Discover more from MINUTIAE of Daily Life
...this is where you'll find me now...
These peculiar footprints in the snow remind me of my old girl, Skye-dog. It makes me recall her later years, miraculously free of her cancer (it was lymphoma, which meant six months of chemo and a new respect for diet, supplements and my own contribution to her recovery) but compromised in her movements by pinched nerves in her back and so, unreliable back legs.
This poor old dog also has walking troubles, dragging both rear feet, making prints that resemble musical symbols or shooting stars. It is only grace that allows us to share our lives with an old dog; I have known many dog lovers who have had to say goodbye to a young dog and it is never fair to have to endure this. Dogs are meant to grow old with us. My newest companion, Scout, is entering her “middle age” at 6 but to me, she is still a joyous puppy and sometimes has ninja moments with sticks.
Since January 2011, four years after I closed my garden store Hortus Urbanus, I have been writing a Blog called “HORTUS 2: There is life beyond retail” on Wordpress . But lately, the entries have become few and far between. My intention when I began writing was to talk about gardens near and far exclusively, but as time went on, I began to write about life … its challenges, joys and other things. Today, I am ten years older and perhaps one day wiser, but times have changed.
I still garden for my clients but I am mindful that time marches on and I won’t be able to do this very physical work forever. So I’m moving my writing from Wordpress to Substack, which is a platform that will allow me to (hopefully) generate subscribers who value our connection and will want to contribute (perhaps financially and through their voice) towards a community of like-minded 60-something women, who have entered a very different time in their lives. I hope to see you here and to have conversations that are meaningful and nourishing. And if you enjoy my writing and photos, that’s a plus!
The walks I go on with Scout are not on pavement. Rather, they are wild walks with undulating pathways, hills, valleys, forests, rivers and streams. It has only been in the last couple of years that I have become mindful of my footing. Whether it’s been another “older” dog walker who raved about his telescoping walking stick or two young women who hooked their arms in mine to get me over some particularly treacherous ground (oh, the indignity!), I am now suddenly aware of my knees. My father used to say to me, “Ails, it’s not fun when your body won’t do what you want it to.” Granted, I’m not that far along (yet) but I am aware that I must swallow my glucosamine, turmeric, collagen and fish oil daily if I am to walk more easily and not hear clicking when I bend my knees.
This year has been unprecedented in terms of loss, loneliness, reflection and sadness. Many have lost their livelihoods (I am keenly aware that my store would not have survived this pandemic), many have not been able to see and touch their loved ones, many have had to take on more responsibilities both at work and at home, and many have had to curb their day to day lives in ways that feel profoundly impersonal. And of course, many have been sick or have suffered a loss in their family or community.
I hope that 2021 shows us mercy. But more than this, I hope the lessons of 2020 allow us to refocus on our families, our communities and our natural world — because these are the most important things in our lives.