“My house, I say. But hark to the sunny doves
That make my roof the arena of their loves,
That gyre about the gable all day long
And fill the chimneys with their murmurous song:
Our house, they say; and mine, the cat declares
And spreads his golden fleece upon the chairs;
And mine the dog, and rises stiff with wrath
If any alien foot profance the path.
So, too, the buck that trimmed my terraces,
Our whilom gardener, called the garden his;
Who now, deposed, surveys my plain abode
And his late kingdom, only from the road.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
After a quarter of a century of erosion and poor landscape management , my back yard was beginning to take shape. Not the kind of shape, mind you, that some garden club would take positive note of, but there was this one spot I kinda liked. It had grass on it.
Poised at the top of a slope, it was the only situation out there that has had any immunity to being under siege when the rains come. Every slight drizzle in this area would somehow direct torrents of rainwater rushing frenetically to the ocean, but not able to get there without running through my back yard.
But the Deity obviously recognized my appreciation of this small part of creation, and so coordinated that the flood waters would always skirt around my little hill of tranquility, and I appreciate it. But after all, I am one of the few humans on earth to actually deserve such loving attention.
It was a peaceful little refuge from rocks and thorns for bare feet on a sunny summers day, and the only place out there to stand on wet days and not get muddy. I loved that little spot of turf.
Apparently, though I took no conscious note of it, the dawgs must have been watching television when we thought they were just laying in the living room looking stupid. We might have the TV on, but figured them to take no real interest in it even though most programming is set to their intellectual level. I’ve seen ’em snooze right through a dawg biscuit commercial.
But something on the tube must have gotten their attention, and I suspect that on more than one occasion they took a glimpse at some news segments. I say segments, because the news sorta sprawls out there wiggling, writhing and squirming like a worm, and in such a manner that it’s hard to make out heads or tails.
That’s why the news is usually followed by either ridiculous game shows or a sit-com so that you can let your mind slip gently back into nothingness. This way, everyone is properly mentally prepared to return to work tomorrow, and be jolly cheerful about knowing the primary goal at work is to accept significant reductions in benefits, and take-home pay.
Well, our canine companions certainly must have seen something on the news about congress. It must have had something to do with how our congresspersons go about solving all of the problems for hard working tax payers by digging us deeper and deeper into unpardonable debt–a decades old tradition that is without a doubt the most consistently bipartisan thing they ever do. So, the sweet puppies, with this enlightenment spread all over their combined one half milligram of brains, went out to the only high ground I had… and dugga hole init! It now resembles my retirement package.
I was seriously considering not letting on about this to the Deity during vespers since Brenda likes the dawgs and would not want them to receive some irrevocable condemnation to perdition. I said “considering”, but there was not enough consideration for a contract.
Alas, it was already a bit late for even the slightest hope of charity in that department. As soon as I saw the new swimming pool under construction, I let out a cry far beyond any subtle supplication so as to be heard not only by the Deity, but by every living thing for some distance around. It was intense. My face changed color three or four times.
In fact, you probably heard it too, but thought it was coming from the stereo speakers of a passing automobile, which for some reason is allowed even though it rots the upholstery. I’m sure I used a rather irritating vocabulary normally disapproved of in most lackluster societies (except when coming from car stereos), and aged the paint on that side of my house by several years. English oaths were insufficient: I had to call up every drop of French and Spanish I knew plus all the Latin and German words I could make up. Luckily I was not out of whiskey and tobacco, so in time regained my normal Christian composure.
Yea, though I walk through the back yard on occasion, I don’t live out there permanently even though I may have some legal and proprietary right to do so. The dawgs do, however, and consider it their domain. They’ve marked it the best way they know how, and which to them must rank with the taxes I’ve paid on the place. I go out there some, but to the dawgs it is pretty much their whole world.
Well, as you might expect of me, I’ve studied this matter long and hard to find the proper uplifting lesson in it for us all. You have to do this without uplifting your foot to see what is on the bottom of your shoe, or risk losing concentration. Perhaps if there is any lesson at all, it could be this:
Maybe the rest of us aught to think about the places we might visit from time to time. And when we do, regardless of any expenses incurred by how we got there, we should have a little consideration for those who, by circumstances not always in their control, have to call it home.