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Posts tagged: cherylannemillsap.blogspot.com

A Tired and True Companion

   For most of my work-from-home career, we’ve shared an office and a routine. As soon as the door closes behind the rest of the family, we go to work.

   I have a tendency to fuss and fidget, jumping up from my computer to answer the phone or scan a document or make another cup of tea. He is more quiet. More content. He makes himself comfortable nearby, watching me move around, paying attention to what I’m doing, especially when I wander into the kitchen. He’s always willing to join me in a snack. Occasionally he gets restless and asks to go outside, but for the most part, he’s happy to simply share the space with me

   Actually, that’s the way we used to spend our days. Things are changing now. At 14, he’s an old dog. He no longer sits and watches me work. Now, as soon as we’re alone for the day, he is instantly asleep. He sleeps deeply and quietly, seldom “chasing rabbits” in his dreams the way he used to. I can step over him, open the refrigerator and even crunch into a carrot, his favorite treat, without waking him.

   And when he is awake, he doesn’t move a lot. Moving hurts, I can tell. He rarely climbs the stairs to my daughter’s room and even the two short steps leading from the kitchen to the back yard are sometimes difficult. Sometimes, as he sleeps, he groans softly, forgetting to hide the aches and pains.

   The other day, on deadline and stuck for the right word, I pushed away from the computer and my restless eyes wandered away from my keyboard and chased ideas around the room, gazing out the window, over the newspaper on the floor beside my chair, before settling on him.

   For a while I watched him as he lay there, remembering the day I brought him home. At just over a year old, he was a big, strong, sensitive puppy with a tendency to worry. But he had the soul of a rambler, which is exactly how he came to be with us; a stray who’d been picked up and taken to the Humane Society. And for the last 13 years I’ve had to keep my eye on him because he still likes nothing better than a solitary walkabout. Even now, on a bad day as stiff and slow as a mechanical toy, when I let him out the back door I have to watch him or he’ll slip away and stroll down to the park on his own.

   The saddest thing is that he can no longer drop and have a good roll in the snow. That was always his favorite thing to do on a winter day, to roll back and forth, scrubbing his coat in the fresh powder. I used to laugh at him when occasionally he would stop rolling and, relaxed and content, his feet still in the air, he would lie there for a few minutes gazing up at the sky like a child. Now he just stands and looks down at the snow for a moment and then moves on.

   I thought about all of this as I watched him and my throat tightened. I just don’t know how much more time we have together.

   Pushing my computer aside, I dropped down onto the floor beside him. He didn’t move. Stretching out, I lay beside my old dog and draped my arm over him, pressing my face into the rough fur of his back. He woke up enough to lift his head and look back over his shoulder at me as his tail thumped the floor a few times, but if he was surprised to find me lying on the floor next to him, he didn’t give any sign. He just stretched a bit, sighed deeply and went back to sleep.

   I lay there a few more minutes, taking and giving comfort, thinking about time and how it always slips away from us in the end, and then got up and went back to my desk. Back to my computer. Back to work in the company of my tired and true companion.



Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance writer based in Spokane, Washington. In addition to her Home Planet , Treasure Hunting and  CAMera: Travel and Photo blogs, her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com

To See the World Through a Child’s Eyes

(Photo by Jenna Millsap)

 

 

   My first grandchild arrived late last Sunday afternoon. As I sat by the phone, waiting for the call that she was here, safe and sound, I thought about what life will be like with this new little girl in our lives. I recalled late-night feedings, first words, bicycles with training wheels and first days of school, thinking it wasn't that long ago that I was experiencing all those things with my own firstborn. And now she's a mother.

   Looking ahead, looking for one special thing I can be to her, I imagined the places I can take this new granddaughter of mine, the parts of the world I'd like to show her.

   There is nothing like traveling with a child to open your eyes and ears. Our youngest daughter has traveled with me quite a bit and always, upon our return, I am startled by the things she teaches me. As only the young can, she notices things that escape me.

   Three years ago we sat in a garden in China, resting from the breakneck pace of the trip, and she pulled out the camera and set it to video. I asked what she was recording, looking around to see what had gotten her attention.

   “Nothing,” she said. “Just the sound of the birds.”

   I'd been so focused on my aching back and taking in the details of the exotic design of the garden and temple we'd been exploring, I hadn't even noticed the air was full of birdsong. Every treetop trembled with birds calling out and trilling to one another and we sat silently, listening, capturing that moment forever.

   The new baby is home now and everyone is adjusting to their new roles. I'm adjusting to being an advisor, not the CEO, and my daughter is learning to trust her own wisdom. But I look at those tiny feet and I am filled with secret plans to take them to the most wonderful places. To see the world anew through the eyes of this beautiful child.

Read more here.

 


Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance writer based in Spokane, Washington. She blogs about travel and photography at CAMera and antiques and collectibles at Treasure Hunting. Her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com

Taking the Bay View

(Photo by Cheryl-Anne Millsap)

 

A bridge is more than a way to physically cross from one side to another. Many are works of art, sculptures of steel and wire. And the image of a bridge is a good metaphor for change, for leaving one state and entering another.

As someone crossing into new territory, bridges have been on my mind a lot lately especially as I sit down to write my next Home Planet column. So when I was looking at photos to post on my CAMera travel blog, I came across this image of the Oakland Bay Bridge. It was taken at the end of a June weekend spent exploring San Francisco, on the evening before I was to fly back home.

Like most everyone who flirts with the City by the Bay, I'd fallen under it's spell.

Although I love to travel, I'm willingly grounded for the next few months. My suitcase is in the closet and my passport is put away until spring or even summer. My next big adventure is closer to home, but that doesn't stop me from daydreaming. But I'll write more about that later.

Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance writer based in Spokane. Follow her on Twitter at @CAMillsap

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About this blog

Cheryl-Anne Millsap's Home Planet column appears each week in the Wednesday "Pinch" supplement. Cheryl-Anne is a regular contributor to Spokane Public Radio and her essays can be heard on Public Radio stations across the country. She is the author of "Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons."

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