Wednesday, August 17, 2011


It is the first of my four stay cation days. I wake to the usual whine of Orion, suggesting the sun is up therefore, we too ought to be up. I find my face drooling into a bare mattress, socks on from the night before as is the shirt and wind pants. We got in late from doing laundry and I didn't have the energy to wrestle the sheets on the bed, or change into pi's before climbing in myself. As I do each morning, I fish the cell phone from between the wall and the bed, squinting at the bright light reading 6:45.
"Orion, here I was thinking you might let us sleep in on our stay cation. Maybe the midnight bed hour would have you snoozing until 9?"
He whines some more. I reach my hand down fishing for my glasses. Internally, I groan, but count to three, throw the glasses on and toss my legs to the floor. "Okay I'm up."
Orion does some hops, toes tapping the wooden floor. I hobble to the room divider, slide it aside, slip my feet into my awaiting Keen's and out the door we go for the morning bathroom routine.
The air outside is cool. It feels so wonderful to not go out and get blasted with a furnace.
"Are you excited to go on our stay cation?" I ask, as Orion takes an astute interest in another creature's scat.
"We'll pack up then take off. Spend the afternoon."
Inside, I get to work, lather myself with sunscreen, collect the tablecloth that will serve as my beach blanket, bones, treats, more sunscreen. Orion is quiet until I hear the usual sound of feet returning to the ground in the kitchen.
"ORION, what do you have???" I holler down the hallway.
He comes trotting past the bathroom door back to the bedroom. I peer around the bathroom to see the "dog peanut butter" jar in his mouth. He freezes, jar cock-eyed out of one side.
"So do you think I won't notice?" I ask, walking towards him.
I take the jar from him and peek inside. 90% empty. I screw the lid back on and hand it to him. Totally worth the peace while I"m getting ready.
"If you can get inside, it's all yours."
Before long, Orion and I are on the road, listening to the GPS prompt us along to East Fork Lake. Oddly enough it's routing us north when every other time my friend drove us we definitely went south.
"Hopefully we don't miss the Dunkin Donuts," I tell Orion, who has resumed nap position beside me, foot wedged into my leg.
I pat his head.
"I love you dog."
No movement.
I drive on.
After an hour and a half of finding ourselves at the incorrect entrance, speaking to a fisherman and his son for correct directions we finally arrive at the beach. Orion's high pitch barking to beat the band.
"Would you relax! I'm getting us ready." I'm gathering up all the odds and ends at my feet that are needed for our adventure day, busy bones, jug of water, book so on and so on.
I open his back door and he flies out ready to take on the world. Sadly he's stopped short by the leash that happens to keep him from being a jungle dog.
"You're so lucky Petsmart was closed or you'd have a pinch collar to take care of your crazy pulling Orion Timothy."
I juggle him, the trunk, gathering the backpack of supplies and the gallon junk of water, and we begin working our way to the beach. It's gorgeous out. The sun has called the temperature up to the eighties, and the once rocky beach is now covered with a gentle layer of grass. We plod down, finding a spot close to the water, and I spread out the table cloth, using the gallon jug to pin it down. It rests on the medium height grass like a hovercraft so I toss the backpack in the center, then wander with Orion into the water to cool off.
Like last time, the lake water is a perfect comfortable temperature. I have been longing for New England something fierce lately and playing in the natural bodies of water brings me back closer than the purified pool water. With water up to my calfs, I stare across the lake at the hillside covered in trees, listen to the buzz of the far off boat engine and think this is what vacation should be. Wouldn't it be nice if I could wake up and this be my life?
Orion prances about in the water, sticking his head in to fish for rocks. I grab a small stick and toss it out in the lake, he leaps after it.
"Okay, let's head back so I can take off my shorts, set up then we can swim some more," I say, and he dutifully trails after me, shaking his body free of the water along the way.
We spend the day this way, he and I, looping into the water, and up to our table cloth, to rest ourselves in the sun. After an hour or so we shift over to a shady spot and things are just perfect being outside like this. It is nice even to spend the time alone of all other humans, as the chatter from the beach beside us ebbs and flows as people come and go. I snooze, leash looped around my ankle, and Orion pokes about in the grass. At one point he drags a giant half eaten catfish from the bushes and I have to shake it free, tell him that's gross, and drag him back to the table cloth with promises of a yummy clean bone instead. We chase sticks, me swimming alongside him, we prowl through pathways in the woods, take more naps, and then finally pile back into the car for the drive home (and a quick stop to Dunkins) where we drag our sun soaked selves inside for yet another mid day snooze and start to our stay cation

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