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The poky little puppy in the garden

The young dog sniffed every flower and chased every bee and noticed every single thing.

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I am determined to house train my new puppy. I take him outside several times a day, my pocket heavy with treats. I say “Hurry up!” as my training manual suggests so he will learn to relieve himself immediately upon hearing that phrase. On a mission, I walk him down the path to my garden.

So far he is in no hurry at all, despite my suggestions. Instead he sticks his nose in a clump of bee balm and sniffs. I pinch off a red fringed blossom and squeeze it in my hand, breathing in the sharp fragrance.

“Hurry up!” I coax as he meanders along the path, smelling the carmine-red spiraea and the tips of the lavender and the frothy yellow yarrow that spills over the path.

Finally I give up and take a seat on the wooden bench my husband gave me a few years ago. It is the perfect accent piece for my garden, but to my knowledge, has never been used. I am glad to have a spot in the shade to wait.

“Hurry up!” I say again as he wanders farther down the path.

I have spent countless hours in this garden, but I am always working on a project. I weed constantly. I keep the bird feeder full and the hydrangeas watered, and I spread pine straw mulch on a regular basis. When I look at my backyard, it is to see what needs replacing and what needs to be added.

This is the first time I’ve ever sat down and looked at my garden without criticism. I am still. Beside me, an oversized bumblebee trundles over a violet butterfly bush bloom. The bee clings, now upside down, to the conical blossom that has rolled over under the insect’s weight. Undeterred, it continues its mission, frantically collecting pollen with what appears to be six hands.

There is a butterfly on another bloom, methodically opening and closing its brown and orange wings. I lean in closer and peer at his busy whirl of antennae as he vigorously sips up nectar. He seems completely unaware of me.


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