The day started in the usual way which is to say, as of late, I’ve had to practically do cartwheels to get The Poodle out the door for his early morning walk. Begrudgingly, he finally gets with the program, as it were, and we’re off up the street, around the block and into the woods.
Luckily we have been missed by Hurricane Florence but we’re experiencing some scant peripheral effects as it is a particularly gloomy day. We’re due for rain but we’ve not seen more than a few drops, so far that is. Still, the sky could not be any grayer. As I listen to a Hearts of Space playlist I’m all to keenly aware of how the music and the somber sky are messing with my soul. I need some pep in my step so I switch to Spotify and decide on something more energizing. On cue, The Poodle begins to pick up his pace too, although it’s because of a nearby squirrel sighting.
My mind wanders over this and that as we continue down the path. About a mile into our walk I say to The Poodle, as I often do, “We’re almost there so let’s stop for a brief moment to say hello, shall we?”
‘Round this bend….up and over breaks in the macadam path due to gnarly tree roots….then around another bend to the right…..
Wait a minute….
I stop in the middle of the path in a moment of utter confusion.
Was I so into my head that I missed her?
“Let’s turn around,” I say to The Poodle. We backtrack only three steps. I look right, left…all around me.
Something definitely is not right here.
I turn back in the direction of my purpose.
And then it hits me like a two by four….
I am in the right place… but she is not!
OH NO! This can’t be!“ I literally cried out aloud. The Poodle looks at me with questioning, clouded eyes.
Drusilla the wood nymph–the name I gave to her– is gone! I hadn’t taken this route for a while because the mosquitoes were such an annoyance…and now, it seems that she has disappeared!
I cannot believe that my “eyes and ears in the woods” is gone.
I stand at the spot where she was once proudly rooted, searching for an explanation. And then I see her. She had to have taken her last breath weeks ago during one of the pounding rains. She’s lifeless indeed, broken almost beyond recognition, split into three or four chunks and covered with a tangle of debris. The heavy rains from some weeks ago have drowned the life out of her, washing her away from the sentry post she held for years down into the shallow ravine that was now to be her final resting place.
I stand above the spot where she fell lamenting the loss long enough for The Poodle to decide that he may as well lie down and rest his weary bones.
Dear readers you must think I’m bonkers. Perhaps so. But truly, seeing Drusilla the wood nymph on my morning walks for years when visiting my sister and now for a year living in her neighborhood has been a lovely ritual. Nearly every morning I’d share a moment with her, stopping as close to her base as possible given the terrain to tell her a thought that I held in my heart…then I’d move on to the rest of my day. It was a curiously magical, divine start to my day.
Yes, you know it…I shed a tear or two. I will miss her wonky head and her almost sad, asymmetrical face. I will miss the simple act of saying “Good Morning Drusilla.” My morning walks won’t feel quite the same now that she is gone.
I suppose it just speaks to the impermanence of Every. Little. Thing.
In the words of french novelist Gustave Flaubert:
“The principle thing in this world is to keep one’s soul aloft.”
Through some difficult months a walk in the woods and a Drusilla sighting was responsible for doing just that.
There was bliss in that.