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A Thoroughly Modern Intellect

IMGP7610If you know me at all, whether in this place or, poor soul, actually and really in the flesh, you know that walking is a non-negotiable element of my life.  No matter the weather, no matter the terrain, whether in town or country I walk daily and sometimes many times daily.  It’s exercise, though I do other things in the pursuit of a fit and variously wannabe or actually sufficiently trim bod. It’s meditation – never having managed to sit still and contemplate my omming solar plexus for more than a fleeting matter of moments, I find I can switch my whirring brain off and enter another plane of consciousness which occasionally even unlocks a coherent thought when I walk.  It’s relaxation – the time to allow oneself to just be and to saturate in whatever surrounds.  I love walking in woods, in hills and mountains, on beaches, in fields and meadows, by rivers.  I love to walk.  The Bean and I walked literally thousands of kilometres in France together and savoured the times when HB2 was with us.  When I was in the grip of my own bleakness, walking was my constant and in the end, I literally walked my way back to happiness.

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At this moment, we are urged to get outside and walk as we self-isolate ourselves to flatten the virus curve in this deeply troubling and anxious reality we are all, together, living through.  I am fortunate because I need no encouragement.  Daily I am out with the dogs in tow or, more accurately towed by the dogs and now that HB2 is confined to barracks with me, he comes too.  Some days we split up and take a pair of dogs each, some days we are a motley sextet.  And the day I am about to share with you was a whole troupe day.

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It was Saturday and at weekends our often habit is to drive to one of our neighbouring towns where there is an excellent field complete with skating pond which is, of course, merely pond at non-frozen times of year.  Skating on ponds is a feature of life here.  It is not one I will be joining in with at any point forward except to watch and admire.  Sliding sports and I don’t gel well.  I am somewhat Bambi-like of limb and I blame my 6′ frame and attendant high centre of gravity for my decided lack of balance and grace.  The fact that my neighbour is taller than me by  a margin and skis with perfect ease and elegance is something I try not to be bitter about.  That and her fabulous Titian curls.  Enough already.  We don’t harbour jealousy in this house.

Beyond the field is a large wooded hill.  In this area we are rich in conservation land.  This is one such place.  And it is a dog-walkers delight.  The first time we went, at the recommendation of one of The Brains’ colleagues I was absolutely astonished.  There were at least twenty dogs frenziedly frolicking on the field and as I approached the pond I found at least twenty more submerged but for their heads and rudder tails all conjoined by a collective bliss etched on their various furry faces.  We try and go once or twice a week for socialisation purposes.  The dogs, you understand.  Us, not so much though it can be pleasant to chat with familiar and unfamiliar folks about such contentious issues as what anti-tic treatment you favour, where to get the best and warmest canine coats to combat brutal New England winters, whether dogs really are smarter than humans and, generally confided in a whisper this one and received with a  unified torrent of relief, how to tackle poo(p) eating. Thus, we pass most early Saturday and Sunday mornings.  Of course, right now, we are observing our social distance and people are not standing in a friendly knot but rather spread out and using sign language and friendly smiles around the field.  When we look back at this moment, we will laugh.  We really will.

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We turned off the road into the carpark at 8:30 prompt.  There was a rather badly parked car which caused The Brains to have to swing wider than usual and utter an attendant pithy remark about the basic inability of people to display good sense, good manners or any ability to drive a car.  I zoned the remark out and gave the most cursory of glances at the car and it’s driver sitting studying something in his lap.  We parked, passed the nice man who gives up so much of his free time as part of the town conservation group to tending the area surrounding the field, let the dogs run on the field a while, walked past the pond and respected our social distance passing three different ladies on their way home after walking their own dogs.  We took a turn round the woods – this takes about forty minutes.  We could do a longer three mile jaunt but our dogs are not yet to be trusted and the long loop passes quite close to a road and several people’s back-gardens.  Having lost them to an enticing barbecue early last summer we took a wise I feel, decision to wait a while before trying that circuit again off leash. And off leash is so much more fun for the rumbustious pooch-clan we nurture.  Back at the field the dogs ran into the pond and swiftly out again …. it’s March and I can attest to the fact that water is at its coldest at this time of year having stress tested the theory some years ago by falling out of my sculling boat first in early January and then in late March.  Neither was what could be described as a toasty experience but the later dunking took literally a whole day to get warm from afterwards.  Well exercised, dogs were then leashed and walked somewhat serenely back to the waiting car.

