Erin's Everyday Thoughts

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Take Time to Smell the Chicken Bones


A month ago, my brother moved into the house that I've lived in for the past two and a half years. Two weeks ago, I acquired another roommate--a dog named Phoebe. My brother (who's always loved dogs, as I do) rescued Phoebe from a local animal shelter and brought her into our home. There have been adjustments on both sides. My brother and I are getting used to earlier mornings, and more walks. Phoebe is getting used to having her "people" (that's us now!) come and go for work, for life.

She doesn't like it when we leave. It makes her nervous, agitated. If just one person is home and that person (god forbid) decides to take a shower, she's beside herself. One rug has paid the price of Phoebe's anxiety over a 20-minute shower. I can only figure that something happened during the first year of her life (she's thought to be about 1 year old) that gave her this anxiety. She must have been left or abandoned, and the fear that she'll be abandoned once more must linger. Or maybe she just doesn't like to be alone.

This weekend, there hasn't been much opportunity for her to be alone. My brother took a weekend trip. so I've been on dog duty. Phoebe and I have spent a lot of time together--eating, sleeping, and especially walking. Each day, we've taken a walk together. Phoebe isn't the best leash walker. Instead of "heeling" and walking "correctly", leaving some slack in the leash, she's usually either racing ahead at the end of the leash, nearly choking herself, or lagging behind smelling something. Sometimes this is trying, especially if I'm in the mood to take a brisk walk, the sort that will get my heart pumping. It occurred to me during our walk today, though, that all of the smelling and stopping and running and lollygagging is Phoebe's way of getting to know the town. We walk up and down the street, and everything is new to her. Everything is interesting. Everything is a discovery. As she pulls around, nose to the ground, it looks like she's searching for something. As soon as she's found something, you know it. She stops dead in her tracks, plants her feet (very effectively, since she has four to plant), and refuses to budge unless dragged. How exciting it must be for her in this new world!

I imagine that all of the things she finds, when put together, represent her new home. It's a home full of grass, concrete, late summer flowers, foreign dog droppings, the occassional candy bar wrapper, and chicken bones. (Yes, chicken bones. It seems my neighborhood is riddled with them, and Phoebe manages to find every single one. She'll grab one and trot along with it in her mouth until I notice what she's holding.)

My walks with Phoebe also help me learn more about my home. Seeing the way that she explores each foot of the journey reminds me of everything I miss when I get so caught up in thinking and planning and analyzing (thinking about where I've been and where I'm heading) that I forget to look from left to right and notice where I am. I don't always see the interesting squirrels, the out-of-place-in-Ohio plants (bananas growing down the street), and of course the proliferation of chicken bones.

My new mantra is: The world is waiting to be known. (Thank you, Theresa!) I say this to remind myself to pay attention, to take the time to notice everything that's going on around me. Phoebe helps me to know my neighborhood a little bit better. Hopefully I help her to know hers a little better, too, by clicking on the leash and going for a walk.

I'll close with the lyrics to a song that I wrote last year. It started as a testament to a life less planned, but now I often sing it to remind me to pay attention to everything going on around me.

I'm Onboard

I don't know where we're heading, but I'm onboard
A speeding train just gliding past that station door
I'm tired from all these years of looking straight down the line
There's so much more to see when looking side to side

It's the journey that I want, not the destination
So much comes from taking time to see what's on your mind
It's the time we take to laugh in every situation
I refuse to waste my time thinking only what's ahead

I think I've spent the better portion of my life
Just wondering what things will be like when I am a wife
Instead of taking time to figure out my soul
I've spent the hours on planning my way through this world

And it's the journey that I want, not the destination
So much comes from taking time to see what's on your mind
It's the time we take to laugh in every situation
I refuse to waste my mind thinking only what's ahead

And there will be a time to think about the future
When I know I want to hold you for all the years to come
But for now I'll be content to make today the focus
Giving all I have to give with no thought of what's to come

I don't know where we're heading but I'm onboard
A speeding train just gliding past that station door
I'm tired from all these years of looking straight down the line
There's so much more to see when looking side to side

And it's the journey that I want, not the destination
So much comes from taking time to see what's on your mind
It's the time we take to laugh in every situation
I refuse to waste my time thinking only what's ahead
Only -- what's ahead?

4 Comments:

  • When I was an adolescent, we had a cat named Phoebe. Phoebe was a character in one of my mother's favorite soap operas (All My Children). The cat was named for her extreme nosiness (even for a cat). Does Phoebe belong to your brother or are you joint master of Phoebe? She looks like a big sweetie. Do you still have your other roommates as well? Have you heard about your job? Will you write a story about Phoebe? You can e-mail me or answer on your blog. Theresarrt7@aol.com

    By Blogger Theresa Williams, at 11:12 PM  

  • dur dur etre doggy.

    By Blogger Tripp_Fontaine, at 10:03 AM  

  • I agree with Theresa, Phoebe looks like a big sweetie. Thanks for your kind words at my blog. I like your song! I'd love to hear you sing it. It's a philosophy I am trying hard to embrace, the moreso the older I get, and this weekend, I definitely did something along those lines, and I have to say, it feels good.

    Judi

    By Blogger emmapeelDallas, at 10:05 PM  

  • Erin, how is Phoebe doing?

    By Blogger Theresa Williams, at 4:25 AM  

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