Its been two years. Time to check in. Can I sum up the difference between who I am now and who I was when I last wrote? Maybe I could say I am no different than I was, but there is less of an “I” at all. I feel more connected. It might have something to do with this guy:
I saw Rocky online, scrawny, shaved, and described as a “love bug.” I drove in a blizzard to Long Island to the shelter, whose website was backed by the Roberta Flack’s “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” on loop. I arrived and met Rocky, who promptly nipped me. They instructed me to give him water and he drank and drank from a small bowl I refilled wedged in passenger seat. I took him home on the ferry and we split a sub. That was our first date.
Rocket, the Rockstar, Rocco, Rockland, and I have been together for two years now. Liz told me, sometimes animals come into you life for a reason, and she was right. He was a biter, a yelper, a suffer of crippling separation anxiety, and a produces of smells from every orifice of his body (mouth? ears? eyes?) that suggested his mother may have mated with a skunk. A reluctant athlete, a voracious eater, and a general malcontent, Rocky showed me how to love.
Those first few months, I’d take Rocky on five mile runs or mountain hikes, doubling back so he could catch up at he padded along, mouth open, eyes wide. I took him on the trail and he followed me until he gave out and retired to his perch in my pack, taking the views from over my shoulder. Camping, He would stretch out his leash line as far as it would go and yelp in my direction until I returned.
Knowing Rocky as I do now, that he prefers an 80:20 ratio of slumber to consciousness, detests the cold, and prefers to be carried or lifted rather than leave the ground under his own force, I marvel that he tolerated all that exertion. I have to think it was not out of joy for the experience, but a recognition that we needed each other, or at least I was the one with the cheese. And cheese is love.
I suppose the reverse was true. I got Rocky because I selfishly needed someone and I got Rocky. I couldn’t get rid of him, thank goodness.
Its been two years since then and if I can describe the overall experience of that time, it would be one of love, creativity, gratitude. It isn’t the exploration I thought I’d take, traveling through a canyon or out to sea, but as far a new territory is concerned, it is an adventure just the same.