Every Sunday (okay well almost every Sunday unless I do it Monday), I post a blog on Beaumont the Sheepadoodles blog — Sundays with Beaumont.
I first started posting a photo along with an imaginary (but seriously… they’re not really imaginary!) conversation with Beau on my FB page a couple of years ago. People laughed and told me how much they enjoyed those exchanges. A friend suggested creating a “Beau blog” and, as I mostly posted the conversations on Sundays, to call it, Sundays with Beaumont (SWB) and thus, Beau got his own blog and the world gets to ready how he always wins the conversation!
His blog is a reflection of his incorrigible nature and charm. (He likes to call it charm. I tend to call it annoyingness.) 🙂
As I love to share the laughter, I’m sharing yesterday’s blog here.
Eggs Over Easy Please
Beaumont: Hey Lady. Know what time it is?
Beaumont: Breakfast time!
Me: I can’t get up.
Beau: Why not?
Me: You’re lying on top of me.
Beau: That’s to wake you up.
Me: All right already. I’m awake.
Beau: Then, where’s my breakfast?
Me: If you get off of me I’ll get it for you.
Beau: You know, I shouldn’t have to lie on top of you to make you get up. You should care enough to want to get up in the morning to get me my breakfast.
Me: Believe me. I do. It’s just I’m a wee bit tired after last night.
Beau: Right. ‘Cause you had that big dinner party and poor little you… Had a wee bit too much to drink?
Me: No! It’s just I was on my feet all day and then didn’t get to bed until very late.
Beau: Enough with your excuses. Are you going to get up and get me breakfast?
Me: If you get off of me I will.
Beau: Will you quit making excuses and just do it?
Me: Yes, Beau. I will.
Beau: I’d like my eggs easy over please.
Me: You don’t get eggs for breakfast.
Beau: Like I didn’t get any Beef Wellington last night for dinner?
Me: You’re a dog Beau. You don’t eat people food.
Beau: Who makes my food?
Me: It comes from a factory.
Beau: And who works in the factory?
Beau: And so, once again, I prove how wrong you are. If people make my food then I eat people food. So be a good girl and go make me some eggs and bacon.
Sigh. To be clear. I do not feed Beau eggs and bacon but dawggone it, I sure would like to win an argument with him one day… Sigh. A girl can dream….
It has been a while since I created a painting for the #ShePersisted series I began in March 2017. Yesterday, I pulled out a background I’d created on the weekend, drew a circle and began to throw down paint.
I didn’t know what I was going to paint. I didn’t have a destination or image to reference. I was going with the flow and letting whatever appeared to be what was visible on the canvas.
She was challenging. Faces always are for me. They take practice. Skill. An understanding of light and its play with the shadows. A willingness to mess up and dig in.
They’re best painted with a reference photo.
I had none. Somewhere, early in the process, I made a commitment to myself to paint from within me, to use my inner memory/knowing of the face as my reference.
It’s a wonderful challenge. There’s that scared, uncertain place within me where I worry I don’t know enough, I need something solid to guide me. There’s that voice of doubt that takes great joy in whispering, “You can’t do it.”
And then, there’s the vibrant, alive place within me that doesn’t like can’t and don’t and shouldn’t. That voice likes to leap into the fray, calling upon my courage and self-belief to rise up and call out joyfully, “Watch me.”
I painted a woman’s face yesterday.
I didn’t think I could.
And then I did.
I love the magic that happens when I let go of working hard to control the process and instead let myself be the process.
I love the mystery that opens up to wonder when I accept it’s not about ‘doing it perfect’. It’s not about creating something that is a reflection of something else. It’s all about allowing what is calling itself to be expressed from within to become visible on the canvas before me.
This morning, as I look at her, that little voice of doubt and uncertainty, the one who likes to find criticism in so many things, it wants to tell me all the things I could have done differently. I could still change.
I’m not listening. Not heeding that voice. It is the voice of the past. The voice of millennia of women being told they can’t, they musn’t, they shouldn’t, they don’t dare.
Yesterday, I painted a face.
Her origins are a mystery. Her story is not.
She is every woman before me who was told she couldn’t.
She is every woman who was shut down, put in her place, pushed into dark alleys and corners, hidden from the light, hidden from the truth of her power, her beauty, her strength, her courage.
She is every woman who was told she had no power, no voice, no right.
