Finding a stick, and some accumulated stuff

Summer and I went for our first walk in a few days, covering roughly half of our 3.3-acre piece of God’s good Earth. She hadn’t been herself since I got home the previous day, and it turned out she just needed to evacuate some accumulated stuff, which she did in two mighty installments during our meander.

My dear Red, my partner and companion for 25 years and wife for six — as tough a cookie as I’ve ever known — is in a far-off hospital with an ailment that has been slowly sapping her strength for at least three months. Leary of the medical community ever since it misdiagnosed her newborn son almost to death 36 years ago, she was reluctant to go to a doctor when she started feeling unwell during the Christmas season, but she ended up in a local hospital the first week in January. Two ER visits after that — or was it three? — and the locals finally threw up their hands, admitted they didn’t know how to fix it, and referred us to arguably the best hospital in the state, where doctors are finally listening to her and addressing the issues that have plagued her all along.

Summer found a stick on the hill in one of the remaining patches of snow. It must have been a glorious stick, because she lay down in the white patch and gnawed on it for awhile after rolling contentedly on her back.

I kept looking around and seeing piles of sticks and debris, some of them waiting to be cleared or cleaned up for years. I started thinking about, being 70 now, how I probably will never get all of it done, and what I would never accomplish, and —

— and watching Summer with her stick, I caught myself. “Never say never,” I said out loud. Never. Say. Never. I’m planning to do this and that and the other thing — that includes clearing those piles of sticks and debris — and if eventually I don’t, it won’t be because I said or believed, “I’ll never do that.”

Mostly, I can’t wait to see how happy Summer is when I bring Red back home.

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