Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

The Day Fall Fell September 12, 2014

I already know you’re going to think I’m crazy in saying so. But maybe it will make sense if you just let me explain.

On Tuesday, it was 80 degrees and sunny. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Tonight, as I write this, it is 40 degrees and raining. It has been cloudy and cold for the last 48 hours. And (this is where the crazy happens), I am loving every minute of it. This is what we here in Wisconsin are used to, after all. I guess you could say fall has fallen. Hard. But I’m okay with that.

Yes, we had a perpetually terrible winter that lasted well into what should have been spring. It was record-breakingly terrible, with temperatures well below zero more days than not, and snow banks higher than fence lines. Spring was almost non-existent as winter somehow slowly melted its way into an incredibly mild summer. I think there were really only one or two incredibly hot weeks in the mix, and lots (and lots) of rain. Throwback snuggles

So I know it sounds crazy that I’m so excited to welcome fall with such open (albeit a bit chilly) paws. That is, until you let me explain.

Yes, fall brings colder temperatures and confirms the impending ferocity of winter in Wisconsin. But it brings so many other things along with it. I love the smell of my forever home when mom makes her famous Very Cheery Cherry pie. I dream of the crackling leaves under my paws as my people clean up the backyard. And you can’t beat a brisk twilight walk around the neighborhood as the smell of burning wood resonates in the air. But the best thing of all is the cuddling.

It happened tonight in what might be one of the most special moments between myself, mom and dear baby Carter to date. As you know, Carter is eight-months-old already, and he and I have been going through a bit of a rough patch. I will admit that the fur pulling and screeching sounds he makes as he is figuring out his vocal chords have worn a bit thin. But all of that was forgotten tonight as mom rocked dear baby Carter to sleep.

It was no different than any other night since he’s been born. My people followed the same bedtime routine as always. But tonight, after months of apparent disapproval of the cuddling concept (with only a few exceptions), dear baby Carter cuddled. For a good long while. I found myself so drawn to the simple joy of the moment that I curled up on mom’s (freezing cold bare) feet and stayed there through the duration of the rocking time.

It could have been five minutes. Or it could have been an hour. All I know is that tonight I was incredibly okay with the fact that fall has fallen around here. Because it has brought us only good things so far.

 

Me Oh My It’s A Fly August 18, 2014

It happens pretty frequently this time of year. The weather is nice enough to have the windows open to let fresh air into the house. My forever people are spending more time outdoors. As am I for that matter. But there is this one thing that really (really) gets to me about this time of year. Flies. It’s one thing when they’re outside where they belong, but when they get into the house it sends me into a tail spin. Literally.

Hello.

It always starts the same way, with my heart racing and tail wagging as I think I can catch the intruder. Then it happens. I’m not sure what or why this thing in my little doggie brain switches on, but I know it all to well. Fearlessness. From the ground up, let’s just say it’s not my strong suit. Instead I go from master of the animal kingdom within my forever home to a skittish, frightened version of myself I am embarrassed to admit exists.

I can’t explain it. It’s like everything inside me freezes and all I want to do is hide in places that apparently seem silly to my people for some unknown reason. My choice of today’s hiding place, in a small space between the couch and an end table where I would never ordinarily hang out, evoked the strangest response from my people. All three of them reacted in their own unique way, Carter by trying to climb me and my people by a round of uproarious laughter. I certainly did not intend to become a side show in my little game of hide and seek with the intruder. But that didn’t matter because somehow my reaction brought joy to my people.

I found peace and contentment in those moments, though I suppose maybe I should have been insulted. As for the fly, he’s still buzzing around here somewhere. And for not that’s okay, because at least for now, he serves as a teeny tiny reminder to find silliness in the most unexpected of places.

 

I’ll Be A Flashlight June 30, 2014

It’s not the first time it has happened, and I know it won’t be the last. Albeit briefly, we lost power for a bit tonight. For a few precious minutes it was darkness in my dear forever home, and I’m not going to lie. I loved it.

Please do not misunderstand. I love technology (when used for the right reasons) just as much as the next pup. But for me, sometimes there is nothing better than when there aren’t any screens in sight around here. I’m not kidding when I say it was brief either. We’re talking five to ten minutes. But I also do not kid when I say how special those five to ten minutes are to me when they happen. Happiness

Because these things do happen around here from time to time. Not so much last summer, but throughout the early summertime the years prior there was a lot of similar storms that tore through the area with all of their might. And (again) while I do not endorse the damage I know can happen in light of such events, I do wholeheartedly support the emotional connections that can happen when there is no electricity in a home.

Feeling Sleepy On the JobThe first time it happened with me around was a night my people will not forget any time soon. I remember it vividly since it involved flooding and a lot of activity in the neighborhood. I was in awe of how well everyone  banded together to make sure everyone in the neighborhood who needed power had it. Though there was no need for such a partnership tonight, I observed my own sunshine amidst the overcast clouds.

It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that it came from dear baby Carter, who today turned six months old. Oh, how I do love his little self and all it embodies. I love his smile and all it means. I love him and all the love he brings to others.

I was reminded today of the importance of light and the bearing it can give to others. I forget that sometimes, but it’s easy to be reminded of such things when the power goes out and there is no light in my dear forever home. Albeit for a brief period of time, I’ve noticed that time and time again it doesn’t matter how many lights may be lit within my special place. Because there is light enough within my people to keep the light of joy shining brightly around here. And if it dims, I will be the flashlight that brings things back into focus.

