Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Chase, the dog...

We have not exactly settled into our new house, but we seem to be easing into the routine of the new digs.  Our dog, Chase, on the other hand, is right at home.  After nearly 10 years of a rather boring routine (twice daily walk-abouts and napping most of each day) Chase now has a fenced-in back yard, a doggie door and a new world to explore on his own. 
Chase is a young 10 year-old golden retriever mix we adopted from the Brookhaven Animal Shelter.  He and his litter mates had been rescued from the parking lot at Lowes in Medford.  He still jumps on people, cannot walk on a leash, relentlessly begs to play catch and continues to be mocked by the squirrels he futilely chases up trees. 

This old dog has developed a new, more independent character.  He spends hours in the backyard watching and listening.  When we were living on a main road in Bellport Village, the sounds of nature (and neighbors) was often obscured by the traffic (such as it is in Bellport) noise.  Chase, like the rest of us, is discovering just how distracting and intriguing those birds (and neighbors) can be. 
Chase is the one member of the family who is home all of the time.  He has learned the weekly routine of the new neighborhood; when the postman, UPS truck (his mortal enemy,) and the garbage collectors make their rounds.  He is learning the voices of neighboring mutts and seems to be relieved that there are no stray cats in the area.  He is afraid of cats.
It will take us humans in the house a bit longer to find our stride.  It will help when we actually find all of the things we packed.  My work space needs organization; the kitchen is not quite functional; the instruments have not been removed from their cases; where will I be storing all the linens?  Perhaps I will just follow Chase’s lead; sit in the backyard to watch and listen.

Friday, May 4, 2012

The key to something great...

Until now, I never really considered taking time to select a special key to my house, or the key to anything for that matter. On Tuesday, as I waited at the Home Depot key kiosk to order additional keys for our new house, I noticed the collection of novelty keys on display.  Though I have been a Home Depot key customer since the local paint store closed, I had never really considered that these keys were options for me. 

In the middle of the display hung a key – my key – in the shape of an acoustic guitar.  As I was reaching for the guitar, the young key smith approached and said, "Ah, do you just like the guitar or – ha, ha – do you play?" I paused, remembering my April declaration…I am a musician, “Oh no…I play," I responded, "Do you?" He did.  We actually had a brief conversation about guitars and bluegrass; I shared information about local jams and then happily strolled out of the store, guitar key in hand.

Holding new keys to a new house is rather empowering.  It is a new start.  Usually, and for most people, that is enough.  However, I had already decided that 2012 would be a new start for me.  On January 1st, I cannot say that I exactly knew what that meant, but as the year has been progressing, these new starts are being revealed. 

It began with the Cash Mob movement that spread through the country and right into the heart of Bellport.  This represented a new start or re-start into community activity for me.  Since Erin’s graduation from high school, I have been on the down-low.  It has been great to reconnect and to make new connections with my community. 

Then came the self-declaration…I am a musician.  Though music has always been a part of my life, it now has a new look for me as I play my guitar and sing in public.  Deciding to call myself a “musician,” now that is a new start.  And, because I just could not stop, along comes self-declaration #2 (thanks to the My Name Is Not Bob April Challenge and encouragement from my friend Terrell)…I am a writer.

Sometimes new starts are intentional, some just happen.  They are all meant to be.  The new house was a “just happen” new start.  It resulted in a lot of emotion, took agonizing work, but with the trust and help of a very dear friend (thank you Garry!) it happened.  The guitar key is, as my friend Sue declared, a positive omen.

The journey through 2012 has been and promises to continue to be dynamic.  Our family is seeing many other new starts.  Next week Erin will have completed her undergraduate degree in spite of her recent diagnosis of mononucleosis.  (The Hall family GPS has the added, and most used, feature:  the most difficult route possible option.)  Recovery and a new start are imminent.  We are also learning a new normal as the family navigates a life altering diagnosis for my sister-in-law.  Health issues prompt a reconsideration of life’s purpose and direction for an individual and the family.  We are in this together and I am confident the purpose and direction will be revealed.  It is yet another new start. 

Life is dynamic, new starts will continue.  Some we will select and some will be imposed.  Some will make us happy and some will wrench our hearts.  I can only trust that these new starts will cause a positive and purposeful journey.  We start now by choosing the right key to help us unlock the door.  I believe I will be making another trip to the key smith; new keys for everyone!