A (typical) morning in my life with two cats and two dogs (let’s overlook the teenagers for now) #parenting #rescuepets #yoga #yogawithpets

It’s Wednesday morning and I’m up before dawn to ensure one of the teenagers I said I would not mention, but already have, does not miss her morning class. I’m emptying the dishwasher while steaming a kettle of water for tea and a too loud clink gets an echoing bang from the other said teenager I promised not to mention. Did I mention it’s Wednesday, which means in our small town in NH there is no school (unless you’re taking classes elsewhere).

Yoda the wise one

Abandoning the chore, I decide to salvage some peace and descend into the dungeon of the house to visit the cat-who-distrusts-dogs, Yoda. Yoda, as always, is elated to see me (unlike the teenagers we’re trying to overlook for now) and promptly comes over for his morning pets. As I settle in for a good hand grooming of the feline, my eye catches upon a white and gray mass near the hand weights. “It can’t be,” I think.

I pull the string to turn on the overhead light.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Yes it is. Stuck to the wire of a portable fan, and even more stuck to the black mat on the floor, is the flattened carcass of a mouse. As I gather spray cleaner, paper towels, and an old bread bag from the shelf beside the cat food, kept in the dungeon for this very purpose, I recall the evening five days ago when Yoda leapt through the cat door and deposited his live catch before my feet. I had my answer.

The desiccated rodent remains now (mostly) cleaned and scraped from the floor and tied inside the (single use) plastic bag and in the garbage bin. I crank open the tiny window, and get ready to settle in for a morning workout under the supervision of Yoda.

Millie the queen of the house

In bounds Millie through the same cat door that allowed entry of the rodent I just disposed of. Full of energy after her night in the coat closet, Millie is ready for second-breakfasts and not so ready for pats. As Millie-who-thinks-she-might-be-a-dog, or as we call her a “cog,” polishes off the scraps of Yoda’s treats and the remainder of his breakfast, I zero in to steal some snuggies. Once again, my eyes hijack the intended moment.

“Is it?”

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Yes it is. A tiny black tick is working its way into Millie’s white coat. Fingers pinch the bugger while the other hand quickly finds the roll of masking tape (also on the shelf for this very purpose) to snuff out the life of the invader.

Thirty minutes later I have managed the semblance of a workout with my trusted guide, Yoda (Millie, true to her nature, has found better things to do with her time) and have also caught myself up on half an episode of ‘The Great British Baking Show.”

Yoda

I figure I’ve at least faired better with the first half of the morning than some of the contestants under the tent. I give Yoda a few more pats and make my way upstairs where the dogs are already taking their second naps of the day on the couches.

Not from this morning, but still typical of my attempts to share the couches

I reach for my laptop to go through the morning’s mail and give Rosy a slight nudge so I can sit down beside her. A waft of dog-perfume greets me as my rear-end meets the cushion. “Never again,” I tell myself for the five hundredth time, “Will I buy a couch with non-washable cushions.” Friday, which we’ve dedicated to renting a commercial washer and hopefully scrubbing the scent of cleaner into the couches, cannot come too soon.

Rosy (bottom) and Zelda (top), caretakers of the cushions

Rosy, on the other hand, appears quite content with her couch, and not too thrilled with a human invading the tiny space beside her. Soon enough I leave her to her nap, and head upstairs to my yoga room with my shadow (aka Zelda) at my heels.

My shadow

Ten minutes later, as my busy mind is finally beginning to settle into the flow of the postures, my fifty-pound black shadow with fur, claws, and a very loud mouth, leaps onto the window seat and starts hollering her displeasure at an unseen presence.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Just for good measure, I check to make sure. Yep. Not an intruder in sight.

I settle back on the mat, while my shadow settles her head on the windowsill to keep watch, and slowly the flow of life returns. But not for long. With a charming chirp, the cog announces her reappearance.

Again, not from this morning, but still typical of my mornings

There is no resisting the cog. Even the dogs, who despise all other felines, have been charmed into near-adoration by this would-be-dog. Adjustments must be made, and the mat must be shared while Millie graces the day with her presence.

Not to worry, though, she’s soon vanished (again), and I nearly, just nearly, get a complete practice in before the not-to-be-mentioned-teenage-son makes his way downstairs and starts rooting around the fridge for some breakfast.

Slow Time #merrymeetinglake #nhlakes #waterhealing

It’s been a week of slow time. Minutes unhurried as they spread languidly into hours that stretch the boundary of day into night. I find myself shedding worry easily. It falls like dead strands of hair ready to let go with the lightest tug. I do not miss its absence, but find myself welcoming the lift of its weight as it releases.

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I needed this week beside the lake, where my eyes can travel the surface of water to meet the rise of Earth before it gives way to sky. Clouds pass by winged travelers. Sea gulls catching gold on their wings, even though the ocean is miles away. They too care not for time or place. Blue dragonflies skim the horizon in search of mosquitos. A cormorant puffs out its chest on the raft we have just anchored as though we have brought it just for him. Another displaced traveler. Or, maybe not. I allow myself to believe I belong somewhere else most days. My home an hour away, holding a calendar of scheduled dates I choose not to think about while I am here. Trading it for this slow time beside the water.

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Most days, I slip inside the fluid molecules to swim. The build of heat releases and the body cools as it finds the memory of origin. I realize how much I need its enfolding.  When I return to land it is to feel the soft, sticky floor of pine needles beneath my bare feet. My soles will be blackened by the end of the week. Tattooed by the reminder of slow time that will inevitably speed up again.

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This week I have found myself thinking, when thoughts slip through the moments, of how much we carry and do no need. How even when we are meant to be relaxing and letting go, we pull out the phone to snap and share. To preserve and even boast, as though we must believe that our time is better than someone else’s. Forgetting that the less we carry, the freer we are. Forgetting that when we let go of all these attachments, there is no separation.

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When I open the artificial screen, I feel its drain. The body constricts. And, so I close it in favor of the easy breath outside doors and windows. Here, where light arrives from sources beyond our grasp, and I can soak in the vast expanse of being. Just being. Present sometimes with just the self, and sometimes with my beloveds and their companions. I find that it is not so challenging, here in this slow lake time, to be a parent to teenagers. To be wife. To be a woman in this stage of life called middle age. I find that it doesn’t matter what I do so much as how I present. That mostly, it’s this letting go. This slowing down, that matters most. This living in time and not through time.