Space Poodle

If I were going to tell a story about heroism, it would start with a girl and her dog.

I’ll be forty in a matter of days now.

And my life is quieter now than it used to be. More studied and less reverential. I’m probably talking about wonder rather than beauty. It’s less important now to be awestruck than to be still. To watch the youngest dog lap behind the house, and up to the fence gate and onto the porch. To rush inside to the alpha, then back out again to the sick dog with her tragic cone and seeping wounds as she tries to rub her face in the snow.

You get all this.

Paw prints of ice on a path around the place. The stored canoe waiting patiently for spring. The rapidly dwindling wood supply.

For Christmas, Tiffany Patterson painted us a glorious Space Poodle. How could she know that’s the way I think of heroism? That we start our story with a girl and her dog. And we go on telling that story until there’s another girl and another dog and another. And a boy. A kind boy.

That I have learned to break my own heart with wonder. With love. That I splash my face with water at the sink in the morning and love this world that much harder. Wake. Work. Love.

A girl and her dog. Leaves and pine needles in the snow. A happy dog with her buttercup cone to protect her injuries. Yes, we must protect even our injuries. We must protect them with our love. With our wonder.

I’ve imagined a life with a girl and her dog. Standing on the porch, looking at some point in the distance as though all the adventure is in looking. Is in stillness. Is in wonder.

Space Poodle. The adventure now of being this woman. Nearing middle age.

Loving even the injuries. Especially the injuries. Wondrous as we are. Fragile as landscape. Fleeting as snowfall. Fast as the youngest dog. Lapping. Lapping.

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