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Sunday, February 7, 2010


trees practicing yoga

It was one of those beautiful days that there may be half a dozen days in a year so dazzling in its own way. Early this morning I looked outside and thought with the ice on everything, if the sun were to come out it would dazzle the entire mountain. In a short time, the sun did come out and stayed out all day. The temperature rose a few degrees above freezing, but it didn't melt the ice on all the twigs. It lit up every twig in the forest across the road, lit up every tree anywhere like it was covered in diamonds reflecting the light with zillions of tiny rainbows. The whole mountainside must have been glorious.

I went out in it after the temperature rose above 32. I couldn't go to the left out the door the way I usually do for the glacial overhang from the roof with icicles along the edge. It looked like a touch would create an avalanche I don't want to be under. I couldn't see a way of getting by it without touching it in some way. I went straight up the hill to the road. That was a serious effort. Every footstep required punching a hole in the 2 inch ice crust. The foot is held in the position it hit the ground, so there is no turning the foot, only the ankle. I felt like if I were to fall it could break a leg by not letting the foot go with the fall. Something about the snow holding the foot in one position like in a cast made it difficult to stand in. I managed not to fall before I reached the road. Then there was the snow/ice up to my knees requiring that I lift foot straight up to knee height to make the next step. That's uncomfortable too for balance.

All I needed to do was get to the road where the snow has been cleared. Right away I got involved in getting pictures of trees overhead, trees everywhere I looked were beautiful like I knew I'd never see them again. I walked up the road a ways with both Martha and her big sister Jolene from next door bouncing around me, eye contact seeming to be for them as invigorating as petting. With either one, a moment of eye contact and dog jumps ahead to lead the way like dogs do with happiness in her gait. Martha is a completely out of control dog, but after hearing Temple Grandin talk on the NPR interview show Fresh Air, I found something new. She noted that tone of voice is most important with the animals. Of course, I'd noticed that, but it didn't really register until I heard her say it. There it was.

Walking with Martha when she is jumping all around me, jumping on me, I have been keeping her down stiff arming her, which is awfully frustrating to her, almost like punishment. I've started making a vocal sound that is not words, but a human sound that says cut it out, on the order of something a dog would say with a bark. She'd go to jump on me, I'd make that sound and she'd stop that moment and look at me with eyes bubbling over with love. She wants to jump on me because she can't help it. Her eyes are beaming love every time she looks at me. I'm getting a feeling she might be my dog.

She took a liking to me that makes her want to spend her days here. She goes back when the workday is done and the giants are home putting out food for everybody. Maybe she has an affection for me because I give her the very best morsels a dog could ever eat, yesterday's catfood. It's the same as Neapolitan ice cream. I've never seen a dog that didn't eat catfood like no matter how much there was it wasn't enough. Martha gets so aroused eating it that when there's no more she goes to chewing the styrofoam bowl it was in. Martha is young enough that she still has her puppydog eyes that could charm Scrooge McDuck. She dances up and down on her back legs so excited to see me, eyes beaming love messages to me, eyes flashing love for me. I'm finding tone of voice, a human bark, trains her better than the physical part of stiff arming. I think it's because she's tuned in with me such that all she wants is my attention. Just speaking a word to her is as satisfying as a touch on the back.

Out walking on the road with her I found if I talk to her, speaking every once in awhile, keeping her comfortable she's in my attention, she marches out ahead and does her dog thing looking for anything that might be moving off in the woods or anyplace. She and Jolene found 3 deer. Jolene went after them and barked and kept on barking and kept on. I was glad to see Martha did not chase them, she came back to walk with me. A dog that doesn't catch on that chasing deer is futility, that a dog will never catch one, is a dog I take for a bit slow, slow minded. Jolene has loving puppydog eyes too. With her, again, just the attention of eye contact was the same as a touch on the back.

All the time outside, the landscape everywhere I looked was as gorgeous as landscape gets. I found myself most interested in the shapes of the tree branches on out to the twigs, all covered in ice and brought to life by the sunlight like vanGogh paintings. It was as beautiful as I've seen it. I've seen ice on everything before, but not like this. This is a special show I'll never see again. A one day only cosmic event. Returning to the house, I had hands in pockets warming fingertips. They were painfully cold and it took them a while to get warm again.

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