My Dog, My Refuge

I have been calling representatives and senators, signing petitions, and donating money to various organizations for the past two weeks.The confirmation of Betsy DeVos today hit me (and millions of other concerned citizens) pretty hard. After the news came through, for comfort, I turned my attention away and towards my dear Oliver, and all the other dogs I’ve met in the real world and in art.

In this photo, I sense Oliver’s complex brand of thinking: meditative, questioning, taking care of, and angling for attention and treats.oliver-in-chair-2-2017



Am I Too Lazy for Words?

John, Oliver, and I are luxuriating in the drop-dead gorgeous weather and views here at the cabin. I have become addicted to my small rock-enclosed garden. Oliver delights in being off leash with his big delicious sticks. And John reads and reads and reads. I’m trying to translate all this spatial freedom into words (and eventually poems) but am overcome by not doing. Am I lazy or  porous or hypnotized or all three?

Calm Morning in the Catskills

Oliver and I awoke around 7 this morning when the light here is at its best girlish self, light and playful. I checked on my garden in its circle of native rocks, and Oliver investigated the  olfactory traces of last night’s animal guests. Now he is scratching at the door to go out again. Cheerio, Luv, as Mick Jagger used to say, back in the sixties.


Easter Dog Walk

Oliver and I both welcomed the sun on our walk down Second Avenue today. The Bradford Pear trees were just beginning to blossom and I asked Oliver to sit while I photographed him by the daffodils outside a high-rise office building near Dag Hamarskjoldt Plaza. He didn’t exactly stay seated but I took a few photos of him with the daffodils and of me with the Bradford Pear tree blossoms in the background.

I am making a simple Pot au Feu, or boiled beef, for our dinner, so I decided to pick up a strong red wine to accompany the dish. Oliver loves the wine store because the staff keep a full bowl of Mother Hubbard dog biscuits near the checkout counter. He ended up getting two treats before we left, and I bought three bottles of red wine–two from Spain and one from the Languedoc region of France, a place John and I traveled through  in the late 1990s. We will have the Languedoc wine for our Easter dinner.IMG_5546


Doing Tai Chi with Oliver at Amster Yard

I love to start off these short, dark days by walking my six-year-old mini-poodle, Oliver, to the cloistered inner patch of green at Instituto Cervantes in Turtle Bay, Manhattan. Oliver dashes around in the dead leaves and brush in search of chewables, and I do the first third of the short form, ideally three times. Soon Oliver is chewing  on a stick and luxuriating in the smells only he is privy to, while I try to balance and move “without doing.”  Somehow there is a correspondence between the two of us during those moments that reassures me.

Amster Yard, My secret garden

At Detmold Park with Oliver

Both of my parents are gone now, and I am in the midst of going through my parents’ possessions–what to keep, what to donate, what to give to friends. It is a sad and wistful task that makes me wonder about my need for books, paintings, sculptures, plants, and other physical objects to be around me–and about my difficulty with partings of all kinds.

So today I took a break from all that to spend time with my favorite uplifting canine, Oliver. We sat together at Detmold Park by the East River in midtown Manhattan–playing some catch, warming in the sun, and admiring the shirred, gleaming water.

A woman nearby was doing some form of meditation that was unfamiliar to me; it involved taking certain stances and holding them for prolonged periods of time. She didn’t smile or invite eye contact but her efforts inspired me to do a little tai chi, just the first third of the Yang short form 3 times. It’s always a mixed bag for me to do tai chi en plein air. I like the air but I don’t want to be seen. I guess it makes me feel ostentatious and/or self-conscious, but I carried on and ended up feeling better for doing it.

I am free from my former day job now, so there’s no excuse for me not to be writing and reading a lot! Now is the time.

Oliver herds me along with his beauty, his energy, and his enthusiasm.

JP & Oliver 10 20 15