Sunday, October 30, 2016

Perspective - Part 3 (Adventures of the backpack continue)

Sunshine greeted me with a smile and many new faces around the house one fine morning. My family and their extended family hustled to prepare for their vacation.

Stuffed and bundled, I boarded the plane for a three hour journey south. I could smell the ocean even before we landed. From the airport we taxied straight to the port and boarded a really giant boat. As I learned later that calling it a boat was an insult, to its size and exuberance, and the preferred word for that city afloat was a cruise ship.
We sailed for the next four days into blissful rapture, as we admired the horizon with its many shades of blues and greens and everything in between. Conversations flowed as lyrically as the waves at the shores we anchored. Our first shore leave was in paradise, an island aptly named for its serenity and clarity. Each shore leave was equally distinct and exciting.
Over the four days I was lugged and left by the poolside deck, stuffed with damp clothing, wet goggles, and in my safe pockets I kept watch on their room key cards and watches and phones. On a land excursion, I soaked in the sun, and from my vantage point on the beach, I admired the vastness of the bluest ocean ever seen. The family battled boisterous waves, waded in the pools closer to the sandy area, and swam in the delicious beauty of the Atlantic.
Rejuvenated and exhilarated, we returned home to the beauty of the Minnesota summer. Robin and swallow chicks emerged from their nests ready to take the plunge to find their wings.
I sat forgotten, partially unpacked in a corner as I watched the whole family run in and out playing with the dog, or gather in the kitchen to cook, eat and make merry. In the midst of one of those merriment, while everyone clustered around the living room table, I heard a tap, tap of the dog’s steps as he strolled around the house. His nails and the wood floors helped me guide his whereabouts as he inspected each room in search of amusement or crumbs. I heard him go down the stairs to the basement and a short while later run back up, unsatisfied. He probably found the guest bedroom door shut, to keep him out, I’m sure. As I heard him run up the sleek wooden steps, I heard him trip on one of them, and at that I laughed out loud. Big mistake. Not only had I called attention to my vulnerable self, open and available in a forgotten corner, I also let him know that I had noticed his embarrassment and laughed at him.
Tap tap, his feet made their way to me and I braced for the assault to start. He cautiously walked toward me, looked at my unshapely form, and sniffed the remnants of sand and ocean on me. He pawed my middle pocket, the one where granola bars and nuts usually made their home during the travels. It was empty now, but I guess he could smell them nevertheless. He had no thumbs, thankfully, so there was no way he was opening any of my zippers.
I saw his handsome body plop down next to me, his gorgeous face with its big floppy ears and dense eyes, resting on the floor between his front paws. We watched each other for a while as if keeping company. Then I felt him inch closer to me, his nose on top of my black straps, the ones that buckle up under the backpackers’ chest to keep me from sagging on their backs. The dog, the beautiful blue dog, proceeded to lick the strap, and before I knew it, the plastic buckle was between his teeth. He gently chewed it as if it were a bone. He was a gentle sort so it was not anything vicious or any sort of attack.
Nevertheless, I screamed, I got angry, I called for help, but no one came my rescue. By the time my owner called out for the dog from the living room, as if sensing he was up to mischief, my buckle was past repair. He got back up on his paws and tap tapped his way out of the room, innocence pasted like plaster on his face.
The damage to my limb, the assault on my person was not discovered for almost two months until the next trip my family had to take.


Saturday, October 8, 2016

10 Things my writing taught me about life

1. Let things unfold

2. People are not 1 or 2 dimensional

3. Life is not linear

4. It's not what happens to you, but how you react

5. Body language speaks volumes

6. Silence speaks volumes

7. Through conflict or struggle we grow

8. Pace yourself but never stop moving forward

9. Conflict resolutions are satisfying

10. Internal and external dialogue are never the same.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Perspective - Part 2

The plane ride was different in many ways, compared to the four days when I was forgotten in the back seat of my car. By now, I was stuffed with clothes, all dirty ones to be precise. I absorbed the smells of my owners, mingled them in my weaves, removed my newness and made them a part of me. My bulk sat in the bulkhead above their seats in the plane, shut out and clicked off in a tight compartment. But I nestled into a corner, away from all the strange bags of lesser breeding, quality, strength, and loyalty. I somehow survived the long flight without losing my mind.

We arrived home to the cool nip which seemed somehow familiar but not the same. It was not the mountain air, but equally warned us of the imminent arrival of winter. As I will later learn, winter did arrive, with gusto and as if never to leave. For now, the trees blazed with a mosaic of color under a bright sun, and I took that as a sign of a warm welcome to my new home. I learned later that I had arrived clear across a big ocean from the land of my birth in Germany to Minnesota, USA.
Unburdened of the laundry load I carried, I was set aside in a dark closet and forgotten for months. I hibernated and fretted over when and where on the specifics of my next adventure.
My owners did not disappoint me. Jerked awake one evening, I found myself on the vast bed, a hardcover novel, and a notebook with a pen hanging on its side held in place by an elastic ring, shoved into me. A candy bar and a zip lock bag full of mixed nuts found their way into my front pockets. A laptop with its wires and heavy chargers came into my big pockets too, topped off my by a warm, cozy, earthy shawl.
Stuffed and packed, I sat comfortably on her back seat in the car, under the seat at her feet in the plane and on her back in the land where we trekked through a concrete jungle. Buildings shot up, it seemed, into the sky as if competing to reach heights higher than the ones next to them. Icy wind snaked between the tall structures, slithering within the large concrete blocks that stretched out for miles in this city that never slept. I was hit by its vibrancy, listening to sirens that blared only to trail off as they turned into a different block. Yellow cabs weaved in and out of stop and go traffic, their honks competing with jackhammers and slurs spewing from pedestrians who dodged the impatient drivers.
We walked blocks to absorb the effervescence around us, our eyes wide, looking up and around in the middle of Time square. Smoke rose from vents on the sidewalks before disappearing into the beam of light that sneaked in through the tall structures.  While the chilled January air enveloped this intense city, I remained in the cozy hotel room for the next three days. My family carouseled through the room and the outdoors as they toured the city during the day to its fabulous museums, a walk through the  famous Central Park, and at night to delectable dinner venues and the famous Broadway shows and renowned Philharmonic. Their Playbill and brochures I carried back home in my red folds and studied them closely in the airplane ride back home as I lived vicariously through my family’s experiences.
Back in Minnesota, another adventure completed, my pockets emptied, I recuperated in a warm corner of the house until the next big adventure.
To Be Continued...