JD Allinder

The Perfect Fit

In Posts on November 19, 2010 at 7:13 pm

These are my favorite boots. I live in them from October to June. They’re waterproof, mudproof, and they keep my feet warm even when trudging through deep snow. I’ve walked more than 2,000 miles in this particular pair, and they just keep getting better and better. The soles are protective, but also flexible like a moccasin allowing me to feel every twig on the ground, every contour of the forest floor, every piece of gravel on the city street. These dear old boots keep me constantly connected tactilely in a way I’ve never experienced with a heavy work boot, walking shoe, or sneaker. At the risk of sounding ridiculous, I honestly consider these boots an extension of myself. A pair generally lasts about 3,000 miles, so I’ll have to replace them this winter, but I’ll keep this old pair for another six months or so, wearing them on the odd day now and then until the leather finally separates from the rubber, rendering them obsolete.

Jane and I have moved into a new stage of our relationship – our two-year anniversary was 30 September – and it feels a lot like these dear old boots (though I don’t anticipate having to toss Jane out come spring). We’re very comfortable with each other – contented with our routines, but flexible enough to handle life’s inevitable curve balls. We both get our needs met through a pretty much equal amount of give and take, respect each other’s boundaries and limitations, and have settled into a nice sense of cooperative, interdependent being. Jane’s the best dog in the whole world. And, aside from constantly grazing on poop and dead stuff, ignoring me when I call her, running away from me when I correct her, emptying the bird feeders and eating seeds until she pukes, continually treeing all the neighborhood cats, and baying at every car and pedestrian that passes the house, she’s really a model of perfection and a testament to God’s amazing handiwork. I could not ask for a more perfect companion.

I’ve been especially busy the past couple of months, and I’ve noticed how patient Jane’s become. Our first year or so I was always tending to her, training her, correcting her – I literally was not able to sit and watch a film or read a novel until after our first anniversary. She gives me my time and space now. Some mornings when I get up I realize my work load will keep me glued to my chair until 4:00 or 5:00 in the afternoon – a less than ideal schedule for man and beast – but it is what it is, and Jane’s learned to accept it (albeit with a sigh). We still get our 2-3 hours of exercise every day, but we often don’t make it out until well past our favored lunch hour, and our time at home is more and more about me sitting in silence, staring at a computer for hours on end. I sometimes do my reading out loud, and then I sit with Jane and stroke her. She enjoys that. But when I inevitably return to my desk for another three, four, or five-hour stretch, she accepts it. The baby Jane was always underfoot. The adult Jane waits patiently at my side (er, on my sofa, rather). She’s all grown up and suddenly all we’ve experienced together has become our history. There’s a line that we crossed that separates Then from Now, but our crossing was imperceptible: I wasn’t paying attention. I feel like I missed the segue, like our metamorphoses or evolution or whatever hasn’t been adequately observed, documented, recognized, honored. And as comfortable as everything is now, I can’t shake the tiniest hint of loss and foreboding that’s wedged itself into my consciousness.

Damned dogs.


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