Nero loved to chase the stick.
And, she was born in the backseat of a junked car. Go figure.
Markings of a Shepherd, but with a butt bigger than her face and ears that just wanted to flop over, we knew nothing of her heritage and, for much of her life, didn’t care. She was high energy, outspoken, wriggly, affectionate, and loved.
But, the retriever in her was locked and loaded.
I never knew which part she craved most. Was it the running, or the catch? Clearly, her ancestors went for the birds; the higher and faster the stick flew, the more she scrambled to tumble over herself at the capture. Whichever, this dog ran tirelessly after her “prey.”
Retrieval. For this aging Boomer, the singular challenge. In my case, not chasing a prototype mallard, mine is the ever ephemeral: thought.
The choicest fowl to fly across my firmament most often appears on the cusp of sleep. A kernel, a title, for the next essay. The whole piece, were I awake enough to log on and begin, would write itself; yet, if I do not rise up, feel for the crayon, and scribble the two at most three words into my bedside book, by morning…….flown.
Why, however, does the mind retrieve everything else instead?
Why will it totally recall seeing, even hearing the idea as well as the very position of my body at that moment, without re-sending the bird across my sky? Because, once flown….gone?
Last week, due to ongoing migraine plus my mother’s history with brain cancer I had my once every decade brain MRI. The radiologist was thorough; no lesions, no evidence of stroke, just those pesky, chronic microvascular ischemic “hot spots” in my white matter. The neurologist, fielding my pile of questions, insisted vascular constriction as a cause, said provocateurs being pain meds, the summatriptan I’d taken for over twenty years, and the headaches themselves along with several other indicators most of which did not appear on my health profile. My BP was generally below normal; I never smoked; I wasn’t obese. Yes; I’d had mildly elevated cholesterol and triglycerides, and one month with an A1C of 5.8. But, mostly, my vessels were just sick of being squeezed, and several of the most remote were caving.
Dad, a multi-decade marathoner, had always loved to quote author Jim Fixx:
” Running opens up new avenues of blood vessels!”, he’d crow, after a hot shower upon return from four hours on the open road.
Fortunately, there was hope; for every death, a theoretical regeneration. All I need do was get up off my spreading rear and move.
The same likely not said for the elusive thoughts which had traveled each now defunct pathway. Nero had also succumbed — to a flipped stomach, a horrible way for a dog to die and caused, sure enough, by running on a full belly. The retriever in her, ever at war with the digestive system of whichever breed(s) populated the rest of her DNA.
In our beloved Nero’s memory I’d resolve to get up, and run. Run, for the blood, the vessels, the mind, and every thought which elected to gain entry.
Chasing the stick was in my genes, too.
© 5/05/2021 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, whose story it is and whose name appears above this line. Sharing by blog link, exclusively. No copying, in whole, part, or by translation, permitted. Thanks for being the honorable person.