Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Notes from Birmingham

It's a great city for walking around quietly, but maybe that's only when you're led by the hand by someone who knows it. There are traces of broken rules and neglect if you take a moment to notice: used needles, graffiti, broken windows looking like the smile of a drunkard whose teeth got knocked out in a bar fight.


If you're up for a wander, the canal is a good place to start. When you follow the water, it feels almost like an expedition. Even if you don't really know what you're supposed to discover, it feels exciting anyway.

Friday, July 15, 2016

How to say goodbye, I suppose

Tonight, my dog and I were alone in the house. I took her out of her kennel where she had been cooped up all day (she’s attached to an IV and can’t really move about), and walked her around our garden, trying to get her to pee, because peeing means she’s getting better and her kidneys are working again. No pee. Dejected, I started to lead her back to put her in the kennel.

When we got back to the front porch on the way back in, she stopped and sat down. I tried to coax her in to the house, but she just looked at me as if to say, ‘sit with me, human.’ So I did. She sat on my feet as usual, and we watched as the rain started to pour. We sat there for a long time, both of us just watching the sky and listening to the raindrops. For a moment, I wanted to just run out of the shade and get wet, but she couldn’t come with me and I thought it wouldn’t be fair to make her jealous. So I just rubbed her behind the ears — one of her favourite spots — and her head grew heavy in my hand and I think both of us felt peaceful for the first time in days.

A few days ago we all got blindsided by the news that our sprightly little dog had end stage renal failure. A couple of months ago, she was given a clean bill of health, and yet here she is now, hooked up to an IV, barely moving, barely even eating.

I suppose its too much to ask for another few years with her, even if that’s what I really want. And seeing her miserably restricted to small corners of the house at a time because of her IV is depressing, especially since this dog loves moving about and discovering new corners to hide in.

I hope I’m wrong, but our time with the pup feels like its coming to an end soon. I’m happy we watched the rain together tonight. I could do it every night for as long as she can hang on. But if that was a goodbye, I couldn’t ask for a better one — looking at and listening to and sharing a little corner of the world, just us two.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

How to weather a storm



Defy the dark sky, head for the beach.

Never mind that the clouds are grey and heavy, never mind that the rain hasn't stopped - secure your backpack, your hoodie, and your best friend, hop on a bus and make for whichever beach you can.