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As we drove towards the exit, HB2 exclaimed ‘that car’s still there’.  He also uttered a mild expletive but I will draw a discreet veil over it.  He then remarked that the brake lights were on, indicating that the car was running.  Which seemed odd.  I asked him to drive past it very slowly, a creeping and not at all welcome sensation beginning to manifest at the base of our collective spines.  We did and I looked hard at the driver.  His eyes half closed, mouth slightly open he looked as though he was examining a map.  Eerily he had not moved.  His complexion was what caught my full attention and the kilter of that semi-open mouth.  It reminded me of my father the day he died.  Into the road and I asked to turn back and look again.  We did – me with rubberneck fully extended from the passenger seat.  The disquiet crept ever more harshly into a consciousness that something really did not look, nor feel remotely as it should.  A turn round the carpark and we drew up behind the car.

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What follows I have replayed over and over and over again til my brain has wrung out.  I know I will never forget it.  HB2 approached the car on foot and spoke through the open window.  And then he turned to me and mouthed ‘I think he’s dead’.  I was out of the car and across the fortuitously placed right next door Fire Station forecourt with the speed, if not grace of a pursued gazelle.  I rang the bell, the duty officer appeared and I gave him my best and most succinct account of the fact that there was a car with a man aboard who we believed to be dead.   Longer story short, the first responders were there in seconds (they are conveniently right next door, remember), the police followed.  The man was taken from his car.  Attempts were made to resuscitate him.  The two dogs sitting in the backseat remained still and were pathetically calm.  They knew.  Knew their master had passed.  The policewoman who took our details and briefest of statements was despatched to an address to speak to his wife.  We remained subdued and I suppose shocked for the rest of the day.

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You see, here we all are rightly gripped by the frightening developments all around the world as COVID19 cuts an indiscriminate and lethal swathe through populations and we forget, or at least I know I had forgotten that death being a part of life is happening all around us in the exact same way as it always has.  The night before, Massachusetts, the state I live in, had reported it’s first death from COVID19.  A man of 87 years old with previous serious health issues.  A reporter stood outside his home, interviewed neighbours (he was lovely man, a Navy Veteran) and we all felt sad and our thoughts (and for some, prayers) went out to his family and loved ones.  This man, who I believe, but must wait until autopsy results are released to know, must have suffered an aneurysm, had a stroke or a heart attack as he pressed the brake pedal approaching the junction with the road.  He died the most unassuming of deaths.  And he sat in his car as people drove past and walked past and tut-tutted because he was stopped in an awkward place for at least an hour and I believe probably an hour and a half.  This was an older gentleman but not ancient, who probably thought it wise to take the dogs out early rather than risk meeting too many people at this time when we are told to keep contact to a minimum.  I thought of his wife, who presumably thought he would be back with their dogs soon.   Maybe she was making breakfast.  Maybe she was tut-tutting that he was taking his time and then …. then, a police officer carrying the worst of news to her doorstep.  And I thought of the policewoman and all the other officers the world over who have to break tragic news to people, to strangers.  To witness and contain and comfort the rawest moments of shock and grief.  I thought of the dogs.  Sitting patient, loyal. Sentinels guarding their master.  They knew.  Dogs do.  Their dignity would shame most of us.  Death is a part of life.  This man died the quietest of deaths.  There will be no news story, no reporter urging us to send our thoughts and prayers.  He was just an older gentleman who died.  As we all will.  My thoughts have been with his wife and his family whom I shall never meet.  Their grief is just the same as the family of the first man to succumb to COVID19 in Massachusetts.  The experience has left me a little altered.  I suppose finding a deceased body on a routine dog walk is bound to do that.  In writing this piece, I honour his life.  I will never forget him though I believe I only ever passed the time of day with him.  It was his car I recognised as familiar, not his face.  And his dogs.  Rest well, good sir.  Find the place to nestle in the hearts of those that loved you and ease their pain over time as they learn to recognise that you are ever there, residing in that safe place inside them.

