May 5, 2013


rootsWe pass by the natural world every day (or sometimes it passes by us). Most of the time, I don’t pay much attention. Mt. Rainier a white glow on the reflection of the blue lake, the gray clouds billowing against a even grayer sky, the squirrel scurrying across the street or up a tree (okay, so I notice that!)…every day there is the sun and the trees and the birds and the flowers and the turtles and even the fish in the lake. It’s all there and some days I say “Wow”…like when the Mountain makes an appearance, and other days I’m too focused on my work that I miss it, sorry to say.

But one of my favorite natural wonders are uprooted trees. We pass by a lot of them, for some reason. Perhaps it’s because we have all sorts of great forested trails in our neighborhood or perhaps it’s because the wind can be powerful in these parts, but whatever the reasons, I am fascinated by the size and breadth of upturned trees.treed

Some of these trees are really huge, yet their root systems are particularly deep. Wide, yes, but not very deep. After lots and lots of rain, if a big windstorm comes along, these trees fall over easily since their roots are loosened by all the water. I’ve never been nearby when they’ve fallen (is there a sound?) though I’d love to see it at some point. Sure, it makes me sad to see them fallen, but it’s also really fascinating. I mean, think of the force it must take to topple a 50 foot tree or the sound it must make?

And it’s not horribly sad because within a few months, all sorts of things have grown up and around and even on the toppled tree. I mean, it’s the circle of life right before our eyes and it humbles me to realize that everything changes and sometimes those changes aren’t happy at first glance.

friends/smilesThis is probably the metaphor of the last 3 weeks since a lot has been uprooted around here. I don’t think I’ll ever feel comfortable writing about it all, but as we move through the shock and yes, pain of it, I am reminded of the toppling of trees by unexpected windstorms. Sure it’s sad to see the tree so grand and so beautiful felled by the wind, but when I walk by it a month later and see trees growing out of it or moss crawling along the dead bark or bugs helping decomposing it, I smile.

“See?” I told Gretchen the other day when Tyson, Rosie, and I found another downed tree in the park. “Difficult things happen, but life continues on. It’s all good. It’s just change.”

I think it’s harder for humans to accept change than it is for dogs. I mean, dogs aren’t really in control of their lives. They depend upon and trust their scoutfamilies to make decisions for them and as loyal as we are, we follow along and have faith that everything will turn out okay. Of course, plans change, unexpected things happen and we are sometimes forced to make difficult decisions. And those difficult decisions sometimes cloud our view for a bit — well, not my view, but the human view and they have a hard time seeing that’s it all going to be okay.

But just like the uprooted trees, in time there is new life from the old and new inspirations to be found. And it is my job, or least it has been of late, to remind the humans in my life that a toppled tree can be a good thing.

I have, of course, enlisted the help of my canine friends to help Gretchen realize all of this and they have willingly provided the wisdom and humor to help her move through the changes recently thrust upon her — unexpected and out of the blue…just like windstorm at the end of a soggy winter.

Rosie and Tyson are particularly good at bringing Gretchen back to the reality of the situation. Rosie has made so much progress since her adoption, but still we must be on our toes to help her stay calm and non-reactive in certain situations. Tyson, on the other hand, is a calm force in the whirlwind of Rosie’s learning. He just looks at Gretchen with those soulful eyes and she knows for sure it’s all going to be okay.


Monty makes Gretchen laugh. He makes me laugh too and his silly antics put us both in a happier place. This is why, when it’s time for me to get groomed, we try to arrange our appointments together because I don’t like getting groomed much and Monty thinks it’s a great time to hang out and be pampered. Monty makes me laugh during the process and he does the same for Gretchen when we’re out on walks.


Theo, we’ve found, is much the same as Monty in that she can provide humor on even the rainiest of days. But we’ve been lucky this week because there wasn’t any rain and for the end of April, that’s pretty amazing. Theo loved walking with me in the sun and we had a fun time posing on the bluff with the blue sky and mountains behind us! Yep, Theo made us really look around today and in looking around, we figure out that we’re alright in the grand scheme of things.


Henri and Bella keep us busy. This photos says it all…


…while I’m focused on the task at hand (the photograph) Gretchen had to do all she could to keep the two little white siblings from running in two different directions. There’s nothing like caring for others to make you live in the moment. The Westie duo have a way of keeping us in the moment and being in the moment is a good thing, yes?


Roux keeps me in the moment, that’s for sure. We like walking together, but more than anything we LOVE running through the woods together. We play chase until neither of us can breathe anymore and that makes Gretchen happy. It makes me happy too for many reasons — the play, the friendship, and for making Gretchen happy.


Woobie makes us happy in a much different way. I’m a little sad that this week, while I was at the groomer, Gretchen walked Woobie alone. But when I think about it, I think it was a good thing that Gretchen got to hang out with Woobie by the lake and contemplate the beauty of the world. There were no downed trees, but the wide expanse of the blue lake and blue sky was healing as was the calm and grounded presence of sweet Woobie.



Now Carter and Kali offer a whole different on the world. Carter is always raring to go, pulling on the leash in 45 different directions. He all but leaps off the front porch when we pick him up and his excitement is palpable. Kali, on the other hand, is much more reserved. Yes, she’s happy to see us and she greets us both with excitement, but it’s nothing like the jumping, scurrying excitement Carter displays. While Carter walks in his 45 different directions, Kali and I walk by Gretchen’s side and do our best not to get tangled up in Carter’s antics.



But the silliness of Carter and the calmness of Kali are great perspectives — each balancing out the other and reminding us all that life is just as fun at either extremes.

So while we’ve had some uprooted experiences around here, we’re all still very grounded thanks to our canine pals. There are new shoots growing all around us and I am confident that in the months to come, that fallen tree were be beautiful again!

Have a great week!




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