The Good Life

IMG_20180112_084035.jpgMost of you know that I’ve spent the better part of January up and around the farm. It’s been an experiment in seeing whether I’m more effective pushing things ahead with the well, the city wetland permits and the like in person than I have been over the phone. So far, results have been…mixed. But I won’t tell you I’m not enjoying my oh-dark-thirty morning strolls down to the pond and those afternoon rambles with Blue.

Lacey is Blue’s human, but she’s often busy doing actual farm work, so Blue fetches me for a walk in the woods whenever he can. Officially, I’m doing work, too, putting some foot traffic on the nascent paths that Brendon has been blazing between the willow clearings. But Blue understands that I’m really there to bear witness to his assertions of dominion over his northern lands. He’ll stot around ahead of me like some sort of Aussie-gazelle hybrid, then spot a suspicious or insolent  pile of decaying who-knows-what in the salal and tear into it unmitigated glee. After about ten or fifteen seconds of flying debris (Blue’s typical time for for defeating a pile of dirt), he’ll look up briefly to confirm that I have witnessed his victory, then stot along to the next recalcitrant piece of muck on the forest floor.

I’ve taken to celebrating his triumphs by singing the “Blue Dog Song” as I tromp along behind him. It roughly goes, “Blue Dog, Blue Dog, Blue Dog, Blue Dog…” and continues in an endless sing-song fire truck melody.

Over the weekend I made a somewhat impromptu roadtrip south, driving to an unnamed city in a neighboring state to see Tracy Grammer play a benefit show in her old stomping grounds. “Unnamed” because I was only going to be there for the show, before hopscotching further down the road, and I didn’t want any of my friends who live there to feel jilted that I didn’t look them up.

Anyhow. At the show – totally worth the drive – Tracy gave us the backstory on one of the songs from her new album. She said “The Good Life” (see version from the Real Women Real Songs challenge here) was an ode to her father who, she said, always talked about how he was going to buy a little cabin on a hill somewhere with a pond. But never did. And in one of their last conversations before cancer finished him off, reflecting on those dreams he’d never bothered to realize, countered with “But you know, I’ve had a good life.”

I haven’t been able to get that song out of my head since.

What with cat-herding contractors, partners and city planning officials for the farm and coding like mad on the Antarctic software, I’m busier than I’d like to be. But it all feels necessary, and in spite of my complaining, feels like it contributes to my ongoing attempt to live a good life.

And the good life? I’m heading back to the farm tomorrow, looking forward to another tromp through the woods with Blue. Between those piles of leaves and dirt, I’m going to ask him what he thinks the good life is. But I’m pretty sure I already know his answer, and I can’t say I’ve got a better one.

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