Posted by Tania Kindersley.
Slow, quiet day. The sky has come flat and black and lowering and glowering. It is one of those days when you have to look very, very hard for the beauty. But there is a rose hip, there is the very last of the honeysuckle, there are the misty hills, rising, gracious and immutable, through the murk. There is the eager, questing face of The Pigeon, as I pick up a most excellent stick and get ready to throw it.
I've been thinking about my dear little Pidge a lot lately. (Oh, surprise, surprise, the chorus of Dear Readers is almost certainly shouting, into the ether.) Perhaps I should say: even more than usual. I've been missing her sister. I've been thinking a bit about my dad. I think what happens is that you get to a stage where you can remember without sorrow, but with joy and laughter. I hope that happens. I'm not quite there yet.
As the Pigeon follows me faithfully up the beech avenue, sleeps at my side as I write, sits at my feet as I clean my teeth each morning, lies patiently in the doorway of the kitchen as I cook soup, rests her head on my knee as I sit on the sofa in the evening, watching old episodes of Spooks (my current indulgence), I think of the bonds that are forged in adversity.
I wonder if she remembers her sister. We were a pack, and now we are just the two of us. It makes a different kind of love: fiercer, more profound, more urgent, in a way. It always sounds quite mad to write this of a dog, but I'm beyond pretending that I have any moderation when it comes to the canine island on which I am stranded.
I always come back to one of my favourite song lyrics of all time. It was when Nanci Griffith sang, in her pure, bell-like voice: 'you come home straight and you come home curly'. Well, The Pigeon and I have seen each other straight and seen each other curly, and that makes a difference to things. I'm not putting it awfully well: but there is a gratitude in the love now. I feel lucky and blessed to have such a companion, that's all. It is just a dog, but it's a high, joyful, consoling presence. It is pure affection, and unconditional company. It's many, many things, for one small, black creature to provide, and I don't take that for granted for a single moment.
The old cherry tree, in the wild garden:
I took this, of a curtain of silver birch leaves. It has come out all blurred and wrong, but I rather loved it anyway:
The beech avenue:
The changing colours of the trees, lovely, even on a bleak day:
The bright rose hip:
Pigeon, with her busy and determined face on:
And off she goes. Places to go, people to meet, sticks to catch, scents to sniff:
Suspicion of rabbit activity down there?
And the irresistible, Grace Kelly look:
Today's hill, quite lost in the dreich: