Saying Goodbye to Elvis

Today we said goodbye to a friend. A couple of my good friends here in Denver had to make a very hard decision this last week. Their dog, Elvis, is almost 14 years old and was having trouble walking around. He also had bladder control issues that developed very quickly over the last month or so. At his age, he might live a few more months, but with all of his pain and problems, it would be a rough few months. The decision was made to put him down.

My friend called me this morning, voice cracking and in tears, and asked if I would meet them at the local city park for their last walk with Elvis. Of course I said yes. So I met up with the three of them this afternoon and walked, talked, and fed Elvis as many treats as he wanted. Today was “not a day to use the N-O word”, so Elvis walked without a leash (he couldn’t really move too fast either way), and was allowed to sniff his way through the park. Even the prairie dogs were not much of an issue. He just stood watching them, sniffing the air, but never made a move to chase them.

It was sad to give Elvis his last hug. He was always happy to see me walk in their front door. Even when he couldn’t walk very well, his tail was always wagging at me.

Today reminded me of the passing of time, change, and hard decisions. Life has a way of forcing decisions on us. For me, even the right decisions are very hard. And 2014 is starting out to be a very different year for me, when compared with the last few.

For one, I have moved back to the big, bad city for a career move. I miss the mountains and wide open spaces more than words can express. City life is confining, expensive and moves way too fast. My current job can be a bit taxing on my brain as it relates to data and details, many of which I must retain for only about 5 minutes before moving on to the next. I find myself taking out my knitting at lunch in order to slow down my mind and look at something different for a few brief moments.

I walk to work some days, just to get fresh air, but it seems that people driving down the roads are out to hit me. It doesn’t have the safety of being alone amongst the trees. All I see around me are apartment buildings, office buildings, zooming cars and people staring at whatever they are holding. Some days, I feel like the zombie apocalypse has already begun.

How will I feel in a couple of months when I walk to work and there are no wildflowers around me to catch my eye? To that end, I have begun to educate myself more fully on American – and World – History. A large component of National Park Service sites are related to our collective and individual histories and cultures, and while I might know more than some, I am by no means well-educated in terms of history and civics. Botany and ecology, yes. History as NOT told by old white guys? Not so much. I feel like this is going to be a component of my future, and I am trying to bring myself more up to speed.

Of course, the next logical topic is politics. I work for the government, and this job is getting me slightly closer to the game in Washington, D.C. than my time in the parks ever did. I made some comment on Facebook last week that I had power and people in D.C. noticed. While I can’t really discuss the details I found in the data I was working with, I find it funny that someone jumped to the ‘corruption’ conclusion. Or that I was involved in any so-called ‘corruption’. Um, no. Nothing that interesting at all. Just an HR mistake that caused someone to miss out on part of their due wages.

Corruption? Dear god, what do people think of me?

Some of the political stereotyping and memes I see posted and re-posted on Facebook every day make me want to get more into this political game. I’m sure I would get eaten alive. But I want to help make good decisions about our country’s natural resources. And frankly, I think both sides are so screwed up that we shouldn’t follow either side. We need to think and act rationally, which neither major party is doing right now (again, my opinion). We need to make decisions that are not based on money, but on the fact that people need clean air and clean water to sustain life. Without life, what is the point of money anyhow? You can’t take it all with you, right?

So maybe that will be something else I pursue during this year of change. History, politics and new ideas. Hopefully, Elvis had a last good day in the park with us today as he encouraged us to start again.

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