Foto Friday #53

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Brown is not drab – it is the color of Mother Earth itself! It is rich, fertile soil and plowed land. It is rocks and sand and the bark on trees. It is also glacier-stripped mountains and volcanic remains, like here in the Highlands of Scotland. There is a sturdy, rugged appeal to brown.

For Color Your World Photo Challenge: Brown

Photo taken near Glen Coe, Scotland

A Poem for Heidi

Nearly six months after the loss of our beloved dog, Heidi, I can finally string together a few coherent words about her.

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A Poem for Heidi

Lonely the yard where she once played

Cold the bed in which she laid

Silent the squeak of her favorite toy

Gone the source of our constant joy

Mournful the heart which continually weeps

 Our faithful companion now gently sleeps

We got our white schnauzer puppy 16 ½ years ago. She was supposed to be “my” dog – and she was – for about two weeks! Then a work conference required that I leave town for a few days, at which time she completely bonded with my husband, and he with her. They were the best of friends until the day she died. Don’t get me wrong, she loved me too, but I was clearly her second choice… except during a storm when she was all over me!

When Heidi was young, she would obsessively sit on her perch at the front window and guard the house while we were at work. She took her job very seriously, barking nonstop at the neighborhood children as they went to and from school or played outside during the summer.

Her favorite thing to do was play ball. She liked tennis balls with a squeaker inside because it was always such fun to be noisy. In the house she liked to stand at the top of the stairs and catch the ball we tossed up to her; then she would nod her head, release the ball and throw it back down. It’s a game she was very good at! Outside, she would fetch the ball from anywhere you threw it, then run like the wind to return it precisely at your feet.

By the time we retired, she began to slow down. I think she was happy to hand over the responsibility of protecting the house to us now that we were home more often. She got used to the routine of two walks a day. My husband would take her in the morning, and I would take her in the afternoon. She could get very demanding if she thought her walk might be delayed. Sometimes while running errands, I’d realize it was nearing 2:00. “I’ve got to get home”, I’d tell myself, “It’s almost time for Heidi’s walk!”

She began to have trouble keeping her footing on the hardwood floors inside our house, so we put down extra rugs here and there to help her walk. Eventually, nearly every square inch of slippery floor was covered with a rug. We carried her up and down the stairs for several years.

Arthritis and kidney problems plagued Heidi in her old age. She became intolerant of anyone touching her, so grooming was an issue. She looked like a homeless mutt at times, but you know what? If I was in pain, I wouldn’t want someone messing with me either!

We removed most of the rugs from the hardwood floors after Heidi was gone. I find the floors a little boring now; just like life is sometimes without her.

Foto Friday #52

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These are the rooftops of Cesky Krumlov, a captivating little medieval village in the Czech Republic. You enter through the arches of an ancient city wall to discover a maze of cobblestone streets, a meandering river, and one of the finest castle complexes in the world. The castle is uniquely surrounded by a moat filled with bears instead of water! Cesky Krumlov is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is easily loved by all who visit.

For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Roofs

Mother’s Garden

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Last night steady rain fell here in the garden,

flooded now with memories of my mother.

The morning sky

still hangs low with heavy clouds

but leaks pale yellow light here and there.

“Sunshine is good for the Cannas,”

I hear her say.

I wonder if she ever knew how little I cared;

how unimpressed I was at the time

with her gardening wisdom?

Nurturing her garden was my mother’s gratification

… a diversion from the unfair hand

she was dealt.

I pull weeds from a patch of Begonias

and remember her happy.

I watch ants parade through the Peonies

and remember her healthy.

I prune the Roses, deadhead the Daisies,

and tie the Clematis a little bit higher for dramatic effect;

but my efforts don’t match the beauty

of Mother’s garden.

Sunlight fades; the air is still.

I realize I’ve tended the garden all day long.

I imitate the Lilies

which have folded themselves in prayer.

“God, grant me another day,” I ask

“filled with memories of Mother’s garden.”