shaking off as much sand as we can before we get in

puppy graffiti alarm goes off and I wake up with the feeling like I’m on the edge of the world, like I’m in a void, like nothing’s happened or about to happen, just my heart is pounding.

It takes  a little bit of being up before I can remember my dreams, some big performance I’m supposed to be mc-ing, with or at the CSC, it’s supposed to be like one we’ve done there before but now Robert wants it to be different, only now I can’t remember exactly how.  The first one had had a couple hundred attendees, and now we have maybe 20 or so. It was only 18 minutes past when the show was about to start — more people were probably on their way.  I was trying to get us all to move outside from this big room we were in, so that the show could start — earlier in the dream, I think it was earlier, I was taking an exam, an english test, like reading comprehension, only I started the test late because I was looking for something, like I didn’t have the right exam booklet or something else.  I was cocky about the test, I didn’t really think I needed that much time for it because it would be so easy for me, but then I ran out of time and was going to have to start making educated guesses.  it was a multiple choice exam, and I was trying to remember the rules about educated guessing, like you have to do on the SAT sometimes.

This whole year has seemed like fall, like we moved from winter-rainy season (finally, in May, we moved out of it), into this thick warmish early fall, where the chill’s always just around the corner. Does it seem that way to you?  We’re starting to cook fall things — I’m ready for apple dishes, soup.

When I woke up this morning, I didn’t want to tell you about the dread or the nausea anymore, I wanted to tell you about something else.  About maybe the dog I don’t have yet.  About the shiny black or brown or mottled fur. About the round-pointed snout,. about the Labrador-mixed-with-who-knows-what-else body, barrel chested maybe, round and full. As a puppy, ze would have those paws too big for hir to know exactly what to do with — a sign that ze’s going to grow and grow. Floppy ears that are so soft when you put your face to them.

Now that I think about it, there were dogs in my dream — three of them, lanky, undernourished, coming up on the bed. I don’t have a name yet for this pup — I think the name comes with the animal itself — but I do have a sense of hir, sleeping in a bed of blankets and toys there in the corner of our bedroom, and maybe padding out to the kitchen with me when I get up early for writing time.  Ze gets more excited as ze wakes up, it’s kind of cute, just like Tor used to, sort of zombified and clunking into walls or your knees and then all of a sudden, ze reaches forward into a long morning stretch, the tail starts going hard, there’s a quiet, sharp little whine, like ze just realized you were there again in front of hir. And so I reach down, I squat or fold over, we do our morning love scritches and I let hir out into the back yard and then ze comes with me into the writing room and curls up next to the chair and we write together and maybe my writing is influenced as I listen to hir dreams, the biting-yelps ze makes as ze’s running or playing or chasing on that other plane of existence. After that time, then we walk — we go around the neighborhood, we talk to each other, me with words, hir with wags and hops and sniffs and tugs.

Some days all of us go to the beach, me and the pup and F, and we throw the ball or the stick or the frisbee or whatever it is that ze likes to chase, and maybe ze’s the kind of pup who likes to fetch into the water, and maybe ze just likes an excuse to run into the ocean, to get wet, like hir human, me. I’ll have to chase hir down the beach, reminding hir not to chew on the crab-bodies, on jellyfish. Ze’ll walk proud, curious, head up, maybe run sometimes to catch up with other dogs. We’ll all wander around for awhile, getting dry, before heading back to the car, shaking off as much sand as we can before we get in.

What would it be like to have that dog-presence in my life again? I’m talking to the dogs from before, asking them to help me be ready. What does it mean to be ready? There’s bank-account ready, sure, but then there’s something else — whether it’s time again to open the cage of my heart a crack and let this animal shove hir snout in, sniffing and happy, then wag hir whole self all the way into the room of me.

Is there a big change you’re ready for in your life?  Here’s a sort-of prompt: let yourself write about it as though it’s already happened, with as much detail as you can. Give yourself 10 minutes… or as much as you want!

Thank you for being there and doing all that you do.  I know it’s a lot. Be easy with yourself today, ok?

You know about animal love, don’t you?

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