We've planted a magnolia tree. It's small, and by no means does it distract the eye for long enough that one would fail to notice our back yard is a virtual wasteland, but hey, we're trying. So far the tree has survived The Puppy.
Bella, as I believe we've established, has a bit of a thing for sticks. Specifically, Bella likes to drag sticks onto the front lawn on the warm spot above the septic system. She has this carnal draw to poop. And despite the fact that she finally won out with the tea rose, (at some point I just had to accept that the tea rose was dead. Replanting it the fifth time, scraggly little tea rose fronds flopping here and there, felt like cruel and unusual punishment for the little plant) she seems to be scared of the magnolia and thus refrains from immediate attack. She does, however, bark at it regularly.
So yesterday I think of how quaint it would be to sit underneath my three foot tall magnolia and read. I bring out my towel to sit on and plop myself down. I read about a paragraph, which was difficult, because I had seventy-five (yeah, I'm now calling it seventy-five) pounds of puppy squirming in my lap.
Seventy-five pounds of squirming puppy in your lap is not perhaps all its cracked up to be. It's actually a whole hell of a lot more. Sure, there's fur, (lots, and lots of fur) and there's chub, and a whomping! tail, but there's also a matter of sand-papery paw pads with half-inch nails attached and gleaming white teeth. Perhaps these hazards seem harmless, because what snuggling puppy puts them to use? Mine.
Bella snuggles with her whole self. She licks my face and feet, even in between my toes, and she usually saves the armpits for last. She's the only one who appreciates my salty, patchouli-laden armpits. Why do I allow her to lick me all over? Because she's sitting on me and I can't get up.
After the licking, Bella usually goes into the nibbling. She likes to nibble ears and noses and wrists...especially likes the wrists. And the nibbling usually starts out innocently enough, but it's so hard to nibble gently when there's that much puppy love and energy pumping through the veins. Don't write off puppy love as fluffy and light. Puppy love is heavy stuff. Slobbery, hairy, ferocious stuff.
Once she's satisfied with the nibbling, which is practically never, Bella moves on to petting. Not sure how to describe this one, to be honest. All I can figure is that she must think to herself, "nice people pet me, and I like it. I bet nice people would like it if I pet them, too." So Bella takes her gargantuan paws (sandpapery pads and claws included) and strokes my face, my arms...let's be honest, she takes what she can get.
By now every inch of exposed skin is covered in puffy pink welts and fur pasted on with lots of slobber. So Bella moves into the final stage of the snuggle: the wiggle. She flips onto her back, (mind you, she's still ON me) legs kicking joyfully in the air, head thrown back, and has a happy little wiggle. She wiggles until she finally falls off onto the lawn, where she commences to lazily roll in the grass until she gets dizzy, and then sits up and sighs, tongue hanging out of her mouth and clovers embedded in her fur.
So instead of reading, I had a good long dose of some good old fashioned puppy loving. Bella has a way of sensing what's really needed.
And in addition to reminding me to run zen-fully, she reminds me to love...and be loved... boundlessly. Who needs religion?
And hey...Happy Birthday, Jeffers.