She is every woman who was held captive to the lie she had to be perfect. That she would never be enough. The voice that still whispers from the dark roots of the past, “You can’t do that.”
They said, “You can’t do that.”
The wise woman within rose up and shouted to the winds and the seas, the stars and moon, to heaven and earth, “Watch me!”
Speaking up about mental health is important. Taking action is vital. Erasing stigma. Changing minds. Providing supports and help for those whose mental health is preventing them from living joyful and productive lives is imperative for everyone.
Changing the story of how we view mental health changes how we treat each other, how we build strong and healthy relationships and how we create a better world.
For women, our mental health is tethered to a past where we had no voice, no rights, no power. A past where we lived under the shadow of men and the laws and societal mores that were designed to create a ‘just and fair’ society and that ultimately were tools to keep us in our place.
There is no place in the shadows for freedom, self-efficacy, self-determination, equality, self-hood.
Cutting the ties that bind is an important act, not of rebellion but of freedom.
May we all be free to speak up. May we all know we have the power to take positive action to be actively engaged in creating a world where everyone has a place to belong, no matter the state of their gender, race, sexual orientation, faith, beliefs and economic, mental or physical state of being.
There is a place and a time for all things. Yet, so often, I want that place and that time to be of my choosing, not someone else’s or even nature’s or the universe.
Being patient, taking care and allowing what is present for someone else to also be present in our shared space is one of those great lessons of having a fur-child that just keeps repeating itself, again and again
Last night, was tough for Beaumont. My back has been out since last weekend. My head says, stay still. Beau says, keep moving. I did not want to get up and go for a walk, even though the evening was so gorgeous. Beau didn’t give up on me and in his persistence, reminded me once again about the most important things in life, love and living.
Be patient, persistent and stay optimistic.
There’s nothing like a dog sitting on the floor beside you, eyes peering steadily at you, body alert and still, while you’re lying on the couch feeling sorry for yourself. Beau reminds me to get up, get moving and stop feeling sorry for myself. And he never gives up until I get up and give him what he wants. Which is gernally always — A walk. We both win from that one!
Having fun is not an interlude from life. It is part of life. Just like with work or any endeavour, it’s important to take time to stop and breathe. And if you happen to be playing with someone else, like your best friend Spirit, when you get over-excited (or forgetful about your manners (really Beau, that’s Spirit’s ball), you gotta take a break. Otherwise, like with so many things, fun becomes not so fun and then, fun’s all over!
Don’t sweat the hot stuff.
Baby, it’s hot out there, chill out. Put your feet up, sit with your feet in a bucket of cold water, or better yet, run into the shallows at the river’s edge and splash! Splash! Splash! Splashing about is fun, and who cares if the floor gets wet and muddy when you get home? That’s why they invented mops.
Not everyone’s business is your business.
Don’t stick your nose where it doesn’t belong. Not everyone wants to have their butt sniffed, especially the cat when she comes to visit. Back-off and give people (furry friends too) their space. In that space there’s lots to discover about eachother that will make the relationship so much more fun and enriching! (Like who wants to chase. Who wants to be chased. Dogs intuitively know without getting all caught up in who’s who at the park).
This one’s from puppydom but still holds true today. When you make a mistake, don’t get all bent out of shape. Begin again. Like when Beau was a puppy. Just because it hadn’t happened for awhile, didn’t mean he was all house-broken, especially in new and different spaces where other doggies were present. Or like when there’s a bone or a toy in your bed. Be kind. Be compassionate. (Remember Lesson 1) – Clean up the mess, move the bone off the bed and begin again. Enough said.
Life is a Gift. Live it Up!
This is the most important lesson Beau teaches me every day. We only have this one life to live right now, don’t waste time dragging yourself through the past or worrying about what the future will bring. The present is in the now and the gifts of being present are filled with bounty and abundance. Be grateful for all you have. Count your blessings and share them with abandon. Your world, and all the world around you, will be richer for your willingness to live right now on the wild side of being alive!
Beaumont the Sheepadoodle hears them too. He leaps up from the floor at the end of our bed where he has been sleeping. Races down the stairs to the patio doors. He stands. Barking, body tensed, eyes fixed at what he cannot see, somewhere out there on the top of the hill beyond.
It is 3am.
I try to calm him. To get him to stop barking. He wants to get out there.
