It’s a good day to be a dog

It’s one of those days when I wake up and I cannot see a single reason to launch myself out of bed. I think about the difficulties of keeping my leaping dogs from jumping the fence. I remember that my husband, who has Alzheimer’s Disease and doesn’t live here anymore, didn’t know my name yesterday. I think about my birthday coming up next week and how no one will be around but the dogs. The bed is warm, there’s no reason to get up early, so I think I’ll stay there. But I know that the longer I lounge, the less time I will have to get anything done, plus the dogs are hungry and I need to use the toilet, so eventually I do get up. I shower, eat breakfast and dress in yesterday’s clothes.

The sun is out. After breakfast, I join the dogs, Annie and Chico, on the deck. In my jeans, tee shirt and two layers of sweatshirts, I’m almost warm. I decide to be like the dogs today, with no agenda, just living in the moment.

We live a half mile south of the Newport airport. Most of the small planes and helicopters that take off from there buzz over the house and are gone, leaving no trace. As I gaze at the scattered clouds, I notice a plane rising straight up, leaving a contrail that starts back behind the eastern trees and goes all the way across the sky like a white rainbow. I watch it go through the wispy clouds, disappear in the thicker clouds and come out the other side, finally ending somewhere behind the western tree line.

Over time, the contrail moves with the earth and slides southward, its edges going in and out of the thunder clouds that have trapped the sun so well that I can comfortably stare straight at it. It looks like a full moon. Nearby I see a patch of colors, not a rainbow, but a rain-patch of pink, blue and yellow.

A few minutes later, the plane gone and the rain-patch faded away, I stare at the holes in the grass and wonder what to fill them with. I look at the sticks on the other side of the fence. This time of year the berry bushes, tall as the gutter on the roof, look like something I ought to cut down, but in a month they’ll be green, covered with leaves and flowers, followed by bright orange salmonberries. The robins will grab the berries and carry them to their nests. The bare alders will fluff out as if clothed in tiered Mexican skirts with flowers in their hair.

The official first day of spring is only two weeks away, although those of us who live on the Oregon coast know that it will probably continue to rain through June. A wet Fourth of July is not uncommon. Still, the flowers and the sun bring comfort and the promise of our delicious Indian summer when I can spend my days on the deck and watch my hands, face and neck turn brown.

The contrail has fluffed out now, like it’s crocheted, and it’s moving slightly, going more and more to the side.

The hot tub is the main dry place to sit right now. Annie is here with her head in my lap, and Chico, after a sloppy face kiss, is walking across, making it feel like a rocking deck. Will these plywood boards hold our combined 350 pounds? We’ll see. Crashing into the chilly water below would be a shock.

Now the contrail looks like the vertebrae on a spine being pushed into the gray-black cloud from both directions. In a minute, the left side is gone, the right looking like a frayed piece of wool. The light has dimmed. A cool breeze rattles the wind chimes. Rain is coming. It’s time to go be a dog in the house.

Author: Sue Fagalde Lick

writer/musician California native, Oregon resident Author of Freelancing for Newspapers, Shoes Full of Sand, Azorean Dreams, Stories Grandma Never Told, Childless by Marriage, and Up Beaver Creek. Most recently, I have published two poetry chapbooks, Gravel Road Ahead and The Widow at the Piano: Confessions of a Distracted Catholic. I have published hundreds of articles, plus essays, fiction and poetry. I'm also pretty good at singing and playing guitar and piano.

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