Waking to a sunny, yet breezy morning, we decided to make an errand run to our shopping town. As always, the scenery was inspirational. We noticed seven deer traversing a cliff face single-file, the way they were traveling making us double check to see if they were actually mountain goats. A single, colorful pheasant ducked into the taller, brown grasses alongside the road further toward town. I wished him well and prayed he'd not run into the path of a car or truck.
On the way home, I started feeling very sleepy and did fall into a painful sleep. I know this is from my skull settling back onto something it shouldn't. By the time I got home, I felt so bad that if I didn't live with this so much of the time, I would surely have gone to the ER. I came inside, took a Percocet and just being home seemed to help a lot.
An old friend called and the visit saddened me. She told me of the successes and praises her band is experiencing. It's a band I helped to found. I'm not jealous and I'm happy as all get-out for her to see these rewards, but I still wish I could be there, be a part of it, see those people and play music again. Be on stage again. It's a big part of my life that I also had to give up. It's just the way things are.
I decided to go for a walk with Quincy, so bundling up against the cold wind, I grabbed my new walking stick to give it a try. A few days ago, I noticed one of our old livestock prods standing in the corner of our shop. We'll never work stock again, so I cut the fiberglass end off to a more appropriate height, wrapped that end with electrical tape and my husband put a rubber tip on the end of it. The prod has a great, rubber handle at the top for me to hold onto. It beats the heck out of my splitting bamboo stick.
With a granola bar in my pocket for training treats, we headed out. I admit I was a bit teary-eyed, and I immediately started a dialogue with God, asking for forgiveness for my reaction to my friend's phone call. Then I felt insight coming into my heart: I had committed no sin. I had been happy for my friend and encouraged her. It is not wrong to grieve what was lost.
I was only going to stay on the flatter part of the forest, but then remembered a little side hill deer trail I had not taken in awhile. I was happy to see that the trail looked like a whitetail freeway from all the cloven-hoofed traffic it had seen lately. I'd walked this little trail a lot this winter, rolling stones from the trail with my toes and stepping to the side to avoid muddy spots.
Quincy bounded along and I worked with him coming back to me at my shout of "Hey!" I thought, as I always do, of my friend who I had hoped would come visit me by now since I'd moved here over a year ago, and how I'd take her down these little natural pathways. I broke a few branches along the way and found more rocks to roll out of the way.
At my usual rest point, I stopped and sat on the moss-covered rock under the scraggly pine. Quincy jumped up and searched my pocket for treats. We shared, me not worrying about doggie-mouth on my fingers as I nibbled a few, small bits of the granola bar.
I thought about going back the way I had come, for the trail is quite short and I wasn't done yet enjoying the woods. Starting back, after a few steps I remembered that there was a steepish climb further along and I didn't have the strength for that. I turned back toward home.
Quincy was in front me, about 30 feet, stopping as he always does to check back with me. I snapped a branch from the trail, looked up and he was gone. I called "Hey" and "Here" and Quincy, but nothing. No dog! He had not done this to me before. I started the climb up toward home, calling and pleading with my little black-haired friend to come back to me and assuage my fears that he would be hit by a car when he crossed the road to get home. Nothing.
I walked faster, fast as I could, knowing it wasn't good for me, but frantic worry pressed me on. When I got to the road, there was Quincy in the driveway, sitting and waiting for me. When I crossed and stood in our gate, I called to him with a treat and he came running to me with such exuberance, relieved that I still loved him and he had done nothing wrong.
What a puzzlement this little dog is! He was abused and surely beaten before we rescued him 3 years ago, and he can't seem to shake the fear that someone is mad at him. Even after three years of almost-excessive love and protection. I realise now that he saw me grimace as I tried to break the stubborn branch, thought I was mad at him and made a bee-line for home.
There isn't much I can do more than I have already done. Just keep loving him and not really expecting him to change. When I next walk him, I'll have him on the retractable leash, and for several trips more, to be sure that experience is out of his mind.