He was so attune to me. I’d be watching TV, glance over at him, and he was watching me. It might sound creepy, but it wasn’t.

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Ernie and Grieving

He lived a long, good dog life, with many adventures, even joining me cross country when he was a year and a half old, going to Minnesota, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Louisville, visiting Graceland in Memphis and the Grand Canyon (which he did not care for).  He traveled to Vancouver, Canada, to Santa Barbara, and up into the Sierra foothills often. And he knew the southern shoreline of Alameda Point, between the USS Hornet Museum and Encinal High, like the back of his paw.

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Ernie, in early November

Our sweet old German shepherd mix, Ernie, became very feeble toward the end of his life. I kept waiting for a sign from him, but his appetite never diminished.  A dog-walking friend described how “the light went out” in her dog’s eyes, and she knew it was time. The light never left Ernie’s eyes:  he was always alert, attune to me, the shepherd in him ever watchful.

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darned socks

I took a year off from college once and traveled around the country. For a while, I stayed out on the farm where my grandmother had been born, living with my great-aunt.

I was helping my grandfather paint houses. I came home one day to find that my great-aunt had darned a couple pairs of my socks.

Really: she took needle and thread and created these deft cross-hatchings that patched holes. I remember I was touched.

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Shortly after dawn this morning I was walking Edie along the shoreline of the old naval air station, when I noticed a large, circling flock of dark birds overhead. Continue Reading »

It began when the missus and I went up to Mendocino for Thanksgiving. Our friends were staying in Little River, on the coast, and as we drove to the house they were renting we drove through a meadow full of robins.

Mrs. O exclaimed that she had never seen so many robins at one time in her life. Many dozens of them, more than we could count, flew up into the cypress trees along the road!

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Changing Time

Time has morphed since I left the court. Perhaps metamorphosed? Or as Calvin (of Hobbes) had it:  transmogrified? When I was still working, there was a need to get done what I could when I could with the free time I had. I was often focused on time efficiency, and all too often at a certain point had to leave some aspect undone until later. Now there is the concept of plenty of time, which inflates the expectation of how much I can get done.

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