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PS:  As ever, a PS:  The title is from Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Good Husband’ ‘to expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect’.  It seems to me that none of us expected what has gripped the world we call ours and is running rampant and amuck amongst us wherever on the planet we live.  Perhaps we should learn from this that we are not as advanced nor evolved as we pertain to be.  And perhaps at the end of this, we might learn to be more compassionate, kinder, more decent and tolerant.  And thus evolved, we might grace ourselves as having modernised our intellect a tiny bit for the experience.  Stay safe, stay well, stay out of harms way and remember that eventually, for one reason or another, death will be part of our lives as surely as this virus will touch all our lives before it is done.

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And for the sake of a little levity, here is Helen Shapiro ‘Walking Back to Happiness’ ….

 

 

 

 

 

69 Comments Post a comment
  1. This is a beautiful and touching post, Osyth. You honored the gentleman with grace and wisdom.

    Before our state went into official “shelter-in-place” we decided to drive to a bigger town to pick up some needed items, and so we asked a couple neighbors if they needed anything. That’s when we found out that our next-door neighbor passed away just a few days prior. His wife told us “he was ready to go.”
    I hope that when my time comes I’m “ready” though most of us never get that chance. The most we can do is appreciate the time we have and the people around us.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 28, 2020
    • Thank you, Christi for that comment. I struggled with whether or not I should even write this and then with the tenor of the post – I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer nor to make light of the crisis we all find ourselves living through and it’s inevitable tragic impact on many. Your story touched me greatly. Here’s to feeling ready when the time comes 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      March 30, 2020
  2. Karen #

    What an unsettling reminder of our constant mortality it must have been to realize that the gentleman in the car had died. That must have lingered with you both for days. My initial reaction echoes a Catholic childhood, “man from dust you came, to dust you shall return.”
    I sincerely hope that his family takes solace in his benefit of a quick passage.
    Death certainly seems awfully busy these days. I’m surprised that he found time for a mundane death in the usual way.
    Be well, my friend.

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    March 28, 2020
    • Karen, it was unsettling and stayed with us like a shadow in the house for several days. Now the shadow is hidden but neither of us will ever forget the experience, that’s for sure. I hope beyond everything that his family are comforted by his sudden departure. I suspect, though that it will take time for that peace to overcome the shock and grief they must be feeling. The Reeper is certainly on a roll and I echo your sentiment right back to you. Be well, stay safe – you are a wonderful friend. 💖

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      March 30, 2020
  3. An unnerving experience. I hope his next of kin have been kind to his dogs.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 28, 2020
    • It was certainly un-nerving once we had the moment to process it. At the time it was entirely surreal. And calm. I have thought much of his dogs. When we venture back to that place (and we haven’t since on account of not wishing to discuss and be made somehow celebrity by what we witnessed and alerted) I may find out from others. I do know that he lived within a short distance of the recreation area so I guess there will be many others who actually knew him better. For us, we’re strangers from another town 😉

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      March 30, 2020
      • You’re still able to go out then? Every state has its own rules, I imagine. Make the most of it!

