Tag Archive: beagle


There’s a man I pass often on my morning walks with Celli.  He looks like a young Morgan Freeman, always wearing a blue shirt and dark blue pants, with a worn, wise look across his face and sometimes a hat; sometimes not.  Always, he smiles warmly and says hello.  This morning, as he passed, I was busy listening to the foreman yelling at the Mexican men brought up from Texas to work on the condo development next door.  The foreman’s voice carried well, “What are you doing?  Don’t speak like that.  Don’t speak Spanish here!”

I was about to ball him out, when the Morgan Freeman man passed and I watched as he shook his head and smiled at the foreman.  It sort of took the wind out of my sails, and yet as I watched one of the Mexican men smile back I knew we were all in the same frame of mind.  The foreman was a creep, but we weren’t going to let it ruin our day.

Celli finished sniffing some shrub and I walked swiftly to catch up to the younger version of Morgan Freeman.  As I caught up, he looked down at me and raised his cup of coffee.  I said, “You look like you’re enjoying yourself.”  His walk was slow, his gaze always turning to take in the next sight.  He didn’t walk like the rest of the Uptown lot – with their fast-paced, eyes-forward, ears plugged into the iPod strapped around their pin-stripped arms.  “I take it all in,” he said gesturing to the magnificent city before us glittering in the new sunlight.  “Hmmm,” I said, “It really is the most beautiful part of the day.”  

“Yes it is!” he agreed, his stride not once faltering.  

I was holding a green bag full of smelly dog mess, so I felt it rude to continue walking beside him.  I hurried ahead to drop off the bag in the receptacle, but afterward, I stopped and let Celli sniff the grass.  I looked up at the city, at the trees framing it, and I listened for a moment to birds, the train, the sound of high-heels on concrete, of traffic, horns, a lawn-mower just over the hill cutting grass.  My stride was slower as I walked toward the building.  I was taking it all in.

Today I drove out to Lake Norman to see a house for rent.  The house was beautiful, but moreover, seeing the lake got me thinking about something Erick said about Lake Norman being the largest fresh water lake other than the Great Lakes.  It’s an enormous sprawling lake with roads crossing at various points.  In fact, I believe it’s the only site in the US where a fatality occurred when a boat came out of the water and hit a moving car.  

Erick had to work late, so I drove to the house with the girls and brought Celli in place of him.  He asked me why I like taking the dog whenever he’s not in the car and I explained that while I’m driving, she leans back into the seat sideways and spends half her time concentrating on the road and the other half giving me kisses or puppy-dog eyes.  Who could ask for more?

On the way home, as I pulled onto Moorehead, I saw a man holding a cardboard sign on the side of the road.  In grim economic times, we see a lot of men asking for work, but this man’s sign read simply, “God bless you.”

I’m not religious, but it felt good to know someone believes in something enough to stand on the side of a dirty and dangerous road with such a simple message.  

I thought if I were to dedicate an afternoon to a message, my own sign would read, “You are loved.”

Click here for the last lecture.

This afternoon we drove out to Grandfather Mountain and did some exploration in the rain.  It was a **beautiful** trip and I hope to return sometime soon.  At the peak, Grandfather is over one mile high and there’s a suspension bridge leading to the peak that spans a forty-foot gorge one mile deep!  The girls enjoyed the wildlife – cougars, an eagle, bear, an otter, some deer and a muskrat that crossed the road while we were leaving.  Celli accompanied us and seemed to enjoy the mountain as much, if not more than anyone. 

Driving to the peak was exciting.  Our back wheels slid against the sharp inclines, and our truck was far too big for some of the 180-degree turns, but we managed and made it to the top with time to spare before the storm.

The storm hit hard some time after Hickory and seemed to be firing water and lightning at anything that moved.  In the city, the thunder roared and ricocheted between buildings – like War of the Worlds, only really wet. The rivers were swollen to twice their size – I guess this happens quickly down here.  Everyone drove with their hazards because the water was so deep on the roads and you couldn’t make out the other cars very well.  One of the things I love about this region is the rains storms – they last for hours, unlike Michigan where it seemed we would get bursts of a storm, but they would quickly fizzle (except in the winter when the snow seemed never-ending).  

We’ve enjoyed some fireworks in the city – reminds me so much of Harbor Days back home.  What a wonderful end to such an adventurous trip.  Tomorrow we hope to see the ocean!

Happy holiday everyone!  Have a safe, adventurous weekend.

The girls take a break beneath split-rock – One serious bolder.

Okay, they weren’t really wild like I told my mom.  They were as tame as could be and waiting for hand-outs from visitors.  

Popo and I take a break in the rain for one quick photo 5000+feet in the air.  Photo by Wolfy.

