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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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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you my friend. I "felt" this one while writing it. I'm sure you understand that.

      Peace and love always

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      That is very kind of you, Mary. I am honored and humbled by your praise. Thank you!

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      2 weeks ago from london

      What an extremely beautiful piece of writing! A masterpiece! It seems a mixture of trying something new, while in the flow … in the moment. Like the sensitive dog, you are utilising all your senses, taking in life in and around you.

      A refreshing read and a superb piece! You have always been a natural - like me - with the spontaneous pieces. Awesome!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      3 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

      You did describe the changing greens at this time and how you find those words is often beyond me and I envy you for it. I suppose we're lucky to be able to read and enjoy it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      That would be a very cool surprise, MizB! I would love to see something like that and yes to roosters. They can be mean as snakes.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      4 weeks ago from Beautiful South

      Bill, guess what! I had a deck full of not coyotes, but baby foxes this morning. That's right, four of the cutest little fuzzy critters I ever saw. They rolled around and played until Larry took them some food, and then, darn it, he scared them off. They seem to be orphans, so I hope they come back to eat. They are welcome here because they can't get into the greenhouse at the chickens. And if one of them did, it would only do it once. My two roosters could hold their own with a little fox. They are used to the cats now and don't pay them any attention, but at first, they teamed up and scared my black one right back into the house.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, Ann, that's just about the nicest thing you could say to me. Thank you so much, my friend. It's nice to know I've still got it from time to time.

      Enjoy the upcoming weekend, dear friend.

      bill

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      4 weeks ago from SW England

      This is wonderful, no - brilliant! You took me with you on that walk, you made me smell the air (you're right about the rain) and that description of the geese and Maggie's reaction is pure genius. Exactly what nature should do and don't those greens look majestic?

      Using our senses to write, eh? This is a masterclass in that.

      You've made me grin from ear to there, bill!

      Ann

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      You do indeed need to get you a Maggie, Bill, the sooner the better. Thanks for walking with us.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      4 weeks ago from Massachusetts

      I need to get me a Maggie. Our Gobi passed on a few years ago and I sure do miss our walks. Very much enjoyed your stroll.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Quite the disparity I would say, Sha! lol

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 weeks ago from Central Florida

      Ewwww! I've never even heard of buffalo lung. I mean, yeah, they have them, but to eat them? I guess that's a regional disparity.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, believe it or not, Maggie love buffalo lung. LOL Bet you didn't see that one coming, did you? They have it at the local pet store, and Maggie totally enjoys it. That dog would walk through fire for buffalo lung. Yuck!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 weeks ago from Central Florida

      What a reflective walk, Bill! You know, I think our animals help keep us young. They certainly are entertaining to watch, which keeps those smile lines deepening. Nothing wrong with that, right?

      I, too, love the smells that the earth delights us with after a fresh rain. It's right up there with freshly mowed grass.

      I'm enjoying these walks with you and Maggie. What's her favorite treat?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      And I thank you for walking with us, Dora. My connection with Maggie, or with anyone, begins with a willingness to try and connect. I think that willingness is missing in many these days.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Nithya! Where will we turn for country when it is all paved over?

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      I'm impressed by the understanding between you and Maggie. You have the kind of connection everybody needs with human or animal (makes no difference). Thanks for sharing the joys of your walk together.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 weeks ago from Dubai

      I enjoyed the walk with you and Maggie. I love the rain and the scent of earth that it brings along. It is scary to think about the plight of the countryside with so many buildings and factories coming up.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you William! I'm so glad others are enjoying these walks as much as Maggie and I do.

      Happy Easter, my friend!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for joining us, Jackie! I find memories comforting, and I refuse to wallow in the garbage.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Ain't that the truth, Dee? You are welcome any old time, and Happy Easter to you and your husband.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate that, Genna, and I thank you! Happy Easter to you as well.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      4 weeks ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      I love this series, Bill. I can picture it all, and it puts me at peace. I'm sure you do as much for Maggie as she does for you.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      4 weeks ago from The Beautiful South

      Love your dog and chicken stories, Bill. I had to get rid of my chickens after suffering two tick bites and having RMSF twice! It did take the second time though to convince me!

      I will read your stories and let them bring back memories. They were worth it and I am not sorry. Now I have a yearning for a four legged friend again, maybe two.

      Fun read. Thanks!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      4 weeks ago

      Life just seems so much better when you have a great traveling companion like Maggie. Thanks for the uplifting view on life.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      4 weeks ago from Massachusetts, USA

      I'm enjoying your Maggie series.

      "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.." Lol -- I love the way you write. This is just one of the many gems in this hub. Your observations of life and nature are so well worth the read, Bill. They lift us in ways that are not easy to describe. Well done!

      Happy Easter; Happy Spring. :-)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Howdy MizB! Always a pleasure having you along for our walks. Them coyotes are fully aware of Maggie's presence. I just hope it never comes to a fight. I would hate that vet bill.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      What a wonderful thrill that would be, Liz, a lab and an 18 month old...great memories.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Janda, I love it. We dog lovers love our walks, don't we? And thousands of geese....that just makes me jealous, thank you very much. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, I'm not sure "looking forward to" is the proper description as I ascend towards 80, but I guess it beats the alternative. :) Thanks for always being here.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael my friend, Maggie is quite fond of buffalo lungs, believe it or not. That's her favorite treat, by far. As for a thriller with her as the leading lady, if I only had the time. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Heidi, Maggi is quite fond of eating the new grass as well. I used to think that meant a dog was sick, but now I'm not so sure.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks so much, Bronwen! I appreciate you walking alongside us.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      4 weeks ago from Beautiful South

      Ah, Bill, I would love to walk that road with you and Maggie in person, so thanks for letting me walk it with you two in your wonderful articles. I'm getting the hankerin' for another dog. Our Genghis has been gone over six years now. Funny the chicken is a loner. It's possible that she was bullied by the others like my Chickadeedee was.

