Only for now…

Already late for work, but still needing to walk the dog, i distractedly slapped a leash on the dog’s collar and headed out to the garage.  This was going to have to be a necessity run – walking only as far as it took for Mr. Pickles to deliver the goods, then turn back home to get on with my day. 

Mr. Pickles had other ideas.  It was one of those spring snowfalls.  Heavy and wet, clinging to the ribs of the bare trees, defining every branch against the gray sky.  With temperatures hovering just below freezing, it wasn’t all that cold.  The kind of snow that will be gone by noon.

At 10 years old, Mr. Pickles has lost a bit of his sproingy, youthful exuberance.  Unless there is snow on the ground!  The years disappear, and he’s a puppy again.

Watching him bound alongside the road, picking up his paws like a show pony, it hit me… “Will this be his last romp in the snow?”

For as long as i can remember, i see endings.  As soon as there is a beginning, i start preparing for the end.  Healthy?  Probably not.  Realistic?  Certainly.  i am acutely aware that nothing lasts.  Maybe that’s why i work at enjoying the good stuff, not missing the moments, and trying to cram as much into each breath as i possibly can.

The only thing i am sure of?  Nothing lasts forever.  It sure can fuck up my relationships when i start negotiating the end right up front.  Just being practical, though.  When i can’t get my head around something, i think “It’s only for now“. 

Which makes having a pet really painful, by the way.  Big dogs tend to have shorter life spans.  Oh, and if they’re pure bred?  Another strike against him.  Dreading the day i no longer have a dog to walk, i kept going.  He kept sproinging.  Work be damned, this was a far more important moment.

He enjoyed the romp in the snow.  i was late for work.  The snow was gone by noon.

Today arrived as a sunny and bright March day.  After running my morning errands, i couldn’t wait to get the windows open to let in fresh air.  The Girl grabbed her breakfast and headed to the back deck, keeping the screen door shut to prevent cat leakage.

Will the aluminum frame of a screen door stop 100 pounds of hound dog?  Nope.  Seems Mr. Pickles was just as joyful today as we were with the sunshine, and got up a full head of steam as he launched himself across the living room to take in the fresh air.  He knocked that screen door across the deck as if it hadn’t been there. 

Only for now…


Everyone’s a little bit unsatisfied.
Everyone goes ’round a little empty inside.
Take a breath, look around, swallow your pride
For now…

Nothing lasts, life goes on, full of surprises.
You’ll be faced with problems of all shapes and sizes.
You’re going to have to make a few compromises…
For now…

For now we’re healthy.  For now we’re employed. For now we’re happy…
If not overjoyed.
And we’ll accept the things we cannot avoid, for now…
For now…

Don’t stress, relax, let life roll off your backs!
Except for death and paying taxes,
Everything in life is only for now!

Each time you smile…
It’ll only last a while.
Life may be scary…
But it’s only temporary.

It’s only for now…

52 thoughts on “Only for now…

  1. You are not the only one doing this. I love Ruby with a deep love I never thought I would ever feel for a dog, and I know that I will outlive her by many years. I honestly don’t know if I can ever get another dog after I have had her, she is such a very exceptional dog in every way. But I would not give up having gotten to be her Woman for anything, even though I know there will be pain and grief in the future.

    I don’t negotiate the ends of my relationships at the beginning. I am an incurable optimist and persist in believing that they will last until I die. So far, that has not turned around to bite me in the butt too bad.

    • he’s just been the only consistent creature in my life for the last 9 years. gets me out of bed when i want to hide. knows when to hug me. trips me going downstairs. he is pure, unvarnished love. no meanness contained in that big lug… and like you, i can’t imagine NOT having him, even for a decade or so…

  2. snork – cat leakage.

    Pets are seemingly unaware of their own mortality – I wish we were too.

    Teddy ran into a screen a few months back, but the screen was stronger than he was and it bounced him back… he was terrified to approach it again, I assume he can’t see it and it’s just an invisible forcefield to him. I did laugh full and hearty though.

    Is that your poem/song? I like it.

    • That lack of awareness…. yet they still live with reckless abandon, quiet joy, and taking pleasure in the simplest things – such as the endless licking of the hindquarters. would have loved to see teddy bounce! bet your repair was easier than mine will be….

      and no, not original. it’s the lyrics from the song “For Now” from “Avenue Q”. i need to get the reference posted… was in a hurry yesterday.

  3. snork, i’m with girly, cat leakage

    ahh my bing doggy, died on my b’day.
    one of my fondest memories is late for work following her around the back lot muttering under my breath, “poop bing poop! dammit” and what i’d not give for her to live past her 11 years.
    love the post god bless pickles, bing never grew up, half english bull dog half black labrador… a silly tank basically.
    she never ever grew up she just ran outta time to fit it in.

    • sorry about the loss of bing, the silly tank… i’ve spent many mornings willing my dog to crap. it seems the more of a hurry i’m in, the longer he takes… i’m just gonna love him hard…for as long as i can.

  4. We definitely need to enjoy life and live in the moment as much as possible. I certainly don’t do it often enough. I don’t think about it; just move about on auto-pilot.

    I have my daughter’s 3-legged boxer this weekend. I live with them right now, so I’m with Babee a lot. But it’s just she and me this weekend. And it’s so nice! Even with three legs, this girl bounds and sproings like a 4-legger. She’s got my heart now too, after only 6 weeks here. Girl’s got my heart.

    • oh, Babee sounds like quite a critter! andyou’re never alone with a dog in the house! mine is constantly moving from room to room to keep me company. right there, under my feet…

  5. “For as long as i can remember, i see endings. As soon as there is a beginning, i start preparing for the end. Healthy? Probably not. Realistic? Certainly.”
    I have been this way for as long as I can remember as well.
    It’s the only way I know how to be.
    Every day that I wake up on this side of the dirt is a gift.

    I loved the mental picture of you & Mr. Pickles romping through the snow.
    But even more so, Mr. Pickles demolishing an aluminum screen door to frolic in the sunshine. =)

    • that’s it. it’s the only way i know how to be. i wish i wasn’t wired this way. have tried to push the thoughts away. but the older i get, the harder it gets – because i’ve had so many more endings, i’ve gotten quite good at predicting how they’ll all go…

  6. Even though Jazzy the Cat is currently upset because I have put her on a diet, it’s so she can avoid kidney problems in the future, and spend more time playing with me.

    Mr Pickles is a delightful name for a pooch and I look forward to reading more about his exploits, both outdoorsy and through-doorsy.

    • i didn’t name him – he was originally named “Lando”, for the character in The Empire Strikes Back. it didn’t fit. took us about a week of hanging out with him, watching him, and just seeing how he rolled – when one of my son’s skaterboy friends just came out with “Pickles” when i asked him what he’d call the dog. my daughter added the “Mr.” and it was done… i’ve written about him before. suppose i should give him his own category!

  7. *Sigh* I know what you mean with pets. I’ve had to accompany too many of them to that Last Round-up at the vet’s office. They’ll break your heart eventually, but where would we be without them? If they’re not there waiting for me on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge…I ain’t goin’.

    • the place is just empty without him. i’ve had a dog (or two) almost all of my life. if nothing else, he makes me feel less crazy when i’m talking to myself!

  8. Oh dear, I fear I may have set you off with my post with the chalk outline of the dog getting old. . . My beloved cat companion died nearly three years ago now and though he was my greatest joy and I still miss him, I always think how lucky I was to have had him in my life for twelve years.

    • maybe a little trigger from your post, but it’s been on my mind a lot lately… he’s gotten very gray around the face. even though there’s spring in his step, he’s running out of time…

    • would it be easier if we didn’t work through it? would it hurt less or more at the end? would we enjoy the moments as well if we didn’t believe they were just little flashes of time? fuck. i wish i knew.

  9. Funny how animals grow on you, even when you don’t plan for it. My daughter collected her cat from here the other night. Because of allergies and certain kitty personality quirks we couldn’t keep him in the house, so he lived in the (heated) garage instead. I was primary caretaker and the one he saw the most. I found it a bit strange going out to the garage the day after he left and noting his absence. You could almost “feel” it. I got word that he’s settling in nicely at daughter’s place now, though, so I’m happy for him. And it’s good for her too.

    • Mr. P and i are a pack of two. Humans have been domesticating critters for a very long time… and i don’t think it was entirely for hunting and protection. They’re just nice to have around… glad the kitty found his way to your daughter’s home!

  10. Dogs are so wonderful, and if there was any justice in the universe, they’d live forever. My son and I were just talking about this today as we snuggled on the coach with our 2 snuggly dogs. It’s going to be so hard when they die. It makes the time with them bitter sweet sometimes.

