Ellie only wanted to sit amongst the fallen leaves, even as I prodded her to skitter down toward the woodline to do her business. She’s a stubborn animal and tends to cause me to be frustrated when I am in a hurry to do other things.
I wasn’t late. Not yet. But I wanted to get moving to my next errand. She hadn’t been outside the house for about four hours because I had to complete the storm door installation that day. Her daily roving recreational opportunities fell victim to home improvements.
It was the second day of her extended confinement. Larry, a good friend, and cop-retiree, helped me put in a new entry door the day before. Ellie whined from a back bedroom where I placed her to ensure she didn’t scoot outside for a self-initiated world tour.
Wednesday’s forced incarceration of Ellie within the chaotic mess of tools, cracked clamshell molding, and lack of good carpentry skills was bolstered with a large sheet of cardboard to block her exit from the house. Since it was only me working on the second stage of door installation, I enjoyed her presence in the dining/living room.
As I slipped in and out of the house repeatedly, the cardboard was easy to move. It was more of a subliminal or mental barrier for the dog; she could have pushed it over without a bit of effort. Seventy-six pounds of lab/boxer could have hopped over the roadblock, but she knows the drill.
I selected a mellow string of Pandora-derived musical accompaniments to entertain us through the dump-recovered, cherry cabinet-enclosed Klipsch speakers. I think Ellie likes music but doesn’t enjoy loud volume and excessive bass.
Ray Lamontagne crooned “Highway to the Sun” and other selections while I leveled, caulked, and screwed the new storm door over the entrance to the open-air autumn auditorium. Ellie kept her head still on a decorative couch pillow, following my lumbering movement with only her expressive brown eyes.
Watching a dog watch you gives you insight into their life’s mindset. You can almost see their thoughts floating in cartoonish dialogue bubbles above their heads.
“Is he done yet? He’s not very skilled at this. We could be outside right now! I wonder if he knows that I hate Ray Lamontagne’s music. How about a bit more Bad Company?”
As I cleaned up my mess while shutting and opening the new weather-defying door with a sense of pride, she bumped her nose into my leg repeatedly.
“Just give me a couple of minutes, Ellie. It hasn’t been that long!”
I showered quickly and allowed her scoot out through the new door. She thundered across the deck and then meandered around the dooryard, gathering information for her autobiography. She plopped down in the grass, among the leaves, and began to stare off into the distance. I sat on the bed of my old trailer and did the same.
I don’t know what she was thinking, but I surmised that the sun and warm afternoon air made Ellie feel more vibrant and alive than all the good music and one-sided conversations over the last few days.
I allowed her to sit; that forced me to sit. We were still, even as Tyler Childers crooned quietly about “Shaking the Frost” through the convenient roll-a-way screen of our new storm door meant to do the same. If you listen carefully, most music can fit a moment perfectly.
Ellie knew that we needed to take a few minutes of September’s fleeting time to enjoy the sun’s reflections on the hair of a dog.
From the Jagged Edge, we remain,