        Liked by 2 people

        March 30, 2020
      • We have a ‘Stay at Home Advisory’. Massachusetts is renowned as being one of the most liberal states in the union and I do get the reluctance of the Governor to make an order. In principle we stay at home except for essential outings – food, medicines and exercise. Non-essential businesses are closed, by order. Restaurants and cafes were allowed to transition to take-away and everything else is shut. We live about 30 miles from downtown Boston and I would say that people are observing the rules sensibly in general. We have transitioned our walks to the nearest trail and go out early to avoid meeting others. When we do, we observe the 6’ rule. However, The Mayor of Boston was on TV yesterday announcing that all basketball hoops have been cable tied and he has now banned street hockey, soccer, pickleball (whatever that is), basketball, and tennis. He is keeping parks open for passive recreation like walking and jogging but warns that if people continue to flout the rules of social distancing by going out in groups, he will close them all. Playgrounds have already been closed. My own opinion is that people can’t be trusted and I wish the Governor would just make a lock-down order. Hey ho.

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        March 30, 2020
      • It’s what’s we’ve had for two weeks now. No parks open, no sports, no cycling, no walking except once a day within Ikm of the house, no going out at all except for daily exercise, to work if you’re in an essential service and to buy essentials. We have to state the date, purpose, destination, time of leaving the house, expected time of return on a signed piece of paper every single time we go out. €135 fine if you’re out doing what you shouldn’t be or without your attestation. The market here got a derogation to continue on Saturdays (the land of market gardens and petits producteurs) but there are police making sure the distance is respected and they only allow one person at a time to each stand.
        It’s always very quiet here but at the moment there is no sound at all except the birds, dogs barking miles away, the odd tractor. Nothing else at all. I wish I didn’t know that as soon as the confinement is over they’ll be back at the same over-production, over-travelling, over-eating, noise and pollution-making as before.

        Liked by 1 person

        March 30, 2020
      • I believe it’s the only way. Humans cannot be trusted to do the right thing. Selfishness and idiocy see to that. My girls are all in Britain and it’s much the same but less crystal clear which also makes for difficulties.

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        March 30, 2020
      • The Brits think they are disciplined and they have the Dunkirk spirit, the Blitz, all in it together rubbish. The French don’t even pretend to be disciplined and rather expect to have curfews and fines. It’s working, more or less.

        Liked by 2 people

        March 30, 2020
      • Exactly so. And unfortunately, this crisis could not have come at a worse time for the Brits, fired up as they are with all the jingoistic claptrap they’ve been inhaling out of Boris Johnson’s backside for the past 4 years!

        Liked by 1 person

        March 31, 2020
      • They voted for him like the Americans voted for Trump and will vote again, n’en déplaise à certains. What’s so sad is that they won’t even be held to account for their mismanagement because for the majority they can do no wrong.

        Liked by 2 people

        March 31, 2020
      • I will never understand people. Fact.

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        March 31, 2020
      • They say we are all unique individuals. I’d like to see some proof of that particular statement.

        Liked by 2 people

        March 31, 2020
      • I don’t think that’s it at all. It’s like the erroneous notion that this country is one big melting pot. Poppycock … it’s a series of warring ghettos. I think most people are selfish to the core and that is the problem.

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        March 31, 2020
      • I thoroughly agree about the selfishness. That’s our unifying characteristic.
        As for the melting pot, I don’t notice much melting of social status or colour.

        Liked by 1 person

        March 31, 2020
  4. If only we could learn from dogs, they are very wise creatures and very accepting of human frailty.
    Stay safe and well.

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    March 28, 2020
    • I echo your last sentence straight back to you. Your summation of dogs is spot on.

      Liked by 1 person

      March 30, 2020
  5. What a gorgeous place to walk your four legged family members and yourselves. Yes, I could never exclude exercise from my life. Unbearable to live with comes to mind if it was stopped. Hard to get in my longer training days as my usual walking trail is only 2 metres wide so getting the social distancing right is not possible. Though I can’t believe how many people are still using it.
    Enjoyed the photographed well captured.
    Kia Kaha Oysth and all

