Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Black Dog

Maybe it's the time of year.
We're in the twelfth month and one more year is about to enter the record books. I suppose it's natural to look back and evaluate your life. I'm OK with looking back and grading the past year, but I'm not OK with the Black Dog following me relentlessly. Just out of reach, but always there.
You know the Black Dog. Some people call it 'the Blues', others call it Depression. The Black Dog is real. And powerful.

Let's give this canine symbol a gender--female, for my lovely seven year old Black Lab, Sophie.

She's with me as I go to bed and when I wake. I know she's there, so I plan my days around her. Develop strategies for going to Cumberland Farms for gas, Mrs Bridges' Pantry for tea and lunch, 85 Main for drinks and dinner.
Being stalked by the Black Dog is exhausting. She keeps me on the defensive--which is depressing. The weather doesn't help much--gray, raw days with terrible light quality. What will happen when the snow storms batter our roads and driveways?? Good news is quickly overwhelmed by the mind-numbing, never-ending pat-pat of the Black Dog's paws just behind me. And bad news is like a fire-works show. Owww!!

There are strategies for dealing with the Black Dog:
1) Stay physically busy. Rake leaves. Cut fallen trees. Split wood. Be outside. Accomplish things.
2) Say kind things to your friends and family. The cheezier the better. If your children understand that you're trying desperately to chase that dog away they may join in the effort--and then you have a chance.
3) Be good to your spouse. (I'm sure that you're always good to your spouse...but, during these times of extreme touchiness, it can't hurt to be extra gentle and caring.)
4) Forgive your fellow humans as they trample over your hopes and dreams, take your parking spot, cause you to miss the traffic light, and take 10 minutes to complete their business ahead of you in the bank.

So, it's December. Another year is almost over and I don't know where the time went. My brother-in-law says it's because we didn't get a summer this year. I don't know. How can a person misplace 334 days? Another problem is that the Black Dog follows me into the new year. She disappears for a day or two at New Year's, but can be found, tail wagging, tongue out, panting at the kitchen door any day after January 5th. She disappears sometime around April. I think it's the sweet scent of rebirth, the warm/chill breeze carrying the smell of earth and decay, the sure knowledge that Spring has returned that causes the Black Dog to move on, to trot over the hill without even a momentary pause and turning of the head to say good-bye.
I suppose the Black Dog doesn't need to look back. I know she'll be back.
Where does she go in the meantime?????

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