“Narrows Pond Road gym,” I joked as we took aspirin and rested indoors between sessions.
There is no denying it—the older we get, the slower we get. What would have once been accomplished in one day now takes two days, maybe even more. And the snow hasn’t helped. Clif and I need more time to get the little house in the big woods ready for winter, not less time.
No matter. Clif and I pressed on. I raked all the open areas in the backyard. There were some patches with just a sprinkle of snow on the leaves, and I raked them as well. Clif helped a little with raking, but mostly he hauled wood.
The dog did his bit, too. Racing around the tarp I use for the leaves, he barked, barked, barked as I raked. Liam took breaks from barking to chase a small blue ball I threw, and while he chased it, I had some peace. But not for long. At nine, Liam is still an energetic dog, and it only took him seconds to retrieve the ball and come back to his barking post.
“He won’t be pesty tonight,” I said to Clif as he stacked wood on the pile.
“Nope,” Clif replied, taking a break to watch our racing dog.
“I wish I had his energy,” I said, and Clif smiled and nodded.
By Sunday evening, the leafiest part of the backyard had been raked, and the last of the wood—we have five cords in all—had been stacked. What a good feeling to survey the raked yard and the stacked wood.
There is still more we could do—the hedges need to be trimmed and the driveway swept, among other things. “But if we have a major snowstorm,” I said to Clif, “then we’re pretty much all set.”
By late afternoon on Sunday, as the dark settled in, Clif and I settled in, too, on the couch in the living room. We took more aspirin, I popped some popcorn, and we read and dozed. Resting from his exertions, the dog lay sprawled by the couch. When the three of us got up an hour or so later, Clif and I weren’t the only ones with stiff legs. Liam limped into the kitchen to watch us make supper, and he settled in a spot not far from the stove where he could supervise without being in the way.
How, fitting, then, later that evening, for Clif and I to watch Dean Spanley, an odd but haunting movie about dogs and reincarnation. (Dean Spanley features Jeremy Northam, Sam Neill, and the great Peter O’Toole.)
The movie reminded me that the dogs in our lives never stay with us as long as we would like. May they race as long as they can.