Friday, September 16, 2022

All Who Wander ...


I've been walking a lot these past few years ... wandering, actually. Since moving to Salem, Ed and I walk almost every day. We take routes that we've walked before, some of which we walked for the first time over 25 years ago when we first visited Salem together. Sometimes we wander streets that are new to us. We explore streets in our new neighborhood that aren't part of the tourist sections of town. We weave up and down streets in the morning with the newest members of our family -- Doc and Ziggy.

We adopted these two pups three weeks ago from a local shelter. Both are in their sixth month and both are "pure breds." Doc is the miniature Dachshund and Ziggy is the Maltese. They were surrendered to the shelter by a woman who bought them at a pet store. She was working remotely at the time, but recently returned to the office. They were home by themselves for 7-8 hours a day. She did the right thing and gave them up ... and, of course, we scooped them up in an instant. How could we not? 


Look at those faces!!! They are good little pups; however, they didn't have much training. We're starting potty training, walking on the leash, and general good behavior from the beginning. Both are very different dogs and are at very different places in their training and understanding. Doc is great on the lease, but terrible at potty training. He is submissive and shy. He tends to hide behind me and urinates when he's excited, nervous, or scared. Ziggy is great at telling us he needs to "go," but is awful on the leash. He lunges and barks at everything and everyone. 

They are great at playing and wrestling and wandering. Boy! Do they love to wander!!! Noses to the ground, they'll let the scent take them everywhere and anywhere. They're curious about the world around them ... and, at times, are very scared of the things in this world. This doesn't deter them from wandering. Noses to the ground! Let's go!

Bijou has been very curious of her brothers. Sometimes she just sits and watches them wrestle each other. Sometimes she runs away. More recently, she will jump into the fray. Even though she's still not sure of them, she's perfectly happy giving them a good (clawless) swat and chase. Curiosity hasn't killed this cat, that's for sure.

When I'm not physically wandering, I'm mentally wandering. I'm exploring and curious. It seems like I've been like this for the last decade. Can you believe this past July was nine years since Mom died. NINE YEARS!!! Almost a full decade! When I said goodbye to Mom I started to wander. In a lot of ways she held me in place. She grounded me. She kept me from flying away, even when I wanted to ...

I can't tell you how many times I moved in the last decade ... how many jobs I've had ... how many people came and left my life ... 

I can't tell you how many times I've pivoted in my career ... started an MLIS, left the program ... (re)started in another school and almost left again. I always go back to teaching college. I feel most at home in academia despite the fact that I still haven't figured out how to cope with it.

I can't tell you how many times I've gone through my wardrobe, got rid of stuff that now longer fits or feels right ... only to get lost and pull everything out of the bags. I can't tell you how many times I've cut my hair, let it grow, dyed it, taken the dye out, dyed it again ... only to chop it all off in frustration. 

The last decade has been one of wandering, though not necessarily one of searching. It's been one of sniffing around and letting my nose guide me. It's been one of great change and one of deep nesting. 

And here I am, coming home to roost in a nest that Ed and I have built last October when our offer was accepted on the house. Here I am with an empty closet because things and people change. Here I am with two dogs and a kitty. Here I am back in academia giving it one last shot because why not?!? I'm tired of wandering and my feet hurt. Hell, my bones hurt! Like Doc and Ziggy, I want to learn how to "sit" and "stay." I want to be a good napper like Bijou. I just want to be ...

I'm home again after a really long journey. Here's hoping it's for good.