The Schmurf

Last Fall, when we spent some time in New Jersey, we met a couple who had converted a school bus into an RV of sorts.  They had three cats that they had trained to walk on a leash, so I took some time to chat with them about how they had managed such a thing.  They said the trick was to put the harness on the cat and let them just sort of live with it for awhile, then they added the leash to the mix.

So a week ago, we invested in a harness for Murphy, our fluffy, grey-and-white escape artist.  For the last week, Murphy has been getting used to wearing the harness.  A couple of days ago, Pony introduced him to the leash.  Today, this afternoon, Murphy spent a pleasant afternoon with us in the clean, clear, outdoor air, on the end of his own blue, nylon leash.

Now how do I get out of this one?

Now how do I get out of this one?

It’s been a good day.  Tomorrow, we pack up and head north to Seattle.  Today was a day of packing up and attending to a few details, here and there.  I had the pure luxury of swimming some 42 laps in the Jantzen Beach swimming pool.  I may have mentioned this before, but swimming is flat out one of my favorite forms of exercise.  I have turned it into a form of meditation.  Or sometimes I think about lyrics while swimming laps.

Rufus and I had three good, long walks around various parts of Hayden Island, and, again, I mulled over some possibilities for lyrics while we perambulated.  Walks with Rufus have turned into one of my best opportunities for writing new songs, and I have told audiences that I am grateful Rufus is satisfied with the occasional dog biscuit as a reward for serving as my muse.

As the sun was setting  I played guitar while Pony cooked up some chicken for dinner.  It made for a fine end to the day.  Pony and Margaret enjoyed some Long Island Ice Tea, which left me a bottle of Jacob’s Creek Merlot to sample for dinner.  Dinner turned to dessert (Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream for each of us), while I continued to enjoy the merlot.  Before I knew it, the bottle was drained, and Rufus and I took our late night walk while I have to admit that I staggered a bit.  For what it’s worth, one of the advantages of the RV lifestyle is that I am often within walking distance of our home.  For what it’s worth, I rarely kill a bottle of Merlot on my own.   But summer is nigh upon us.  The full moon is but a few days away.  Tomorrow we leave Portland (a town that has been very kind and welcoming to us), and head to Seattle, and from there to various other parts of the West and the Rockies.

We are watching the first season of the HBO series, “The Big C”.  We started the first episode over dinner.  The central theme is about grabbing life.  I realize that anyone reading this can attribute my present philosophical meanderings to a bottle of merlot, but, in watching this series, I am struck with the thought that there is a sort of gift in knowing your mortality in a very visceral way.  A friend of mine told me about watching the musician, Steve Goodman  in concert.  Steve Goodman was first diagnosed with Leukemia when he was an adolescent.  My buddy, Ernie, told me that to see a Steve Goodman concert was a marvelous thing, because he lived with cancer for the majority of his life, and, as a consequence, he treated every concert as though it could be his last.  Wouldn’t it be better if we could appreciate the precious quality of each moment without something like the specter of cancer hanging over us?  Today is a day where I have enjoyed the knife-edge of Now from one moment to the next.  It was a gloriously fine day.

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