I close the blinds.
Finally, the howling stops and Beaumont lies down by the glass doors. He does not want to come back upstairs.
And I am reminded, no matter how much concrete surrounds us, we are not far from the wild.
It is in our roots, our DNA, our genetic history.
We have seen a coyote a couple of times since moving into this place in December. I don’t know if it’s the same one, or a different one each time. We see him, or her, loping silently across the hillside in the early evening. We know there’s a den, somewhere at the top. We’ve heard their howling before. They are the wild things.
I wonder if they howl to entice unsuspecting prey into their space. Beaumont always wants to take off after the sound. He wants to investigate.
I don’t let him. I keep him on the leash now whenever I let him out.
He is not wild. Though I wonder if the howling awakens deeply-buried wild memories of life before domestication.
Deer live somewhere on the hillside too.
We see them often. Four or five. Every day they traverse the slope. Walking elegantly through the snow, scrubbing through the bushes and trees for fodder.
They too make Beaumont bark. Whenever we’re outside and they see us, they take off, their long legs leaping through the snow with ease. Beaumont strains at the leash, barking. Inevitably, one of the deer will stand at the edge of the trees, staring. Unmoved by Beaumont’s barks, he seems to be enticing him to play, ‘catch me if you can’.
In those moments, it takes all my strength to get Beaumont to quieten down, to not pull and strain at the leash.
The wild stirs within him, calling him to run after it. To be part of it.
We are not that far from the wild here. The city limits stretch further into the rolling hills at the edge of that liminal space where wild meets tamed and man keeps pushing the wild further and further away. Yet, still the wild things roam. They have adapted to the citylife. They have formed their trails from the wild spaces to cityscapes.
The howling of coyotes woke me at 3am.
I feel the wild calling me. Let go it calls. Come. Outside. Run. Barefoot in the night. Dance beneath the belly of the fullness of the pregnant moon. Throw your head back and howl in the pure delight of being alive.
I calm the urge and go back to bed.
Beaumont is on guard. He will keep the wild things at bay.
The howling of wild things in the night reminded me of a song my brother used to play long ago on his record player when we were teenagers and not yet tamed by life.
Perhaps it is fitting I am reminded of my brother this first day of March. It was this month, 19 years ago, that his journey on this earth abruptly ended.
My brother loved music. He’d play a few bars of a song, stop it and ask me to “Name that Tune”. I wasn’t very good at that game. He’d laugh and tease me and play another song. “Wild,” he’d exclaim as some drum roll or guitar riff caught his fancy.
He is a wave hound. A chaser of the curve as it falls over onto itself racing towards the shore.
He follows the line of the water, running at full speed along the beach.
He does not bark. He does not zig nor zag. He runs like a bullet speeding through air, following the wave.
Beaumont loves the beach. He loves the ocean.
As always happens, no matter where we are or who we’re with, I am the first person up in the morning. It is my habit. My way of being.
I treasured those quiet mornings in Tofino. As the sun rose behind the trees lining the eastern horizon, the light advanced in long shimmering lines, reaching far into the western shores of the Island, pushing night’s blanket away from the shore. Beaumont and I would quietly leave our cabin at the edge of MacKenzie beach and walk in the early morning light, down the steps to the golden sand of Crystal Cove. I’d let him off his leash and he would race around me in circles, his mouth open in a great big huge grin, his body quivering in anticipation of the frolics to come, just on the other side of the rocks protruding from the sand. I’d throw his ball. He’d grab it and make a beeline for the first wave washing ashore.
And the fun began.
Ball in mouth, he races along the curve of the water, splashing and leaping in the waves. If there are others out in the early morning light, they inevitably stop and watch and smile.
Beaumont in the waves is a smile making machine.
He does not pay attention to humans, other dogs, birds. Nothing. He only has eyes for the waves, the water cascading over itself as it rushes to shore.
One woman couldn’t resist his antics. She waited patiently to grab just the perfect photo. She walked towards me, camera outstretched to show me. “I’m so excited I caught him leaping in the waters. His smile is contagious.” She showed me her photo and added. “I want a dog just like him!”
Every morning I walked the beach with Beaumont and was reminded of how easy it is to be in the moment, to be present to joy and share smiles with strangers.
Lesson from a Dog: Chase waves. Smile lots. Life is an adventure.