 

The Truth About Cuddling January 21, 2014

The sun deceived me today. There it was, all bright and happy, tempting me with its beauty. After a few days of dreary Wisconsin winter, it was a breath of fresh air waking to the beautiful sunrise this morning. I couldn’t wait to get outside to soak it all in.

I (not-so-patiently) waited my turn while mom changed, fed, and rocked baby Carter back to sleep. Then it was my turn. It was breathtaking. Literally. It took my breath away. It was all kind of sunny and a whopping two degrees outside. I was devastated.

I shouldn’t have been surprised. I know this is the norm in Wisconsin this time of year. But when I woke up and saw that beautiful sunshine, it’s like my months got all switched around. Suddenly it was July 30 and Carter and I were playing in the grass together. It was warm, but not just from the sun. It was warm from the love. From the ground up, love warmed my heart thinking about all the fun I have to look forward to this summer.

The breathless start to my morning was a pretty clear reminder that some time needs to pass between now and then. Some chilly and potentially dreary time. But as I am not in the habit of wishing time away, I realized later today it is a time to embrace.

Who needs the sun anyway? The sun may have deceived me today, but its message did not. Sometimes even when its sunny we need to make our own warmth. Because true warmth starts in the heart.Tummy time for two

So that’s what I did today. I snuggled with baby Carter and I had all the warmth I needed. Scientists undermine such things, attributing a dog’s desire to cuddle as purely logical. People are warm, so we cuddle. While there is some truth to that, warmth is not just a physical thing. There is more than one kind of warmth, and it is both kinds we canines seek in cuddling. The main source of warmth is that which we feel in our hearts when we are close to our people. Next to that, physical warmth is just a bonus.

 

 

Living in the Moment May 1, 2013

I realized today I have done a fair share of blogging about the weather. I’m not even sure how riveting a dog’s thoughts on the weather are, but (spoiler alert!) I’m about to do it again.

It began with a special moment I had with my mom in the snow. Then there was more snow. And more cold. And rain, my goodness, have we had rain. While some of it has been positive, I will admit to complaining (in the best way I know how) in some of my commentary as well.Smelling the Roses It wasn’t that long ago I asked the world where art thou spring?

I finally have my answer. Spring is here. Well, actually summer is here early, and probably not for long. Today is the second day in a row of unseasonably warm weather. Given my outspoken longing for warmth throughout the majority of what technically should be considered spring in Wisconsin, I would be remiss if I didn’t bring attention to the beauty around me the last couple of days. All of the snow is melted and all of the rain has left behind it a sea of color. Trees and grass are so brilliantly green they are almost blinding. Magnolia trees (which usually bloom in this area right around Easter) are finally bearing their beautiful pink and white flowers and daffodils, lilies and tulips seemed to shoot out of the ground and flower overnight.

The world around me is a piece of art right now and I am soaking it all in. (Especially since the weather forecast for the next couple of days brings our temperatures back down into the 30s and 40s). The wait has proven worthwhile, but the resulting beauty has become a study of something I find all too frequently in our society.

How true it is that is can be so much easier to pine and long and lust after what we don’t have than it is to soak up what we do? “Forever is composed of nows,” as American poet Emily Dickenson put it.

I spent all that time praying for spring to finally come and yet I almost didn’t stop and take notice when it did. Now that it’s here I realized it’s one thing to live in the moment, but sometimes that is exactly when we should stop and appreciate the brilliance of what that moment has to offer. Most likely, it offers joy from the ground up. Musings and commentary on the weather aside, that is what it is all about for me.

 

Little Mr. Sunshine March 17, 2013

Me and My ShadowI don’t care what the 30-degree Wisconsin weather says. The birds in the big spruce tree outside the bedroom window are singing beautifully, I spotted a few rabbit footprints in the remaining snow and I even had a run-in with some of my chipmunk and squirrel “friends.” Spring is in the air today. And this afternoon I spent some alone time in the backyard soaking up the sun and getting lost in my thoughts.

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine and shadows will fall behind you,” great American poet and transcendental thinker Walt Whitman suggests. “The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.”

Simply put, I cannot wait for spring and summer and the various adventures they bring. So I keep my face forward while the shadow of the frigid temperature mocks me. I worry for all of those in regions like mine who suffer from some degree of seasonal affective disorder, as this has been a brutal winter filled with more than its fair share of dreary days and snow storms. I love my snow blanket of diamonds as much as the next dog, but enough is enough. So I say to my shadow to be silent. Spring and summer, like most happy things, are a state of mind. Spring is coming, this much is for sure.

“There’s two kinds of people in this world, there’s winners and there’s losers,” says Greg Kinnear’s character Richard in Little Miss Sunshine. ” Okay, you know what the difference is? Winners don’t give up.” Richard and his family didn’t give up on Little Miss Sunshine, and I am not giving up on spring. The great Punxsutawney Phil did not lie to us when he refused to listen to his shadow on Groundhog day a month and a half ago. And if he did, I will find my own sunshine in days like today.

“What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity,” English poet, politician and playwright Joseph Addison suggests. “These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life’s pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.”

Albeit brisk, Mr. Whitman himself would have something important to say about today. Yes, it might be a brisk 30 degrees outside, but the sun is shining and spring is definitely in the air. So today I aspire to bring sunshine into anyone’s dreary day. Simplicity is beautiful in moments like these.