We’ve had a reliable pandemic routine, Daisy and me.
Early morning snuggles,
Afternoon Zoom interruptions.
(She climbs right on my lap, to say, “Enough!”)
This routine has served us—me—well. There have been many days when daydreaming almost got the best of me.
“When are we getting out of here?”
“When will life be normal again?”
“What is normal, anyway?”
Then along comes Daisy to move the day along. She doesn’t prescribe to wallowing. We make a good team.
Which is why the other day when I reached the bottom of our driveway, turned to my left to hook my girl in for our morning walk and she wasn’t there, momentary confusion enveloped me.
Maybe she needed a pit stop in the backyard?
Nope, not there.
Did she bolt?
She does that from time to time to visit a neighbor dog.
As I made my way back up the driveway, I saw that Daisy was sitting in our garage, by the passenger side of my car dutifully wagging her tail, encouraging me to see today’s walk her way.
“You want to go in the car?” I asked, with special emphasis on the word car.
(My family often reminds me that dogs do not understand sentences. I’m not sure they fully grasp Daisy’s unique intellect, but whatever, I play along.)
Her tail thumped faster.
A walk by the Connecticut River, that is what getting into the car means to Daisy. Sure, it’d been a while since we walked by the river, but I only had forty-five minutes to walk Daisy, hop in the shower and…
For god sakes, it’s a pandemic. What am I doing with my day besides staring at a computer, watering vegetables and flowers and making dinner?
I pondered the question for a beat before deciding there was no time for her shenanigans.
“Come, on, Daisy,” I said, again.
She followed me back down the driveway, this time ready as I fastened the leash until I attempted two steps forward. She sat firm, bolted to the ground.
“Come on,” I said, again.
Her nose shot up in protest, the canine version of a look-away.
“Fine!” I acquiesced. I too was now craving time away from our usual stroll around the block.
Into the car she and I went, off for the five-mile drive to the Connecticut River. Daisy right beside me, with the AC blowing her hair, we were Thelma and furry Louise.
Soon, the “Oldest Running Ferry in the Country” sign greeted us, along with vaguely familiar scenes.
The Hortons tilling their spectacular sunflower patch.
A fellow parent that I hadn’t seen since preschools days.
Astute political pleas.
Lots and lots of creative hearts.
By the time we made it back to our car, over an hour later, I was sweaty and overwhelmed with a realization that somehow I’d previously overlooked: it’s summer.
This summer would surely be different, not usual or carefree. But, only the seasons cemented in far-removed nostalgic memory ever truly fit that description. The real ones are a salty mix of chaos and fun obligation.
And, while “normal” sounded appealing, what I was really craving was the mental freedom to just be…
Starting with a Wednesday morning river walk, just my furry soul sister and me.