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Travels With Maggie: A Mind-Blowing Experience

Updated on April 18, 2019

Just a man and his dog, walking down a country road.

There is no doubt Maggie has keener senses than I do. Unfair as that may be, it is a fact. But I can put my observances into words, and she can’t, so score one for Bill.

Maggie one, Bill one, and so it goes.

Budding season has happened, so the trees are dappled with green, and down below the field grasses are adopting green as their seasonal color as well . . . above, below, green, all hues of green, carpets of green and heavenly ramparts of green, all for my reflection.

I noticed yesterday that the greens change as you stare at them, like some righteous acid trip in a VW van during the Summer of Love, baby, 1967, with Cream blasting from the speakers. It’s unsettling at first, our senses unsure of reality, first you see it, then you don’t, the Master Magician playing games with us, messing with our heads, jade to sage, olive to emerald, a magical mystery tour of color, dependent upon the shadows, the sun angle, refraction, molecules, simple sights from complicated origins, all beyond my understanding, my job is only to enjoy and reflect.

And so it goes

Sweet Maggie Mae
Sweet Maggie Mae

Sound Travels How Far?

Maggie is so much more aware than I.

Standing still, looking off in the distance, my girl listens intently to something I cannot hear, does it for a solid minute, maybe longer, and finally I hear it, silence to recognition, sound waves traveling who knows how far, geese approaching, announcing to all their intent, fifty at least, maybe more in that V-shape flying pattern, the sky alive with honking travelers, answering the ancient call, Maggie now transfixed on it all, the sound, the sight, all new, all mesmerizing, all slightly discomforting for her, friend or foe, threat or peaceful, her tail telling the tale, from stock still to wagging, a threat no longer, all is well in the country once more.

Just a man and his dog, walking down a country road.

James Taylor understood, way back when:

“Mamma don't understand it
She wants to know where I've been
I'd have to be some kind of natural born fool
To want to pass that way again
But you know I could feel it
On a country road”

That’s how I feel when I’m with Maggie, walkin’ and observin’, on a country road. Some folks meditate to relax, get in touch with those chakras, all is well for an hour or so, refreshed and ready to go. Some folks have a glass of wine, enjoy a good book, absorb the words and become one with the author. Me, I’m a country road kind of guy, and Maggie is a country road kind of girl, and I hope it never ends.

It’s Raining on This April Day

We don’t much care, truth be told. Maggie is at home in the gentle April shower, her thick coat protecting her. In fact she seems to perk up a bit in the rain, seeking out puddles to splash through, rubbing her snout in the wet grasses, childlike, quite frankly, and I’m a bit jealous of it all, missing childhood, missing the carefree approach to everyday living, a sweet melancholy sweeps over me on this day, remembering when I was like Maggie, a colt sprinting over pastures, no worries, no concerns, no limitations.

Now, the seventy years of tough living are taking their toll, measured steps, shorter steps, hesitation where once there was none, where did the time go, where the hell did it go, man those times were fun. But that’s how memory often is, cherry-picking our way through the detritus and the discards, choosing the good memories, tossing aside the bad, for who in their right mind prefers to hitch his or her wagon to negativity?

Not this boy. Not on this rainy day. Push it aside and enjoy the walk, Billy Boy, and enjoy the love of your canine best friend.

Drilling for Water

We pass a big rig, in a field, the for sale sign taken down, drilling for water, Bob’s Well Digging on the cab of the truck, some other-worldly creature invading the serenity of that country road, some new pilgrim carving out a foothold away from the city, the rural life calling them, whispering in their ears, come play with us, come laugh with us, come find out the secret to peaceful living, and I can’t help but wonder what that country road is going to look like in ten years as rural slowly transforms to urban, and won’t that be a blazing bitch, I think, already resentful that one more family is coming to the area, thinking this must be what the Native Americans thought with each new wagon train crossing their lands, won’t that be a blazing bitch if they keep coming.

Maggie is confused by the towering metal rig, so completely at odds it is with the rest of the scenery, placid farmland and a bright red power drill, drowning out the sounds of geese with its clanking and pounding, metal against rock, diesel engine shattering the quiet, sending robins, crows, and starlings scattering to the wind.

We Move On

Heading back to the farm now, up ahead one of our Rhode Island Reds pecks the ground near the gate, a good fifty yards from the rest of our flock, a solitary figure as she always is, a strange sight among chickens, for chickens are most comfortable in crowds. It’s the same every day, this one chicken, oblivious to the laws of nature, off by herself, completely at ease in solitude, not really caring about the risks with coyotes roaming the area, just pecking the ground, me thinks she hums the James Taylor song softly so we can’t hear.

In truth I have more in common with that lone chicken than with the other eighty, and I’m not sure how I feel about that.

Maggie walks up to Spartacus, that’s what I call her, sniffs her, hesitates a split-second and then walks on, curious but not enough so to dally longer, just a quick howdy, I see you, I recognize you, catch you later display, and I understand that as well.

Fickle Weather

The rain stops by the time we return to the barn, the smells change, have you ever noticed that, scents are different right after a shower, molecules doing something I don’t understand, and I love that smell, as does Maggie, her tail wagging as I pat her head, give her a treat, and tell her it’s time to head home for another day. She’s a good dog, my Maggie, best dog on the planet if you ask me, which you didn’t.

She jumps up into the cab of the pickup, lays down on the seat, and settles in for the ride home. I buckle up, adjust the radio, and pat her head. Those big brown eyes look at me, almost human those eyes, and suddenly I arrive, once again, to the realization that man only thinks he is the wisest in the animal kingdom, and that self-deception is a game we all play.

Thanks for joining us. You are always welcome on these little jaunts of ours. Just remember to bring a treat for Maggie. She does love her treats.

2019 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)


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