The Mile-high “swinging bridge”

 

The storm was raging by the time we reached Charlotte.  Cars, trucks and motorcyclists especially crowded under overpasses to wait for a clearing.  Visibility was crap and here you can see the hazards on the car ahead of us.  

My favorite stop along 321.  The only truly affordable and fun, hand-made locally shop I’ve found.

I love the drive into the mountains for all of the old farmsteads and homesteads, fruit-stands and the views!

In the heat, Celli cools off by lying on any concrete surface she can find:

For the last few days I’ve noticed my dog has been anxious.  Today, I’ve come to realize why.  She’s been trying to teach me something and I haven’t been a very receptive until now.

Today I learned that life is all about learning to come to terms with the simple fact that we are not at the probable center of the universe; that we are not isolated matter; that we are more than the sole survivor of our own enlightenment.  Today I realized life isn’t about proving yourself to others; it’s about recognizing yourself in them and allowing yourself the freedom to change and grow.  Today I learned anxiousness can be cured.  And today I learned to look past the issues to see the real person – and I forgave myself that I don’t always like what I see.  

Today I learned to listen to those who love me most and to trust my own interpretations of this wild and crazy world.  Thanks Celli, friend.

I found this delicious phrase on a Cafe’ Press bumper sticker raising money for breast cancer awareness.  It’s time to start brain-storming fund-raising ideas and today I’ve been looking into selling items online to raise $2400.  I’m looking for funny catch phrases like F$%& Cancer or Kick Cancer’s Butt: Been there, done that!  I’m hoping for bumper-stickers, mugs and t-shirts.  Feel free to share your catch-phrases and ideas!  

I’m considering goofy things like “Pet a beagle for a dollar” on the sidewalk, so really, no idea is too silly to post.

Celli, the beagle, has done a fantastic job of adjusting to the strange sounds and textures of the city. She’s made friends with another dog who frequents the Canine Cafe’ down the road and she no longer quivers at the sight of an oncoming train.  Still, there’s always a surprise for the little Northern Michigander beagle.

The other morning, as we crossed Bland St. on our walk, a train approached and out of nowhere, the train-crossing road block arms-of-God came down right over our unsuspecting pup.  All four legs went out and I couldn’t budge her in either direction.  As the bells ding-ding-dinged and the train roared past, my dog sprang from the ground to the curb at lightning-fast-instinct-for-survival-speed and I, less inclined toward protest, flew along beside her, happy to be somewhere other than the road.

At home, Celli is frequently rewarded for her daily efforts at normalcy with healthy treats and a lot of love and attention.  She now looks forward to our walks, but remains ever vigilant when we cross Bland St. for those sneaky, pesky road blocks.   sunshineuptown2_08-136.jpgsunshineuptown2_08-132.jpgsunshineuptown2_08-146.jpg

Time improved last night and I felt like I really put a lot into the run. Erick got home late, so I was running home in the dark. It was peaceful. And sometimes not being able to see the distance ahead of you can be to your advantage; keeping you focused and in the moment.

My oldest expressed an interest in running with me last night, so I promised we would run together today. She’s “in training” and excited to run the full distance, though I’ve tried to convince her we should start with half a mile.

Last Friday when I took Lady with me on a run, she became very apprehensive after the first mile. She stuck both front legs out at one point and stopped in her tracks, leaving me holding a leash and collar a few strides ahead of her. I drove her home – meaning I pushed and pushed to keep my time reasonable, but also, I think, because I saw in her a part of me who used to give up.

When we arrived home, Lady looked defeated and sad. I hadn’t physically caused her any harm, but I had certainly called her name and pulled on the lead and worse, ignored her need to slow down. At the front door, she would not come into the house, but stood looking forlorn on the front step. I had to coax her into the house, which is very unusual.

My other reason for rushing home was a meeting I had promptly at 5:45, which meant I needed to be home and showered with time to spare. Once Lady was in the house, I gave her a rub and told her I was sorry and that I thought she did a great job and then leapt up the stairs on my own schedule.

When Christy and I arrived home later that evening, both Lady and Celli were acting very strange. Christy sat down on the couch and Celli jumped up beside her and puffed out her chest in a proud manner. As Lady approached the couch, Celli very purposefully lifted her left paw and set it down atop Lady’s head.

At first I suspected this was a dominance thing, though it didn’t feel like dominance. It felt like a healing touch being applied to a wounded friend. When Christy began taking notice of Lady’s bad eye, she buried her head in the couch cushion and I saw then she’d had enough. We both apologized to Lady for causing her so much grief and she seemed to relax into our voices.

This experience helped me see the fragile line between respectful encouragement and downright pushiness. On my off-nights, I will walk Lady and Celli and a child or two at their pace, in their time. And we’ll all heal and get stronger no matter the distance.