Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sleeping Dogs

The old rule-of-thumb that one dog year equals seven years of a human life is not quite accurate.  But it's close enough.  The dogs could care less.  It's us humans who make such a big deal out of the calculation.  That's what I was thinking about early this morning while I was still attempting to find a comfortable position to fall asleep in.  No matter how weary, battered or just plain tired, there are times I just can't fall asleep.   Sometimes its the pillow.  But mostly it's my brain; wired with baggage. 

I make no bones about my age.  It is what it is.  It goes where it will.  Everything, everybody knows, has an expiration date.  Frogs and elephants; gnats and foxes; trees.  Living is a hooha parade to the end of the line.  That's why I couldn't sleep. I was thinking about age and time and loss and, I must confess, a little bit about shoes. But mostly I was thinking about love.

This summer, over the course of a week, I fell in love. (And it was like falling to.  My curiosity got me too close to the edge, I lost my balance and rolled, with the all the grace of a warthog in heat, into a thicket of thorns that I am still extracting.)  While sleep refused to embrace me, I came to the conclusion that my 7 day love affair equaled at least one dog year.  At least.

I really don't need to explain how an affair works.  There is heat, laughter, honesty and a lack of modesty.  There are secrets made and stories told.  I was drenched with feeling things that had, years ago, dehydrated.

This wondrous man and I cannot be.  That's part of our secret.  Leaving that week in the care of my memory has proved to be more painful than childbirth.  More difficult than looking in the mirror.  He is a decade younger (I refuse to calculate that in dog years) and has the personality of the awesome neighbor man who exists only in a Lifetime movie.   

While I was not sleeping and comparing my week in dog years, the term 'dog days of summer' made an appearance.  Dog Days originally were the days when Sirius rose just before or at the same time as sunrise,  which is no longer true.  (It has something to do with the equinox, blah blah). The Romans sacrificed a brown dog at the beginning of the Dog Days to appease the rage of Sirius, believing that the star was the cause of the hot, sultry weather.

But I, feeling what I feel and knowing what I know, wouldn't sacrifice anything to lessen the souvenir of ache or the scars of passion that became my summer vacation.  I was, at long last, breathing color and dancing the song. 

Generally, a dog of six has aged about as much as a 45-year-old human.  At 10, she's like a human of 65; at 12, a human of 75; and at 15, a human of 90.

But who's counting?

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