Catching Dash

To the two or three readers out there who have noticed no new posts on my blog for the last nine months, I say hello and I’m back.  After a full year on sabbatical during the 2009-2010 academic year, I returned to full teaching duties on August 15, 2010, and I have not written a word since then.  Not a word.  No blogs, obviously.  No articles.  No poems.  No journal entries.  No letters. No rants.  No mission statements.  No life plan.  No long, overly detailed explications of my ever-volatile psychological state.  Nada.  Zip.  Zero.  (I know this has been a relief to some of you!) I recall making a grand declaration in August about the end of my days as a writer; yes, once again I quit writing.  That was my new life plan.  Stop writing.  Start being.   Breathe.

However, once school started, it became clear there would be no writing in this house whether or not I had declared the end of my writing days: it was a very busy academic year.  Lots of good experiences with students.  Lots of reading.  Lots of yoga, both teaching and practicing.  And a few wonderful trips thrown in to saturate the senses.  So while the creativity of my writerly self waned, the creative juices of my experiential self were juicy.  More on that juice in the coming days.

So on May 1, when I finished the Spring term, I was delighted to find myself facing three months of white space.  No summer teaching.  No books to write.  No trips planned.  No projects needing my attention.  Just three months of unplanned time: no goals, no agendas, no due dates, no expectations.  Quite a gift, don’t you think?

So I did the laundry.  I organized both of my closets and took piles of clothes and shoes to Goodwill.  I cleaned up the yard and did some re-planting.  I de-cluttered my desk.   I caught up with friends I hadn’t seen in a while.  That took about ten days.  And then, I sat in my tidy living room, looking out at my tidy garden, drinking a very appealing glass of pinot noir--and decided I wanted to get a puppy.

Noooooooo! Don’t do it, came a clear, robust voice (several voices, actually!).   Your life will be ruined.

Yeeesssss! Came another choral response, this one angelic.   There’s nothing more precious than a puppy nose nudging your neck.

In fact, those antiphonal voices have been speaking to me for months, for this yearning for a new dog has been with me for over a year now.  And you would laugh at the way I have flip flopped back and forth over this issue.  Should I do it?  Am I crazy?  Can I really go back to living my life tethered to the bladder of a lovable canine?  And then, I see the Beneful commercial and start crying for want of a doggy friend.

OK.  No sense being coy.  You know how this story ends.  Dash, a thirteen-week old Bichon Frise came into my life on Tuesday, May 24, and everything has changed.  Everything.  I laughed at myself this morning as I made a quick trip to the grocery store while she slept in her crate.  This dog has triggered so many long-held issues, issues I was sure I had fully addressed during the last ten years of intense study, therapy, and self-reflection.  Control.  Grief.  Loss.   Love.  Affection.  Responsibility.  Connection.  They moved in with her.  And as much as I’d like not to circle these issues yet again, I’m sure I won’t be able to refrain from doing so in the days to come.   I’ll give you fare warning when that is about to happen.

But for right now, I just wanted to get this blog rolling again, say hello to those of you who occasionally stop by, and experiment with writing when I truly have absolutely no reason to put the fingers on the keyboard—except to reach out to something or someone who wants to be reached.

If that is you, feel free to drop me a note in reply to any of my musings.  I look forward to the conversation since I’ll be trapped here in the kitchen for quite some time trying to catch Dash before she poops on the floor.