Time Out


Yippee! It's morning! Time to get up, Granna.
Yippee! It’s morning! Time to get up, Granna.

My son brings Izzy, his four year-old golden retriever, to our house. We will dog sit until his family returns from their winter vacation.  She’ll be with us for five days. I love this dog, but she’s not easy. She’s big, rambunctious, needy, demanding of attention. Will the time and attention I’m willing to spare be enough for her? I hope so.

We take a little walk. She sniffs around, does her business. Good. We return to the house so I can work and she can rest.

It’s evening.  I feed her and leave for my ukulele lesson. When I return home Fred says our daughter has invited us to join them for dinner at their favorite Italian restaurant. We are delighted. Izzy will be fine alone for a while. She’s been here many times. I give her a treat, tell her we’ll go for a walk when I get home, say goodbye.

Over dinner our granddaughters recount last week’s accomplishments. A perfect score on a difficult and important math test.  A thrilling promotion from the junior varsity to varsity softball team.  Does anything feel better than this time out with them?

Back home, Izzy wakes up  from her nap on the kitchen floor. She looks up at me, tail thumping, waiting to see what’s next. I wrap her leash around my shoulders, stuff a green doggy-waste-bag in the pocket of my blue jeans, and we step out the front door.  Our little neighborhood is small and secluded so the leash is just a back-up plan in case we run into cars or other late-night dog-and-human-walkers.

A late afternoon walk.
A late afternoon walk.

I love being outdoors at night. The fresh cool breeze off the nearby lake. The quiet. The shadows. The open space. The peace. No people to talk to. No cars to avoid. A few pale street lights…just enough to keep Izzy in sight. The pleasure of giving her this time out, knowing she’s enjoying it, feeling confident and secure because I’m there with her.

She stops in the middle of the road, sniffing road kill. It’s too dark and the creature’s too long gone to tell what it is. Was. Osprey, raccoon, opossum, squirrel?  I look at the stars, happy to wait, enjoying her pleasure.  She glances back at me. I step forward, so does she. We move on to the next olfactory infusion. She stops, transfixed. I stop, transfixed. Does she remember I’m here, or is this new smell her entire universe in this moment?

We walk on. She sniffs something else, looks back, reads my body language. “It’s okay. You’re okay,” my body says. She understands and moves on. I’m still her lighthouse. I follow her lead. Knowing we’re connected as surely as if she were on a leash. Gratified that we trust one another so much that she doesn’t have to be tied physically to me. Pleased that she’s free to follow her nose. Humbled that we’re so acutely aware of the significance of each other.

We approach a crossroad. She looks back at me. Looks to the left. Looks to the right. Starts off to the right. No, I think. Left toward the lake is better. No traffic that way. She’ll be safer. I whistle one note. She freezes. Glances back. I point to the left. Just a slight movement of my arm and index finger. She turns around and goes left.

A magical night by the lake.

I feel a surge of joy. This moment. This connection with Nature, this utterly delicious intuitive knowing. This trust between two animals who have such different languages and ways of processing life.

So different, and yet….we see each other. We know each other. In some invisible way we are touching each other, our minds sharing the same time and space. It feels magical. Miraculous. We’re part of a mystery so vast my mind can’t encompass it.

But, oh! I can enjoy it. This night under a starry sky. This dog who trusts me, who I trust. This connection to the unknown. I’m filled to bursting with gratitude and love. Does anything feel better than this time out?

Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at KoboBarnes And Noble and Smashwords. Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc.

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21 Responses

  1. It is a dogs trust and love that gives such a bond; we need it as much as they do, and we are both blessed when we receive it.

    1. Yes, a healthy awareness of our own infinitesimal point of light in a cosmos to which we are connected, and of which we are, despite our smallness, a vital part.

  2. The relationship between animals and humans can feed the soul as your blog clearly indicates. When I was writing “The Amazing Animal” for my mythology course on Mindfunda, I started to remember that I had specific dreams about my pets in the past. Dreams about upcoming their health problems, and more symbolic dreams that referred to my own life. And what a beauty Lizzy is! I can imagine how you fell in love with her.

    1. I still dream of my horse and a special little black dog we once had. Two nights ago my horse Shadow was wearing a blanket on a cool night and serenely munching hay in his stall. Just that. But it felt good being with him. Maybe he’s still just trying to warm my heart as he never failed to do when I was with him…..

  3. A pure delight in reading Jeanie! The beauty of feeling that connection and understanding between you and Izzy is priceless. A jewel indeed. This is ‘knowing’ in one of its purest forms. Thank you –

  4. Dear Jeanie, What a beautiful, poetic post! I felt I was there with you, in the open air, under the starry night. Looking up to iridescent stars, happy to wait. Time outside of time! As souls entwined, and differences fell away … and in their place, deep faith and a connection that filled the heart with joy.
    Oh how you and Izzy shone in the dark, on life’s eternal ground! Thank you so much for opening, and sharing your heart. Beautiful, beyond words. Blessings always, Deborah.

    1. “Time outside of time! As souls entwined, and differences fell away … and in their place, deep faith and a connection that filled the heart with joy.” I wish I had your poet’s way with words, Deborah. Thank you for sharing them here.

      1. That’s such high praise, thank you so much Jeanie! I’ve retweeted this on twitter! But having left last April and only re-joining two weeks ago I lost all my followers, so you may have to follow me again to see the post. See you there! 🙂

  5. Delicious. Those times are essential to me, Jeanie, and I’m not providing enough of them for myself. They’re sacred feminine nourishment. My girl Willow found a deer ribcage with a leg dangling on a recent walk with a friend, so out came the leash for a short time. Willow accepted being leashed, left the bones with a sigh, and was soon off leash again running ahead to see what else she could find . She’s the only dog I’ve ever had who would come willingly to the leash when she knows it means giving up a treasure.
    On those evening wanderings, look to the west for a bright bright showing of Venus as the Evening Star Inanna. You can’t miss her. She’s conjunct Mars now. Mars is much dimmer and a little above Venus. They’re visible with the naked eye, but last night I watched them with my binoculars for a long time around 10 pm–from inside the house through big windows because it’s cold there in NY.

    1. Times like this do feel very feminine to me too: dark, mysterious, connected , centering, nurturing, magical, satisfying. Willow must be a really smart, in-touch dog to come to the leash in a situation like that. I’ve noticed Venus the last several nights…she’s exquisite. I’ll check for Mars too, next time! Thanks, Elaine. I can count on you to keep me connected to the stars! 🙂

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