  11. My personal view on the pet thing is that it helps us get ready for the loss of the people in our lives. Sort of a morbid way to look at it but what the fuck – what else ya got?
    Our predilection of burying our pets in the back yard – does the rest of the world do this I wonder? – must lead to some macabre events now and again. Undoubtedly the odd skeleton or two gets disinterred on occasion when new owners decide to build things in the yard. The last house I lived in had a neighbor with a Great Dane. This thing was monstrous but was the nicest, most gentle dog. It loved to lean on you while you scratched it and would knock you over if you kept up the scratching. Unfortunately, the dog passed away one summer and I helped with the burial as I had rented a backhoe to remove some fence posts. I’d love to be there someday if it ever surfaces again. I can see it now – call the Smithsonian – we got us a dinosaur!

    • when i was 12, burying my second dead guinea pig, i accidently dug up the skeleton of the first one. needless to say, i was a freaked out kid. but that’s NOTHING like finding a dinosaur bone or two when you’re planting some tomatoes! ha!

  12. … the end of the beginning’s
    The beginning of the end
    They say the moment that you’re born
    Is when you start to die
    And the first time that we said hello
    Began our last goodbye

    Why do we bother? Because it can be a wonderful ride along the way.

  13. Teva, Isabel and I struggle daily with cat leakage.

    I go back and forth about whether or not I should die first. On one hand, I don’t want to imagine life without my girls. And on the other, I don’t want them to be sad without me.

    Conclusion: Let’s be vampires.

  14. I think Mr Pickles is damn lucky to have someone like you. Who’ll bunk work for romp in the snow. Because it’s the small moments that matter. Because all we are is endings. Hopefully with great beginnings and lots of flippin awesome moments in between.

    • i’ve bunked work for other sorts of romps, too… i guess i’ll pretty much blow off the paying gig at the drop of a hat! which reminds me, i need to get dressed… (sigh)

  15. I don’t think it’s unhealthy to see things as they are. Even if the end is indefinite, it’s going to be there somewhere. And while some people are depressed to realize life has all the significance of a floating spark from a campfire, I find it strangely comforting.

    • most of the time, i find that same comfort. ‘it’s only for now’ is a sort of mantra when things are bad… it’s just hard to make the good things last as long as you like…

  16. ah, to have the every-day-is-AWESOME mentality of our furry friends…

    Spring’s GOT to be nearby, the birds are chirping in the morning.

    And did work notice you were late?

  17. Mr. Pickles sounds truly fabulous. Yes, if there’s one thing loss has taught me it’s the importance of here and now. I can’t help but wonder if this won’t be the last spring for both my dogs, but right here and right now we’re all together. That’s what matters. I’ll deal with the loss of them when they’re gone, since I don’t want to waste the time I do have with them dealing with it now.

  18. I like your insight about always looking towards the ending. I start a movie, book, or vacation, and I always look to the end and the next thing. I’m trying to work on this and live in the present.

    • Welcome to The Park, Mr. Greatsby! i’ve become good at appreciating ‘now’, but i really do automatically start working through endings. this makes dating very awkward…. “Nah. i’m going to get really tired of his post-nasal drip ‘snort’, and it’s not going to work out” while on a first date? Not helpful…

  19. Even though I’ve had domesticated animals in and around the house since my childhood, sometimes I’ll look at the cat and think, “there’s a small animal in my house’. It could be some sort of pre alzheimer moment, but I think it’s amazing that many of us go out of our way to welcome animals into our lives. That sounds so clinical, but that’s not how I feel. I lost my constant companion of 20 years, almost a year ago now….she was the cat that should never have lived that long, but she did. I still miss her daily.
    It sounds like Mr Pickles is a gem.

    • Man was attempting to domesticate animals pretty early in the process. It really is pretty weird that i sleep with a dog every night. what gets me? my dog has better health care than some people in my own country. he has a higher standard of living than many in other places in the world. and i don’t even spoil him… much…

  20. I’m sure you can picture me reading this post of yours in my class today….. didn’t have my speakers muted when I click on your “Only for now” link. I think I freaked my teacher out. Lol

    • oops. sorry. i usually embed the videos but was running very short on time… and i thought i was the only one who read stuff on the interwebz during classes, meetings and seminars…

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