Monday, August 31, 2020

A Childhood Vision on the Road with Dusty Quinn

Dusty Quinn

It started out an ordinary walk.  Dusty and I ambled the familiar neighborhood paths here on the end of our peninsula.    We had passed the small farmhouse many times before, but this day was different.  Dusty stopped, turned to face the house and sat.  In the yard beyond the picket fence was a small child, a little girl wearing a pink dress dancing in the patch of wild daisies, a tiny black kitten romping alongside her.  With the pause in our walk I was given the opportunity to take in a bit of life’s sweetness.   I felt a little teary as we continued on our way, my heart holding the sweet moment, my mind resurrecting a long ago memory.    


Have you ever visualized your ideal place?  My vision was a farm.  I saw my farmstead when I was eight, the day I rescued the little black kitten from the middle of the street.  I ran straight home with the tiny stray and begged my father to let me keep him.    “I’m sorry,” he said.  “I know how much you want a pet, but you know how Mother’s allergies are.   We’ll take him to the shelter.  They’ll find him a good home.  And it wouldn’t surprise me one bit to someday see you in a big house of your own full of cats and dogs.  You can do it, my spirited girl.”   I saw my farm right then. The graveled driveway was winding and tree-lined. The house itself was a large, two-story white structure with a set of forest green shutters on each of the five upstairs windows. A screened porch ran the length of the front of the house. Two long, cement steps bordered on each side by pots of sprawling, unkempt ferns led to the middle screen door. To the right of the overgrown lawn were several white Adirondack chairs around a stone fire pit. There was a large, rickety chicken coop off by itself on the left.  Snippets of glistening bay peeked through the tall pines that lined the back of the property. And there were animals, mostly cats, dogs and chickens on the porch, on the lawn, around the coop.

The clear image as seen by a little girl was fleeting, but I’ve come to realize that childhood visions can live on the edge of possible until resurrected by chance or design.   My home today isn’t quite that farm I envisioned, but close enough.  There’s property for peace and quiet, a magnificent view of blue bay and snowcapped mountains through the towering aromatic pines, Adirondack chairs on the deck and always room for animals.  In the company of critters I am alive, engaged, present.  When Abner bumps his cool kitty nose against mine I acknowledge his sweet greeting with pats.  William’s sharp feline stare at six and four keeps me in line with the proper feeding schedule. And the unconditional love and quiet wisdom of my dearest Dusty invites personal growth.  Mother would likely be appalled at the cat hair on the couch and dog poop in the yard, but on stormy nights with warm, furry bodies cuddled on my lap and wind blowing down the chimney I hear my father whispering – “You can do it, my spirited girl.”  

That walk with Dusty, a mere blip in time, made my heart happy, my spirits soar.  It opened my mind to experiencing joy in the now and the long-lived power of thought.  My positive childhood vision is alive and well today.  If not for Dusty, would I have witnessed that beautiful moment?  Would I have paid attention?  Sometimes a seemingly simple life choice (a walk with my dog) overwhelms me with the richness of encouraging possibilities.    It’s just a matter of hitting the pause button, ditching mundane distractions and taking notice.  Seems I do that best in the company of critters.  So I’m on the road with Dusty Quinn being aware, embracing the moment, appreciating the good stuff always available when I stop and see and, perhaps, shed a tear of gratitude.