One morning during a late-winter thaw my puppy Asha and I head up the dirt road, past the small cemetery and into the woods. Once I can no longer see the road, I unclip her leash and we are both free.
I have a couple hours before my first scheduled commitment, so Asha and I take our time, exploring trails I haven’t been on in years. Asha runs and sniffs while I do my best to avoid patches of ice and mud. Eventually the trails loop back to the road and we turn toward home.
We adopted Asha, a friendly lab-mix, from a rescue in New York City at the end of November. Whimsy & Tea had been without a Chief Happiness Officer (CHO) for 21 months and the time had come to fill the position.
However, it’s been 16 years since I had a puppy, and I’d forgotten what it’s like. I was prepared for the interrupted nights until she was house trained, but hadn’t fully considered what her puppiness would mean for my time and work.
It’s hard to relax into the rhythms of weaving while keeping an eye on Asha, making sure she isn’t chewing something I don’t want chewed. And it seems that just about everything has chew potential. She loves threads and strings and I don’t want my carefully made warp becoming a game.
Whereas I used to have a lot of time to myself, I now have a few hours I can count on to engage in activities with my undivided attention.
So I make choices. Yesterday I chose to weave. Today I’m choosing writing. Tomorrow it may be starting a custom order.
Adopting a puppy was a choice. A choice that means I spend chunks of the day playing Frisbee and tug, picking up fluff and stuffing it back into toys and letting Asha out and in, out and in, out and in. And laughing.
In the months without a CHO I didn’t walk regularly and I’ve missed it. I’ve missed it deeply. I didn’t realize just how much until now. A daily walk on my own was never a given, a non-negotiable the way it was with my dogs. It was easy to get caught up in work and then it would be dark outside or time to cook dinner. When I did head out, it often felt like a should or exercise rather than a nourishing ritual.
As I huff and puff up the hills, my thoughts wander, memories of other walks surface and fade and all my frustrations about time disappear. I sink into the present, into the here and now of the woods with Asha, and contentment spreads through my being.
When we return home and I dry Asha off, she smells of sunshine.
I inhale deeply, put her in her crate for a nap and settle in to work.