Jumping in puddles! If this isn’t JOY, what is?
Nearly six months after the loss of our beloved dog, Heidi, I can finally string together a few coherent words about her.
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.
When Faith and Joy left home
Hope was lost without them.
“Please come home”, she cried
“I can’t live without you!”
…so they did
and Hope survived.
Poem inspired by photo taken in Waterford, Ireland
It isn’t easy…
balancing life and its pain
with life and its joy
Photo taken at the Titanic Museum in Belfast, Northern Ireland
After weeks filled with hectic preparation
sadly, another Christmas has come and gone.
Anticipation of festive joy was riding high
as a propensity for Christmas magic
was all it took to keep my hope and dreams alive.
Now the holiday is over and the magic is gone –
packed away in plastic containers
amid shiny baubles and strings of lights.
Hope has become just hope again
and dreams have become just dreams
… until next year
when the magic is unpacked.
A poem for my grandchildren:
This morning from my window I saw tracks in the snow.
“Look!” I said to Momma, “Can we see where they go?”
“It’s cold outside!” she answered, “Are you sure you want to do that?”
“Oh, I do!” I said to Momma, “I’ll go get my coat and hat!”
So, I ran to the closet where we keep our winter clothes.
I pulled out boots and mittens plus a scarf to shield my nose.
With Momma bundled up like me, we stepped outside together.
So warmly we had dressed ourselves we didn’t mind the weather.
Tracks led us to the river, then up the rocky ridge,
through the brush and bramble and over the narrow bridge.
We heard a sound then turned to see a fawn and graceful doe
huddled close together under branches hanging low.
The baby deer lay on the ground curled up fast asleep
on a simple bed of crusty leaves where the snow was not as deep.
The doe leaped to attention watching every move we made,
but we were nice and quiet, so she wouldn’t be afraid.
I looked into her big brown eyes and softly said “Hello!”
“So, you’re the ones who left behind the tracks in the snow.”
As Momma took me by the hand, we slowly backed away
from the handsome gentle creatures who had surely made my day.
Across the bridge and through the brush, then up to the plateau,
we paused for just a moment to enjoy the view below.
So brightly the sun glistened that each snowflake was a jewel,
just like glitter on a picture that I had made at school.
Back home I shed my coat and hat. Somewhere I’d lost a mitten.
“Hot chocolate?” Momma asked me as she headed for the kitchen.
“Thanks”, I said to Momma when she handed me a cup.
It tasted great, but really, it’s her smile that warmed me up!
I sat down by the window just as I had done that morning
with thoughts of all we’d seen and done while we were out exploring.
I gazed down to the path where we had been not long ago.
“Look!” I said to Momma, “we made tracks in the snow!”
Always find joy in the little things, my dears!
Nancy Merrill Post a Day: The Things That Matter Most
My poem “Dancing on the Face of the Moon” is featured on Poetry Breakfast this morning!
You can read it here Dancing of the Face of the Moon,
Just this side of midnight, I stepped outside –
an attempt to snag the tail of a summer breeze.
Slowly, a shadow crept over me.
Night turned darker than blackness itself
and I could not see a thing.
I was frightened at first, then I realized
the moon was simply trapped
by obscure clouds.
From the darkened sky, rain began to fall,
blindly tumbling to the ground.
I watched. I waited.
When the moon re-appeared,
I saw puddles on the pavement
and, I swear, they were calling my name!
Joy overtook me and I became a child.
Discarding my shoes, I launched into play;
splashing, prancing, twirling and leaping
from one wet patch to another.
To catch my breath, I slowed to a sway,
and hugged myself with happy arms.
As I bent to and fro, misty moonlight
winked at me
from the raindrops clinging to the trees.
I glanced at my feet and met the moon;
his reflection captured briefly
in the puddle where I danced.
I knelt to touch him,
a caress for the perfect partner he had been;
leading me so aptly
I didn’t even know that he was there.
We smiled at one another, then I stood
and proceeded once again
to dance on the face of the moon.
The sun on my face!
The wind in my hair!
Nothing treads heavy on my mind!
Oh, to go back to those carefree days
when joy was so easy to find!