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    March 28, 2020
    • High praise from you who have been to so many beautiful places and who live in one of the most stunning countries on the planet! It is lovely. And the more so for the fact that we are quite populace here (by my standards of living in Cantal and being three cows to each person, that is) and only 45 minutes from the centre of Boston so the tranquility that the conservation lands offer is succour indeed! I hope you are managing to get some fresh air and exercise. I have you down as a kindred soul and I don’t want to think of you wholly deprived! I’ve been having some problems with my photo library which I think I have now overcome so those were a rather random set – I’m happy that you liked them. Take the best care, both of you. You are daily in my thoughts

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      March 30, 2020
  6. Wow Fiona! This is such and outstanding post. So thougthfully and compassionate and beautifully written. Great job my friend and welcome back! We’ve missed you!
    I have been off WordPress for the most part firr the last couple of months due to other in-going priorities. Selling myvRV, buying a condo, getting settled in, undergoing more medical operations , etc. I am going to try to start writing again very soon.
    Sent you a quic email the other day to express my happiness when I saw you were backT Was worried about you and you were often in my thouhts. Love to chat on the phone with you in the forthcoming days when yiu’re able. Love to catch up!

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    March 28, 2020
    • Gary, you are FAR too kind! Thank you for those lovely words. We will catch up this week. That’s not a threat, it’s a promise!! X

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      March 30, 2020
      • Great..Anytime is fine. It’ll be great to catch up with you my dear friend!

        Liked by 1 person

        March 30, 2020
  7. I forgot how beautifully you write and how much wisdom you share with your reader. I am deeply moved by this post. Stay well friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 29, 2020
    • Bernadette, how wonderful to ‘see’ you. As ever, you are far too kind but I really appreciate and bask in that kindness. Je t’embrasse – va sain et sauf, ma belle amie.

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      March 30, 2020
  8. His poor wife.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 29, 2020
    • Absolutely. It is her my heart is leaden for. I don’t think there is really comfort to be found in such a situation …. eventually I hope she will find some peace in the knowledge that his was such a blink of the eye departure but now, the shock and grief must be dreadful. You are in my thoughts, daily Helen. I know that Leo is a grave concern and I do send you my strength and warmest thoughts as this crise progresses.

      Like

      March 30, 2020
      • Thank you…he had just picked up after several months of illness – only to be confined to barracks!

        Liked by 1 person

        March 30, 2020
      • That is not the sort of irony I like to hear about. I hope you are both coping with the incarceration OK. It isn’t easy, I’m sure. We are only on an advisory to stay at home at the moment. This because Massachusetts is liberal to the core. Personally, seeing the morons on the loose in Boston at the weekend I think it’s time for our Governor to get draconian. Out here most people are being sensible but ….. In other news, my second daughter spent 2 months in Costa Rica and will return as soon as she is able (she flew back to England at the start of March which is regrettable) and in some semblance of permanence I think. She loved it and her parting words at Boston Logan Airport where I met her before the transatlantic flight were ‘you will come to Costa Rica won’t you Mummy’. Try and stop me!

        Liked by 1 person

        March 30, 2020
    • My reaction exactly. I was reading along, thinking about a soft scolding about dogs off-leash. I calculate my walks, both where and when, according to when and where I’ve encountered dog walkers. I am terrified of dogs. When they come bounding up and “want to play,” my reaction is that of a girl getting felt up by a dirty old man–it might be fun for the man but not for the girl. I wish there were clearly defined areas for with or without dog. Our local park was dogs on leash only, but local owners would unclip their dogs outside the park, the dogs would run inside to do their business and to jump on passersby, and the owners would stand outside as if they had no idea. Now the park is closed to all. I go out into the usually vacant countryside, one ear listening to the latest news reports and the other without earphone so as to detect any barking asap, for a quick U-turn.
      Anyway, the story of the poor man was very unexpected. My reaction to that was “his poor wife,” as Helen says. Around the corner from our house, a father of three had a fatal heart attack while driving, maybe a year ago. He ran off the road and into a wall. I can still see the damage done by the car. The family still leaves flowers, and I never stop thinking of this man whom I never met (but it’s a small village, so maybe I did…or his wife or kids), and, even more, of his family, who have to go on, regardless.
      We have a household member whose immune system is highly compromised. Much creativity and planning goes into our dealings with the world. I take my walks in the most remote parts of the garrigue, even though hunting season doesn’t end until tomorrow (I have an orange cap…but hunters tend to be drunk so not sure it will help). Laundry once a month (home machine is broken). Groceries twice a month. SIck person goes to hospital more often but it can’t be avoided. Tomorrow I will make masks. For us, for the boulangerie, for the épicerie, for friends. Our kid hasn’t left the house for three weeks. At all. My husband goes out only for cancer appointments. We are all slowly losing our minds.

