It really was a beautiful evening - despite a brisk wind. Other than the area of the street lights, it was almost impossible to see the difference between sky and open land that lies next to where I live during the work week, no fences, just open ground. It made for a serene and enigmatic landscape and a good one to walk Abby.
My friend went with me. With six foot tree inches of muscle at my six o'clock position, I was comfortable taking Abby further out afield to walk then immediately around my driveway, for approaching dark, as a woman, I don't wander too far into the shadows.
"Let's go this way" I said, with that tone that was less a woman giving direction and more that command that was mine for so many years.
Taking on that yoke of responsibility, comes with it much reflection, as you open that cockpit door for the first time as the Skipper, as full of faith as if opening the door to some secret shrine. You learn quickly, how to adapt and change and even more importantly, that you are just one person and without your crew, you are nothing. Especially, to that crew chief that fears neither God nor the Devil, man or weather, and hates all pilots on sight and you most of all, which all new pilots secretly believe, even as it's not true.
With the wry countenance of a watchful parent he gives the signal, fuel is introduced and your night starts
It was hours later, the mission completed, when I was fighting sleepiness even a the stars themselves seemed to tire of the night, that the seat started to feel familiar. But it's something that never left, and with rare exception, I'm usually the one in charge,.
But it's my nature to lead, even as almost all of the people that are close to me are also natural leaders. Some honed that skill from the cockpit of an airplane - which can be as serene as the imperceptible motion of a becalmed ship or as violent as a paint shaker. Decisions are made with split second timing and often much Adrenalin only to then sit for hours with nothing happening, as the land profiles ahead of you as flat and as matte as black paper cut from the sky, fallen to earth Others do it in building a business, or those battles that are the downfall or the saving grace of man. Some aren't cut out for it, such decisions leaving them a doubtful shadow of themselves trembling in the glare of action.
Anyone that deals with human nature knows it as well, vain hopes and fitful errors, grandiose plans broken down by ego into small bits waiting for others to sweep it up and make it whole, while they move onto the next disaster. Then there are the critics - people that love to tear down that which they themselves can not build.
Still - I'd take it over a life that's flat, safe and bland, as unseasoned as the soul that walks in it.
We ended up cutting across an open grassy area of property in the little community I live in, even if part time, the grass cut short that day. My friend, walking at a distance at my 9 o'clock, had Abby's leash and she stuck her nose down wn in the grass drinking in the smell of something.
And it wasn't grass.
As she popped her head up I could see from the faint glow of a streetlight that she had something in her mouth, about the size and shape of a smaller Nerf football.
My friend looks down and says, dead calm, "It's a dead rabbit". Likely killed by the the large mower that cuts this big swath of grass each week.
"Abby - Drop it drop drop it", I cried out, helpless to do much else from a distance.
She knows "drop it" from playing with toys but she wasn't having any part of it, even for the treat I pulled from my pocket and hoped she would see from the distance in the darkness.
"get it get it get it!
He was already reaching down to pry the dead rabbit from her mouth- which he did both expertly and gently while I moved to her side.
Abby was very pissed off, giving him a look that menfolk the world over would recognize. I also realized that no matter how much you think you are in charge, how many titles you have, or what your rank is, to a dog with a piece of dead animal in it's mouth you are simply
Blah Blah Abby! Blah Blah Abby!
Sometimes we need that lesson.
As we headed back towards the house so I could call my husband as my friend headed on back out, I realize how very lucky I have been in my great misadventure which is life. I look upwards, at the stars, and see with it the sun, the light, the darkness, great seas and vast skies the limitless creation of God's own seven days, which this one small soul blundered into unbidden, connecting with other small souls that then joined in that web that is camaraderie, that is life.
I wouldn't trade any of it for anything.
Kill the Wabbit