Monthly Archives: December 2020

Code Yellow

It’s Code Yellow today for the coastal provinces. That means that with the storm that is due, wind on the coast will be up to 90 km per hour but not more. If it were higher, that would move to Code Orange. For those homeviewers on the non-metric system, that’s about 56 MPH winds. While I have enough body mass to not get swept out to sea, there are two small dogs who could find themselves taking off with that kind of windpower.

To make sure we would get enough beach time, we went out earlier this morning while the skies were grey and the wind was okay. Everytime the boys are off leash, they shed years. Although Henry does get many comments from passersby ranging from “Should he still be going out at his age?” – clearly not dog owners – to “Well, that must take a while to get places”. He also gets more of his fair share of “Oh, look at that little cutie.”

He’s more than capable of making the walk and judging by his enthusiasm, he likes it. By the time we reached the 2 kilometer point on the beach, things were getting a little more stormy so I thought we would cross back over the dunes and take the path along the dike (which is built to hold back the water in case it makes through the dunes). It’s an elevated path, with a speedway for bikes and a lane for walkers. There’s a grass strip of about six feet wide between the two asphalt paths which is used for horses.

I thought that using the walker’s side would give them more time to be offleash. I underestimated how much traffic there would be and how much George would either not hear me for real or how often he was practicing selective hearing. George kept crossing over the grass and into the bike paths because it was so much more interesting over there.

After a near miss with two riders – who saw George in plenty of time due to his orange sweater, I decided he was going back on the leash. I figured Henry would continue to follow along with us. Until I noticed that I didn’t hear his little collar music anymore. I turned around to look for him only to discover that at some point, Henry had turned around and was walking back to the beach.

Off we go after him. His hearing is slightly better than George’s but not by much. Once again, we start on the path back to the beachhouse, George on the leash out front and Henry following along. Did I mention that by this time, I really have to pee and there’s nowhere to do this anywhere?

With Henry, I tend to stop every 25 feet or so to make sure he’s within six feet of me. The next time I stop, I see blood on his paw. I pick him up right away and see that quite a bit is coming out. I can’t let him walk on that so under the arm he goes and I tell George that we need to hurry it up. George is happy to hear that and starts up his turbo.

Now you can imagine, I have George pulling on the leash in front of me and Henry tucked under my arm like a baby pig with his leash around my neck so I don’t trip on it. It’s raining and yes, I still have to pee.

The last thing I wanted at that moment was a delay. I knew that GG had gone to town to restock on supplies and I was hoping she remembered not to lock the door as we only have one key. This is also about the time that I discovered that I didn’t have my phone either. With a sprint down the last hill, we crossed the bike highway and made our way to the house. GG was already back so immediately it was triage Henry. He’s okay and now they are both napping in their basket while it rains outside.

And they say that vacations are meant to help you relax. 😉

By the sea

My best moments and memories of being deeply connected with people who are important to me involve the sea. Given my habit of living near cold water, it’s usually a case of walking by the sea instead of being in it, with a few exceptions like Bonaire.

There’s something about the environment, the waves, the wide open space that brings a sense of freedom and openness. Somewhere that I can either talk about the things I am feeling, challenges I am facing, listening to someone I love or just being in the moment and discovering all of the things that are thrown up on the shore to admire and wonder.

I was walking along the North Sea today with Henry and George, letting the wind clear my head and turn my ever unruly hairstyle into something even wilder, when I started thinking about other walks in the past. I thought back to the first time my mom, Raven and I took a trip to the Pacific coast of Washington state. We spend the weekend at Kalaloch, in the cabins perched up on the bluff.

No one knew really what to expect of that trip. It was the first time the three of us traveled together and we were not really a family unit at that time. Henry and George were quite a bit younger then and still chased balls on the beach. My mom had no patience with slow walkers and wasn’t about to wait for a somewhat surly 9 year old (Raven) and her daughter, who pretty much knew a whole lot about some things and almost nothing about being a parent.

But the beach was our common ground, somewhere where we all felt at peace. I remember that there was a fish that washed up on the shore, still alive but somehow stuck. Raven was fascinated but not going to get to close to it. My mom reached down and picked it up and threw it far back into the water without even hesitating. It needed to be done. Raven was a mix of shocked (because girls didn’t do that kind of brave thing and my mom was still a girl in his category system) and more than a little impressed by her bravery.

My mom, knowing more than a little about being a parent, acted very nonchalantly as if it was something she did everyday, wrestling mysterious creatures from the deep and returning them to their rightful place. Looking back, there are two very clear things in that moment – my mom’s deep love for animals and her sense of taking immediate action.

While I was thinking about that day, I suddenly noticed that I could really hear the waves. They had stopped being background noise and really sounded like proper waves. In case you are wondering, there’s a difference between the waves of the North Sea and those of the Pacific Ocean – namely size and volume. But today, their sound was the same in that moment. I hope that was a sign that all of the invisible signals that connect us to those we love are working properly, even if we don’t always notice them.

We are here until Monday morning and I plan to spend a lot more time walking along the North Sea, listening and being listened to.