Sometimes I remember all the days I've had when wonderful surprises came along, and I think maybe the difference between getting good surprises and bad surprises has something to do with inviting the right guests to the door.
Any good thing can happen, I said tonight. Then I leashed up the dogs and walked into the balm of a summer evening.
A couple of robins flitted around the bird feeder I remembered to fill this morning. Daisy thinks she can catch the robins, but when she missed (again), she lifted her golden snout to the air to catch a scent and pulled hard on the leash. Deer, I figured. She has a nose for deer, and they’re all over the place.
But we never saw a deer tonight.
We did see a neighbor doing work in her backyard.
We saw pachysandra with brown leaves, and I wondered if it was fallout from the recent cicada visit. Because what else kills pachysandra? It's the cockroach of ground cover.
We passed the raccoon carcass that’s been in the street for three days, and I noticed the stench has waned. It was oddly reassuring. There’s a moment with roadkill where part of you believes things will never smell normal again.
In the garden down the street, the daisies and black-eyed susans strained toward the setting sun.
We turned off the main drag and onto a side street. Quiet enveloped us. It was delicious.
At the century home with the big yard, we looked for Arlo the golden retriever, but he must’ve been in for the night.
We passed the house that once had three geriatric dachshunds that used to come tearing out from their doggie door, bouncing across the lawn like little brown beach balls and barking like all holy hell. One day they just weren’t there anymore, and I think about them and smile every time we go by their old place. I don’t know what happened to them, but the story I tell myself is that they moved to Florida with their humans. Though the dogs were very old. Probably the humans were, too. But I’d like to think they’re all enjoying the beach and a fresh bowl of water with ice cubes.
At the house with the invisible fence, the Jack Russell terrier who can’t decide if she likes us or not yapped from the front door. She likes us. She hates us. Likes us. Hates us. Likes hates likes hates. We like her anyway.
A pair of red-headed house finches pretty as cardinals wheeled up to a wire and watched us go by.
And the quiet of the evening tried to calm the noise in my head, but for a moment or two I got distracted making a list of every dumb thing that makes me irritable these days. Politics. Fast food litter. Guns. People who don’t use their turn signals. It’s an interminable list.
Then I stopped that, because I saw a pair of ladies power walking in their compression pants, sort of half-serious about the exercise, and I was happy to know they were there, making our neighborhood feel lively. Which of course it is. Despite the dead raccoon.
Back home, I dropped the leashes just to see Roscoe try to beat Daisy to the door. He never wins.
But he could, of course. You just never know what could happen. Any good thing.