With random vacations occurring for college students and new babies in people’s lives, I’ve had the pleasure of a little down time over the last month. Today has been one of those days. The pet sitting business is kind of odd in the sense that I am technically on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week. So while I might have a week filled with Monday through Friday midday walks, lots of people go away on the weekends, so most Saturdays and Sundays have something going on. I’ve found that I might have one weekend a month completely free of work. And I try to be as flexible as I possibly can, so when someone contacts me on a Thursday announcing last minute weekend plans and a request for pet care, I’ll be there, even if it’s on that one weekend that I finally had free. But any excuse to hang out with my little buddies works for me.
I love animals for so many different reasons. And I love any animal that crosses my path. Were someone to record my walks, they would find them filled with greetings and conversations. I say hello (or shout across the street) to dogs and cats. I learn dogs’ names when their owners shout at them to stop barking and then call them by it when I see them (this drives one guy CRAZY when I do it. Oh well! His beautiful golden retriever is dog aggressive and when I say his name, he relaxes.) I chatter with the birds in the trees. I comment on the amount of nuts stuffed in a squirrel’s mouth and ask her about them. And don’t get me started on chipmunks. I am fully obsessed with chipmunks! Were a buffalo to meander by, I’d be right there with a wave asking him how his day was going.
Like many people, I also enjoy admiring trees and plants on my walks and visits. I wanted to end this post with a discovery I probably never would have seen had the storm not raged as hard as it did. On one of my drives to the dogs this weekend, amidst the whipping wind and rain, I witnessed a giant tree ripping out of the sidewalk. Its trunk was drooping with the weight and devastation of its new reality. By the time I returned home, it was a defeated arc. Its branches touched the pavement, feeling it with its long green fingers, for the first and last time. I felt my heart breaking as I passed through its arch of doom and gloom.
The next day was sunny and bright and all that was left was a lonely stump jutting out of the sidewalk attached to a broken piece of concrete. The rest of its trunk and lush leaves had been carted away.
Yesterday, I passed the stump. Glancing at it, I gasped, “It has a heart!” I returned home to grab my camera and went back, excited to see if I was correct. Sure enough, right in the middle of the remaining trunk was a beautiful heart. Although I am guessing that the hole is indicative of a problem, it is certainly a unique symbol for the tree to possess. It stood proud and tall for all this time, quietly carving out its treasure year after year. Although I am sad that a frantic storm exposed it, I feel just a little bit changed for having been lucky enough to share its secret.