      Y'all just watch out for them coyotes, now, ya hear! We have them here, too.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      4 weeks ago from UK

      Great reflections in this article. It reminded me of a walk yesterday with a chocolate labrador and our 18 month old grandson. Each exploring nature in their own way.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Oddly, Eric, it won't bother me at all to kiss my dog in that location. Consider it done!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Ruby! Maggie is wagging her tail at you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for your kind words, Sally! I really do appreciate them.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pamela! I hope your dream is realized and you can live the country life. You deserve it!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Flourish! Good for the soul...exactly!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      4 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Maggie baffles me some what. I just see my sons in reflections. But what the heck do I know? I had a ten minute conversation with one of my Italian Cypress yesterday. My Italian stinks. I slip into Latin which I equally stink at. Give Maggie a huge kiss right on the lips for me.

    • profile image

      Janda Raker 

      5 weeks ago

      Beautiful, Bill! Thanks for sharing. My favorite time of day is whenever I'm walking my dog, Lindy! And the sound of the geese is one of my favorites! We live in the flyover, so all winter we have thousands of geese flying over every day, but then one day I don't see them, and I realize they have failed to tell me goodbye. But next fall, they'll surprise me when they return. So I may not always make time to write every day, but I sure do make time to walk with Lindy!

    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 

      5 weeks ago from Hollister, MO

      Spartacus. I can identify well with that Rhode Island Red. I really appreciate you sharing information about her. BTW, I'm really enjoying hearing of your 'now I'm seventy' comments... when I was there, when I first was reading your stuff, you were only in your mid-sixties... I'd think about what you were going to say when you hit 70. You are right on schedule. I get to 80 in a few weeks. Oh, what you have to look forward to. I don't comment on every post, but I do read every one. Thanks, again, for each and every one of them!!! Give Maggie a treat, from me!! ;-)

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 

      5 weeks ago

      What kind of wonderful treats for Maggie if you don't mind my friend. A meeting with a sophisticated creature of her kind, the first impression should create a thriller for your four-legged friend, who needs to know that she is also a member of this vast family of soul-bound writers.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      5 weeks ago from Chicago Area

      We have a grass hound, too. But he eats the stuff. And it seems to be exceptionally tasty to him about this time of year. Definitely following the beat of a different drum (as another 60s tune recalled).

      Happy Spring!

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      5 weeks ago from Victoria, Australia

      Thank you for a lovely, refreshing walk in the countryside. Thoroughly enjoyed it and especially along with your faithful companion.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      5 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      This was another fun read. I could almost visualize you and Maggie wandering down the road and her stopping to smell the roses, grass and the rain. Thank you for sharing Maggie with us. My kind of writing!!

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 

      5 weeks ago from Norfolk

      I love joining you in your walks with Maggie. You are such a gifted writer Billy! It does not get much better than this. Thank you.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      Gosh Bill, I feel like I have been on a wonderful walk in the country. I love hearing and seeing the birds, the smell after a shower, the various colors of trees and wild flowers. I may be a bit jealous! I loved your walk today.

      My husband and I want to downsize and I think we will move to a country location also. At least that is our plan. We can't do that while still caring for my 95 year old mother, so we have no time line yet.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      5 weeks ago from USA

      Very nice walk. Maggie is good for the soul. Lots of people moving to the country and making it a crowded place.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Zulma! I love that you used the word "halcyon"....nice treat this morning. As for the geese, I just find nature fascinating. There is so much going on around us that we often miss if we aren't tuned into it all.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I truly appreciate that, Harish! You are always welcome to join us.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      It's going to get crowded on these walks, Linda, with all my friends tagging along...but what great walks and talks we would have. Thank you!

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      5 weeks ago from United Kingdom

      What a wonderful walk that was, Bill. Thank you for letting me tag along.

      There is a flock of geese that always show up at the start of spring. Every morning and every evening, for about a week or so, they fly overhead like clockwork. It makes me smile.

      Then nothing, not a peep, not a honk, no clue where they might be. We don't seem them again until the beginning of autumn. Again, every morning and every evening, for about a week or so, they fly overhead. This time my smile is sad. The halcyon days of summer are over and its time to prepare for the cold, dark days of winter.

      Anyway, it's spring now and I'm going to make the most of the few months before the geese return.

      Enjoy your day, Bill.

    • Harishprasad profile image

      Harish Mamgain 

      5 weeks ago from New Delhi , India

      Hi Bill , what a enjoyable mental trip you took me with you and Maggie ! I greatly enjoyed reading this beautiful hub. I liked how you portrayed Maggie. I love words and I love your writing whenever I go through it.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      5 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, I've always been a "cat" person, but you're starting to convince me that having a dog wouldn't be all that bad. (Shhh, don't tell my husband). I love these walks with the two of you. Thanks for letting me tag along.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      5 weeks ago

      Thank you....

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Awww, thanks, Pop! You are always welcome to join us.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      5 weeks ago

      Truth be told, I wish I was actually beside you and Maggie on your walk. Your words are the next best thing to being there.

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