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      March 31, 2020
      • No joke, is it, even though managing risk beomes part of life.
        After experince of la chasse I would like to enact a law that made them legitimate targets all the year round.

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        March 31, 2020
      • First of all, can I apologise for not responding to this. The post has driven me nuts – it seems to have inherent bugs and half the comments ended up in spam. And I am unable to respond to those as me. Overwhelming everything, I want to say how sorry I am to learn your husband has Cancer. I have no words to help but I do send you all my strength at, what at any time would be hugely difficult for you all and now is made desperately harder by the virus. I appreciate your fear of dogs and I can assure you that my dogs are no more allowed to run up to people than I would let my children rampage. Sadly many dog-owners are oblivious to the potential trauma their canine can cause. That seems to be a hallmark of modern life in many ways. I wrote this piece really as my own small tribute to a man who passed silently and without fanfare. A dear friends father died in the exact same way as the fellow in your commune some 25 years ago. My friend is a medic and was walking down the high street when someone yelled for assistance as he ran he realised that the assistance was for his own father. Life can be extremely cruel. But we can all be kind and considerate and I try to be both in all aspects of my life, including walking the dogs. And including honouring lives lost. Go softly at this terribly hard time. Be kind to yourself and please, take the strength of all that care, including a strange woman you have never met who is thousands of miles across the ocean.

        Like

        March 31, 2020
  9. Oh my goodness, Osyth! That was powerfully written, and such a sad incident. But I enjoyed seeing the photos of your dogs on their walk!

    Like

    March 29, 2020
    • Thank you for reading it. I appreciate that it is not easy stuff, nor at all jolly. Our dogs, though do provide light relief all day every day and that is so badly needed right now. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. I have been having some trouble with the library (now fixed, I’m hopeful) so they were randomly snatched as being vaguely relevant to illustrate and break up the words. I will pay your blog a visit. I’m looking forward to that!

      Liked by 1 person

      March 30, 2020
  10. Beautifully written. A very sad way to die, alone in your car. This is an experience that will stay with you forever.
    Big hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 29, 2020
    • Thank you, Nadia. Yes, the experience now forms part of our fabric going forwards. It served as such a stark reminder of how fragile we are. I send you hugs from this side too. Keep yourselves safe and well.

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      March 30, 2020
  11. I read this last night when the notification came through, but didn’t really feel I could do it justice that late in the day so have come back to it this morning. On second reading this is even more poignant than I first thought. Such a sad way for your walk with brains and dogs to come to an end, but I hope you can take from comfort from knowing that you were the one who cared sufficiently to alert people to this poor chap’s demise and set the wheels in motion for his family to know what had happened to him. Beautifully and sensitively written, but then I’d expect nothing less of you. You’ve been missed xx

    Liked by 1 person

    March 29, 2020
    • Thank you, Cive. It was the most surreal and derailing of ends to a routine thrash round the woods. But our derailment is nothing compared to his wife receiving such shocking, tragic news on a seemingly ordinary day. I am glad that we were observant enough to look deeper and beyond the obvious. I do take comfort from that fact and the fact that we were able to get the necessary assistance in motion. From making the car safe (it was running all that time and, like most cars here an automatic) to taking him, taking the dogs and going to inform his next of kin – the emergency services were marvellous and I had no doubt that the woman police officer was sufficiently sensitive and calm of nature that the news would have been imparted professionally and kindly. Thank you for missing me xx

