I know. I know. You were expecting a long dissertation on program evaluation for grant writers. I wanted to write it. Truly, I did. But, it’s just so dang boring. In fact, I’ve been struggling with a little writing self sabotage. I had good news . . . or at least promising news. An agent requested a full; another asked for a partial. Yea!!
Yeah. Good news. So, naturally, I’ve been in a re-writing, self-doubting frenzy. And just as naturally (yes, pun intended, who could resist?) I headed for the hills. Not in a rough wilderness way, but in a visit-my-family’s-cabin-with-all-amenities way. For several days, I hung out with Nike and Daisy. I wrote, thought, ate chocolate, and wrote some more.
The girls are pound puppies, and their heritage is indistinct. According to their adoption papers. Daisy’s a border collie/aussie mix and Nike is a blue heeler. They are definitely working dogs and have distinct breed-based styles – Daisy handles perimeter and Nike circles me 24/7 as she would a cattle herd (I deny any resemblance to such).
While I threw a pity party, my canine entourage guarded the interior front and back doors (each took one), and monitored the exterior grounds from windows. During frequent breaks (I needed carbs and diet pepsi; they needed to mark territory), we took deck time and simply listened to the sounds of the forest. And let me tell you, day or night, the forest is a dang noisy place. Admittedly, we barred the doors when the stars hit the heavens. The girls were less eager – being intelligent breeds – to explore the howls of the wolf packs (apparently we’ve two in that range). But from sun to set, they were on recon.
And their diligence, their dedication, and heck, even their near-obsessive joy in the effort smacked me upside the head with an epiphany.
The girls didn’t need to know what might happen next. They didn’t even need a reward. They simply knew their purpose. They knew what they were born to do. And they did not lose faith in the possibility of realizing it.
It’s all about perspective.
What we see is a combination of what we have experienced and what we anticipate. What we see can be limiting. But what we do . . . what we do is based on the promise.
You can see Daisy in the lower right corner. Nike is probably either laying on my feet or figuring out the most efficient way to trip me. I had no idea what captured Daisy’s attention. Her alert stance lasted a solid five minutes, time enough to watch her, fumble with my camera, and finally take a picture. Is it the bird feeder? The sound of the woodpecker from the far right. Something hiding in the brush?
This scenario played out on the first day. And every day thereafter, at approximately the same time (7a or so), she took almost exactly the same position and didn’t move – barely an ear twitch, and certainly no tail action (that dog’s tail could solve an energy crisis) for several minutes.
Once a fox ran past – nada. Squirrels did nothing for her. Birds, wind, trees creaking, brush cracking. Zip.
Until the final day.
I was packing up, rushing around, ready to give in and head home, hoping another change of venue would help when I saw Daisy do a slow belly flop. She kept her head high, eyes locked on the same general spot. Her only movement was the minute whump whump whump of her tail.
A doe picked her way across the edge of the property, followed by two more, just to the left of the small pine in the middle (the one with a few rusty needles).
Nike, like Daisy, had her purpose of course. She stood behind me, pushed her head between my legs, (thank goodness for yoga or I’d have broken a hip) and huffed out a growly sort of yip. No predatory herbivore was gonna make trouble on her watch.
The deer bounded off. Daisy looked behind (I swear she rolled her eyes). My sweet baby Nike withdrew, planted her furry little behind on the floor and waited for my praise.
Our lesson? Be patient. Take joy in the potential of something wonderful crossing our path. Don’t forget what we were born to do. And do not lose faith in the possibility of realizing it. Even — and especially — if those around us don’t always appreciate our effort.