_____ Time does not march on as you may have heard. It goose steps, with relentless, indifferent, certainty. This is not altogether a bad thing. I remember a time, before Baskin Robbins had 32 flavors. Like clockwork, time brings change. Some changes are good. Some changes, I am not so sure about. But all change, requires us to change, to accommodate the afore mentioned changes.
_____ A few of us are now entering our “golden years”. This phrase refers to the amber quality of light experienced just before sunset, and the increasingly yellow hue one’s toenails take on. This happens far sooner than is commonly belied. If someone who is sixty is middle-aged, simple math tells us that this person’s clock will not stop until he or she reaches 120. Dogs are not, as they should be by law, exempted. I have written my Senators and Representatives in Washington urging them to change this, but they have not been responsive to this, or any of my other suggestions.
_____ Change begets change. There is a ripple effect. For example, when I installed the under the cabinet Mr. Grip-It, to open increasingly stubborn jars, I was forced to move the toaster. Logically, it could only go where the bread machine already was. Which meant that the bread machine would need to be put away, however there was no away, available. This is a Mobius strip of Dominoes.
_____ As “Mr. Huffle Puff”, THE Little Bear, also crossed from middle age to golden years, the jump from the floor to Dad’s bed became more challenging. Like father, like son, Arthritis was setting in. A thick rug was placed by the bed to cushion a “missed jump”. But it was painful to watch. Accommodation would be required. I built a set of steps. and pushed them up to the bed. I coaxed him up them, and down them.
_____ It was the only time they were ever used. Perhaps it was a point of pride, making that jump? Those steps were a real shin banger for me. The ripple effect had started. I bought a new bed. A much lower bed. This eliminated the possibility of under the bed storage boxes, with a new, scant 4 inch floor clearance. There was that damn bread machine again. But progress had been made, as the leap to the bed was again do-able. The complexity of the ripple effect is always underestimated. The dog steps looked fine in the garden covered in flower pots, but I was soon informed by a most displeased small black dog, that the tattered blanket nest, that had been under the bed, behind the storage boxes, against the wall, covered with a foot of sound deadening, mattress, further curtained off by a sultans harem worth of dust ruffles and comforters had been an indispensable retreat. This point was driven home with the arrival of the first thunder storm.
_____ This ripple effect, this notion that inescapable change, driven by a goose stepping phalanx of clocks, further aggravated by our attempts to respond, repair, and accommodate, is known as the “theory of Ramification”. It is a three thousand year old concept, originally developed by a second kingdom Pharaoh. It is a circular (but yet linear) concept which vibrates on a frequency that bespeaks how desperately interconnected all events truly are and how pathetic our attempts are to find a new home for the bread machines of life.
_____ But I was still faced with a problem. Again I responded. As dangerous as I now understood this to be, I saw little choice. I took scrap plywood and made a new night-stand for the head of the bed. It appeared to be a simple rectangular box suitable for holding an alarm clock and a few books, 4 or 5 remote controls. But INSIDE, it was wallpapered with carpet and had glow in the dark stars fixed to the ceiling. It was filled with familiar old tattered blankets, and one unlaundered sweaty t-shirt from dad. It was up on cork feet to dampen the vibration of rolling thunder. And over the dog sized hole in the front was stapled a bandanna. Every day for a week, the cookie fairy magically left small chunks of mild cheddar, or a homemade dog treat inside this new artificial womb. And we waited.
_____ The sky darkened, the breeze picked up, the rain started. And THERE IT WAS! A multi-forked bolt descended to a hillside across our valley and the sonic boom was loud and instant and you could feel it. As usual my dog got up and with calm deliberation proceeded (no panic here) to the bed and tried to crawl under. It was then that the panic started. Most of his head fit but……I went to the Thunder Box, raised the bandanna and softly called his name over and over like a litany. He came and looked at me with profound sadness, and went in. Three hours after the storm passed, he came out, shook, and jumped on the bed. We often have long talks and I have been informed that the thunder box will never be as safe as under the bed used to be. But that it will do.
_____ Tonight we sit in a lawn chair on my roof watching the amber glow blazing up against the cumulus clouds to the west. My dog sleeps with his head on one of my shoes. This is a clever trick, even if you drift off soundly, any real movement of that foot will wake you. The sky is working into one of our spectacular southwestern sunsets. It is blazing now and in a few brief moments, it will begin to damp, and the dark will come. What a wonderful and glorious day we have had together…….