss her head and offer cuddles. "How goes it, Mr. Sprout?" I asked when I noticed the stripey cat observing from a distance. He waited until Chienne paused to grab a toy before moving gracefully toward me and purring while I smoothed his coat.

"I," I told them, "need to shower and pack. The flight tomorrow leaves at 6 - that's eight hours from now - and I'm not at all ready. Well," I corrected myself as they followed me upstairs, "I did check in and print my boarding pass. And laundry is done so I just need to pick outfits." Ceasing my monologue as I stepped in the shower, I made mental notes.

Snuggled into pajamas and tucking folded fabric into my suitcase, I sighed. "I'm always trying to get home," I told Chienne as she sat next to me on the floor, sad that the suitcase was being filled. "It's just three days," I whispered, sighing again.

"I can't take her for walks," Mom said when she called to check in. "She'll have to wait for you to get back. But we will be there all day! So that should be nice for her and Sprout."

I agreed easily, wishing I had more time to spend. "But I need to go," I told my parents. "Dry my hair, finish packing, decompress enough to sleep. I'm back late on Thursday - near midnight - but I need to be at work by 9 for meetings." Wincing at the idea of them visiting and not spending more than a few moments with them, I smiled over the comments some of you left yesterday and decided I still have some work to do.


CharlieAmra said...

It is always nice to stop, relax and reflect. Hope it is a restful trip. Love all the photos you have been posting to your blog.

Psych Post Doc said...

Great pictures, I'm glad you made it back home.

It's so great that your parents can come so often and stay in your house with your pets. It's a shame you can't spend more time when they're there but at least you're getting to see them (which wouldn't be possible with your crazy travel schedule otherwise).

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