Sunday, August 28, 2011

Autumn Years

In late August, cool morning air
surrenders to the returning sun.
An elderly Black man lounges
in his front yard facing an avenue.
He angles back in an old recliner,
tending stacks of  straw sombreros,
fedoras and Stetsons...
his lawn a make-shift salesroom.
Though there are few buyers,
he is a confident entrepreneur.
He retires in the lingering warmth,
his employment assured.

No demands are made of his time
and he accepts no complaints. 

Soon, the leaves will fall
and the rains return.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Dog Blog - August 8, 2011

 It's been two years since I retired from Metro.  In January, Ami, my lovely border collie of 14 years, died when her kidney's failed.  It's been a difficult adjustment  as each day, we'd drive to a nearby park where she'd saunter around occasionally chewing grass but generally just enjoying being outside.  She had favorite walks.   We'd circle or meander Roxburg Bog, Lincoln Park, Spirit Ridge or the Larson Lake Blueberry Field.    Ami and Pepper, my other border collie, who also passed a few years earlier, filled my life with their company. When I drive by these places today, empty space and time exist.

I began walking dogs a month and a half ago as an independent contractor.  I work part-time for Puget Pets, a firm that provides dog walks and pet sitting.   I'd looked for a part-time job for a while.  Initially, I focused on areas of, government and community services.  I didn't want to return to participating in meetings, managing programs or completing government reports.  I scoured Craigslist looking primarily at these fields but also at the part-time column.

I digress here.   Shortly after retiring, recurring pains in my chest told me that my angina had likely returned after 15 years.  When Catalina and I married in July 2008 and completed our honeymoon, I revisited my condition with my doctors.  After EKGs and CatScans, the cardiologist determined they could not treat my condition surgically.  That my best efforts should be put toward a regime of exercise, dieting and specialized meds. I was overweight and my blood pressure was also too high.  I suffered from stress and some depression.  They also entered me in a program for patients with complex medical issues.

Digression over, I believe in confluence.  By that I mean,  ideas or opportunities sometimes present themselves simultaneously and when recognized they can be combined to help you move forward.  I noticed several job postings for "Dog Walkers" and I was aware that dogs (or animals) have a positive effect on mental and physical health.  I had own dogs for years and, at times, bred and trained them.

This seemed like a potential solution.  I would exercise, be close to dogs and, oddly, make some pocket change.  Since the work would be part-time, I could spend mornings writing my plays and poetry, cleaning house or gardening.  Evenings could be devoted to cooking, taking courses, participating or with Catalina.  Walking dogs opened multiple opportunities for healing.