      Liked by 1 person

      March 30, 2020
      • It must have felt like you were watching tv or a play but, as you say, his poor wife will have felt it worst. The emergency services really come into their own at times like this and I’m sure you’re right about the police officer. I’m sure I’m by far the only one who has missed you xx

        Liked by 2 people

        March 30, 2020
      • Yes, it was extremely levelling and extremely unreal all at once. We joke about the police here all the time, but they and their fire and paramedic colleagues were perfect. Xx

        Liked by 1 person

        March 30, 2020
      • It’s a time for us all to really appreciate what those services do for us and how poorly paid they are for their dedication xx

        Liked by 1 person

        March 30, 2020
      • Absolutely. That is one to shout from the rooftops. And hopefully there will be a renewed and rejuvenated zeal amongst the masses to get those on the frontline properly paid. I can dream …. xx

        Liked by 1 person

        March 30, 2020
      • The cynic in me fears that our government, and probably the one there, is writing loads of cheques to get things done now which it either won’t, or won’t be able to, honour in future. I so hope I’m wrong. xx

        Liked by 1 person

        March 30, 2020
      • A healthy dollop of cynicism is a requirement of modern life, I think. I, too, hope you are wrong but …. xx

        Liked by 1 person

        March 30, 2020
  12. impressive, sad and emotional, you’ve always written with the “feather” of your heart… ❤
    * * *
    we've been constant walkers and hikers for decades; during our strolls or hikes, we've always experienced the illusion of absolute freedom and ephemeral serenity… have a fine Sunday and an optimistic, safe, smooth week!

    Liked by 1 person

    March 29, 2020
    • I do love to walk and hike. And I remember that you share the love. I love the way you express the experience *illusion of absolute freedom and ephemeral serenity* – perfectly beautiful.

      I am a heart driven girl and I am touched by your summation of the way I write. And I thank you for reading it. It is not, perhaps what people want just now but I needed to write it …

      Liked by 1 person

      March 30, 2020
  13. Beautiful. You transported me along with you and your companions on your walk, and my heart was in my mouth (as my mother used to say) on the discovery of that poor fellow — and his dogs! Yes, the dogs, they are the detail that stir the compassion, at least in this reader’s heart. What is it about death that we cannot accept it as part of the continuum? I can only suppose it is a reverence for life itself. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    March 29, 2020
    • Thank you, Mel. Those are lovely and kind words. The dogs – yes, and rightly they stirred us too. I hope that his wife is able to cope with them (they are not small) on her own and that she gets great solace from them. They will certainly willingly give it. Your question is one that I have chewed one many times. I love your answer. I feels rather right. 💕

      Liked by 1 person

      March 30, 2020
  14. I’m so sorry – what a heart-wrenching experience! May it be comforting to you that the man’s final moments were spent in the peace of nature with two of man’s best friends in the back seat to send him off with love. I’m sure he is thankful for the compassionate strangers who discovered his earthly departure. Thank you for sharing his story.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 30, 2020
    • Thank you, you lovely soul. It wasn’t easy and haunted for days but you are so right – if I can choose where to go it will be in nature and guarded by his sentinels he was safe in his passage. We couldn’t possibly have walked on by …. others had but I put it down to being unobservant, probably absorbed with other things and not wanting to pry. Sometimes being wired notice detail is a very good thing.

      Liked by 1 person

      March 30, 2020
  15. I have missed your words, your compassion, so much. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

    March 30, 2020
  16. How terribly sad, and unnerving that in this kindly space of dog walkers this man and his tragic plight was ignored for so long. Thank you for not turning away.

    Like

    March 30, 2020
    • An everyday tragedy, of sorts but no less tragic for that. We chewed over the fact that many must have passed him before we arrived and many whilst we were walking. And it is a kindly place. I think a combination of many people being unobservant, many being absorbed in whatever important things they have on their own list for the day and the simple fact that people don’t want to pry or risk being wrong and causing offense is the answer. I’m happy that both of us are wired to being observant and that we trust our instincts and the instincts of one another. We could not have turned away.

