I feel a bit swamped at the moment. #drowninggirlclub (It’s on the tattoo wishlist)
Think i’m not reading enough, working a lot (the main problem) and when I am there it’s quite stressful, not getting much time to hold any kind of substantial conversation with my number 1 that isn’t about the dog.
On the upside I am getting sunshine, exercise and fresh air when I’m not at work so I know there’s good things happening but my feet just don’t feel like they’re on the ground.
I wanted to write more in-depth about a couple of things from the last few weeks, but for now I’ll just record them in case I forget.
1 was the little boy Hogan barked at who initially looked quite afraid and then it was as if he made a decision not to be. He ran back towards the dog and I with his hands clasped in front of him and said “It’s okay, it’s okay – he’s just woofing at my ladybird” and held his hands up.
Little bugger choked me up in a second.
2 was my attempt at getting Hogan swimming.
I’d walked for hours on a hot sticky midweek evening, a bikini under my clothes, and every spot i thought would be free around the lake was full of friendly dreads smoking weed, or boisterous less-friendly teenagers and girls screaming at their friends for not being brave enough to jump in. We’d taken a bit of a jungle route off the path and were stung and cut by nettles and thorns.
I swung around and started back towards the car almost admitting defeat, when we ventured into the woods and found a perfect little spot where a woman was getting dressed having taken a dip. I explained my plan of testing Hogan with deep water and she encouraged me to try it here.
The dirt was wet and smooth leading into the lake’s edge where a felled tree looked as if it bobbed in the water a foot out from the shore. The woman had a scruffy lurcher type dog who’s name I’m sad to have forgotten. There were other people’s things there on the dry bits of earth and Hogan’s excited patter muddied their t-shirts and towels but the woman seemed relaxed about it and was lovely to the dog.
Hogan settled and I pulled my clothes off, stuffing them in my bag as my feet slowly slipped backwards and the mud came up through my toes. The woman offered to take the dogs lead while I dropped into the water sitting on the shiny tree which I now found to be steady and sure. She passed me the lead while we chatted about anything and Hogan looked at me with his head on a tilt appearing to ask where the bottom half of my body had gone as I’d slipped into the murky lake.
As she sat down she turned slightly away and pulled some knickers on under her dress. I felt guilty for disturbing her without realising she’d not got that far in redressing but the easy conversation we had had made me grateful that she’d not been embarrassed or too uncomfortable to speak to me when we’d come trundling into her spot.
I tried hard to coax Hogan into the water and I could tell he was feverishly curious but not quite willing to take the plunge. In the end I popped off the back of the tree and into the open water beyond it and he hopped about the long grass covered mounds of earth on the bank. He huffed and boffed so I lured him closer to me with his ball and he stepped out onto the narrow tree. He half slipped off with panic in his face regained his position but was worried more so than he had been. I stoked him and reassured him and then gently pulled him in to the water with me. His eyes went wide and I could almost hear him shouting “Jesus Christ are you crazy!” At me as he frantically paddled around me and then climbed me like a set of stairs, claws in my thighs and tummy. I pulled us back over to the tree and he hopped out and shook repeatedly. the dark spots that had become more prominent under his fur, getting weaker with each shake of his body. He seemed a lot cooler but also more on edge so I followed him out and tried to dress over my sodden bikini. I’d brought a towel but didn’t really use it and we said our thanks and farewells to the kind woman and walked out of the woods with bare feet. Back on the path I could see the dog was a bit unsure so I tried to reassure him. The tennis ball came out and I think he’d forgiven me.
On the walk back we passed a pond that I’d actually forgotten was there. Tom and I spotted still-tailed frogs and frogspawn there earlier in the year. I felt warm and happy walking past it again, in the heat of the summer, this time it was moss covered and i had Hogan in tow.
He went over to sniff at some long wide blades of grass against the edge of the water and with no warning at all, as I’ve witnessed once before in my old canine friend Max, leapt over the long grass and into the pond. I took a few big strides over there in case he might have needed a hand out but he calmly swam in a tight circle and dragged himself up the side and shook his body covering me in little green bubbles. The look on his face appeared, inexplicably, to shoulder some blame my way. It was comforting to see him move a bit more naturally in the water.
It felt good talk to a few strangers more than just the briefest of chats in passing. It feels like a remedy to some of the darker things we read about or see in our jobs somehow. I’ve found the dog great for that already but an old chap Tom and I met on a long walk talking about crops is my favourite so far. I think he was Tom from the future and our future is something I’m excited about while recognising that I’m living it every next day. ❤