Middle of the road

Lily, my lovely husky-mix rescue, loves to walk down the middle of the road on her walks. Maybe she likes to smell where the occasional flattened squirrel was. We have sidewalks. Only on 1 side of the road except the cul-de-sacs where there are no sidewalks. (Do you know that cul-de-sac is fancy French for “bottom of the bag”?? Probably people just don’t like “dead-end”). Good thing we do not have a lot of traffic in this subdivision and the speed limit is only 25, not that many people honor that. There are also some streets with speed bumps. And sidewalks. Someone I used to walk with before they moved once told me asphalt streets feel softer to dogs than concrete sidewalks. I guess so, maybe in the summer when they start to melt since they’re basically tar and gravel, but then they are also very hot, except I only walk Lily before sunrise and after dark in summer. She has a very thick coat and I think dogs that get shaved for summer look pretty funny.

Where we are moving has no sidewalks at all. The neighborhood is very small so maybe that’s why. And it is considered outer banks which surprises me since it’s almost near Southport, pretty far south. But I also have to carry special wind/hail insurance. They occasionally get hurricanes there. At least it isn’t in a flood zone.

There is a 12-acre nature trail in this new neighborhood. Lily loves the greenway where we are now, the toads in the summer and rabbits. She knows the toads can’t be caught because of their toxin, so she just chases them until they stop hopping. She loves chasing rabbits but they don’t often give her a good chase, they bounce away before she can get close enough to make it interesting.

Odd to me, moving to a place where I do not know anyone or for family, or a job, just for me and for no other reason than I would like to live there.

Pretty radical I guess, at my age.

the sins of my youth

There is something about transitions– moving, marriage, break-ups, deaths, births, –that makes us examine ourselves, or causes memories, thoughts to surface, and we have to deal with them. Some of them I’d rather ignore, like too many lost weekends in college when the freedom I truly thought I already knew was far more than I could handle– keg parties, skipping classes (not for long), being the farthest from my family than I had ever been and that first Easter I could not get home. I was beside myself.

Not many of these have escaped my thoughts and generally surface in the wee hours, 1, 2 or 3 a.m., when there is nothing but dark, which may be the kindest time, with no glaring light to overexpose them into the garishness they were, or are now that I know better. Bad choices in relationships and hanging on too long, disrespect toward my mother and father, not to a degree worthy of incarceration but such that I feel remorse and now can do nothing about. Opportunities I did not take for whatever reason, that I sometimes wonder, what if?? or if only…

The worst of these have been my fears and indifference. Situations I allowed to escalate because of fear of making things worse and did not step in, or times where leave well enough alone was the best course and I did not, mucking about until it became distorted beyond its original chaos. The indifference is what scares me most I think. Times when I became dispassionate about something very important to me because my meager efforts had proved fruitless and I became discouraged or, worse, decided whatever I could do would not be enough and therefore did nothing.

Sometimes we have no idea I think of the effect we have on life. I know much has been said about the “butterfly effect” where something so seemingly insignificant as the blithe flap of a paper wing creates a tsunami on the other side of the world. Who knows? We rail and beat ourselves silly about things that do not matter much, and barely give a nod to those that do. Or we agonize over choices we make, never knowing the outcome or consequence or result of that which is not chosen, and wonder if the choice we made would matter as much as the one we did not.

Isaiah 30:21

Polar geyser??

So we are in a polar vortex. Not as bad here as many places but cold enough. If we’d had the rain last night that we got 2 nights ago we’d have a skating rink. Mid to upper 20s this morning. I forgot about the vortex. I could not understand why my fingers were completely numb when Lily and I took our walk, or why the birds didn’t come to the deck railing for their breakfast first thing. Even the squirrels left the sunflower seed feeders alone.

So I’m wondering what the opposite of a vortex is. If anybody knows please tell me. No online dictionary has it, they all say “no definition found”, and even the Oxford English, which is the only dictionary I have access to since my other ones are all packed and this one’s too big, offers no help: “a situation where persons or things are steadily drawn, from which they cannot escape”. Well, then a geyser by virtue of its spewing out, violently, would to me be the natural opposite, right? But there is no such thing where the weather is concerned, that I know of. A geyser creates an emptiness which then needs to be filled and nature abhors a vacuum. Weather is present no matter what. Every day we have sunny weather, rainy, snowy, cold, windy, or some sort of atmospheric condition that fills up our world. A vortex just sounds so terrible. You imagine black holes, the bottom of the universe falling out, something drastic, catastrophic even.

I remember when I lived in Florida in late winter there would be really dense fogs some mornings. I walked my dogs down by the St. John’s River and we’d wander out along the dock. One such morning I took a picture of Savannah, a border collie I had at the time. I had no idea it would turn out the way it did (early on in the age of digital photography). There she stood, gazing alertly into the deep river water at something only she could see, enveloped by misty grey thickness that I had not seen through the lens when I took the picture. “Savannah in the vortex” I called it.

Words are so powerful. We have to be careful how we use them.


I am probably one of the clutziest people around. I can be in a wide open space and somehow fall over the only fencepost or stumble over a smooth sidewalk. Learning to ice skate was terrifying but I loved it once I got it. Horseback riding was no problem because I wasn’t doing any of the work. And I really love horses. They are very smart, take no guff from anything or anybody. You know where you stand with a horse, he either likes you or he doesn’t.

I am also, as I get older, way too outspoken. It may be a matter of my mouth running ahead of my brain, or maybe part of my brain tries to out-think the part that really wants to use discretion, for the sake of time. Whatever, I say way too many things that I truly wish I could say differently or even not say at all. Sadly, as we all know once something is said it’s there. You can’t unsay it, the vibrations, they say, float around in the air forever. Somebody once told me even George Washington’s voice is still somewhere in the atmosphere. After all these years I can only imagine how distorted that would sound.

Anyway maybe I’m not alone in this. I hope not. But I wish I were more careful about what I say or even how I say it. That can make a difference in total meaning as anybody knows who’s seen that thing where people move commas around in a phrase. Makes the whole thing mean something else entirely.

For that matter as far as it goes I guess letting things roll off our backs is probably the best thing. At least that way something somebody said that could potentially annoy us we can just let it go.

So I guess grace is a handy thing to have either on the receiving or the giving end.

2 Corinthians 12:9

The end of time

When I was little daylight savings time was such a gift. Hours of day stretched out before me through the summer. Days my friends and I played kick-the-can till everything was grainy-gray or till a parent yelled out the back screen door to come in, “Now!” Days we could watch lightning bugs twinkle in the evening shadows, soft summer winds playing with our hair.

I look forward now to the day each fall when I get that hour back. Somehow now, when that clock hand turns back in spring all I can think of is when I rise at 5 or 5:30 in the morning it’s really 4:30, and when I go to sleep it’s only 8. But the last night of dst brings a restful slumber, partly because I sleep much better in cold and by now our temps are playing with the 30 degree range. Also because I know that when I wake up next morning and look at the clock and I see 6 a.m. it really is 6 a.m., not 5.

Maybe it’s something to do with being honest about things and I really don’t like pretending, even about something as neutral as whatever hour it is or if it’s day or night. People who travel a lot must not be bothered at all by this because wherever they go the time is vastly different from wherever they left, depending on where they go or where they live. Say I went to Israel. Well, being on the US east coast, it’s 7 hours’ difference, ahead of me. Or Alaska? Four hours earlier, 5 in some parts. And Arizona does not observe daylight savings time at all. My business used to deal with a small company there, near Flagstaff and on one occasion I asked the young woman I spoke with over the phone about it. She laughed.

“Honey, we don’t need any more daylight out here!”