      Liked by 1 person

      March 30, 2020
  17. Your post starts on such a light note, making me trip through till I arrive at the part which brings awareness of the inevitability of this thing we call living. It is immensely troubling, if one is to witness the passing away of one known or unknown. You must have replayed it in your mind, over and again. I can only send virtual hugs your way.
    The heart goes out to the family of the stranger, naturally including his two dogs. The grief they must be struck with.
    Your words honour him beautifully, Osyth. xx

    Liked by 2 people

    March 31, 2020
    • Thank you sweet friend. It was hard but in no way comparable to what his family must be suffering. The shock and the grief and at a time when the world is so shrouded in fear. I think of them often. Xx

      Liked by 1 person

      March 31, 2020
  18. One of my biggest fears is walking my dogs in the forest and finding a dead body. Years ago I saw a leg sticking out of a pile of leaves and I almost fainted, thankfully it was just an old mannequin somebody had left. But you should have seen my face, I was ready to run and break every man-made record.

    Finding or dealing with a dead boy takes a lot out of you. Sending you a hug as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 31, 2020
    • Oddly enough my husband said this afternoon that we had been lucky just finding a body sitting in his car and how much worse it would be to find one in the woods. I just can’t imagine how dreadful that would be. What a shock that must have been for you. Even though it was actually a mannequin. Hugs to you. I don’t want to repeat the experience we had. Ever. But I am simultaneously glad that we were able to at least get the first responders there and the wheels set in motion to give him dignity and his family the tragic news.

      Like

      March 31, 2020
  19. Such a heartbreaking and sad story, Fiona. His poor wife and dogs… to be left of his steady presence and love in a time like this must have hit them doubly. 😦
    And yes, death is inevitable – something many of us seem to prefer to forget about, and yet there’s a certain kind of solace in it too. Whatever happens, if this virus will be the end of us or something else, happen it will and we can’t do nothing about it except to live each day to our best with love and kindness in our hearts.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 4, 2020
    • I am SO glad to be back in touch with you. Every word you say speaks my heart and your last sentence is exactly what I hope people take to their own hearts! Xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      April 4, 2020
      • So glad to have you back here too, Fiona! I’ve missed you terribly. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

        April 5, 2020
      • You absolute darling … that has made my Sunday! The feeling is, of course entirely mutual 💕

        Liked by 1 person

        April 5, 2020
  20. I can’t even begin to describe how deeply moving and beautiful this piece is, despite the wretched development. I just… you are so… the words are simply not coalescing in my brain. I need processing time, especially when I spied “spearfruit” in the comments, something I haven’t seen in a long time, knowing full well that it’s Gary, but still. I’m babbling and making this about me, a callous usurpation. Thank you for this. Truly.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 8, 2020
    • Thank you. I don’t read this as all about you at all. I know what you are saying and I am moved by YOUR tongue-tied rhetoric. And ‘Spearfruit’ …. I don’t have words, you see. And I still have that exceptional piece you offered to Gary. Unforgettable. And now I’m welling up.

      Like

      April 8, 2020
  21. It must have been a terribly unsettling experience to realise that the man was dead. The kind of thing that stays with you for a long time. And his dogs…that knew. We can hope his death was quick and painless, and it’s a miracle that it didn’t happen on the road, when it could have been so much worse. We all have to confront our own mortality in the end. A deeply-felt and sensitive post, as always.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 20, 2020
    • Unsettling is exactly the word. I do hope it was a quick passing and no pain. Of course for those left behind, the pain is magnified by the shock. I hope the dogs bring comfort. It was so close to the road and it is a fairly busy one. I can’t even bring myself to consider what might have happened if he had been on it. Thank you for your kind and considered words, as always.

      Liked by 1 person

      April 23, 2020

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