Earlier today, before the rain turned into the freezing rain that is falling now, I snatched up my sweet and always eager puppy and ran errands in town.
The greyness of the past almost-week is promising to change into very cold and sunny tomorrow, but at least for one more day the grey was still holding fast.
While driving on side streets in town this morning something unexpected caught my attention.
Errands temporarily forgotten I pulled the truck into the parking lot across the street, climbed out and more closely inspected my find.
They were paintings - almost a dozen of them - attached to the chain link fence of a transformer station.
Still standing beside the truck I looked first at the paintings and then the functional metal of the station, that to me looked like a giant version of the construction kits that my sons liked to play with when they were both little boys.............
Unsettled and in a funk, the weather and I both.
Maybe it is just the weather.
Maybe it is the continued and ongoing feelings I have of being lost and directionless.
Maybe it is the ideas that I have bouncing around in my brain that are still only partially formed.
Maybe it is the underlying self-doubts I still harbor after taking such a beating in Juneau.
Maybe it really is just the partially formed bouncing ideas that cannot seem to become fully formed.
But there is......something.........floating around in there that may point me in some direction for my life.............
I left my sweet pup in the cab of the truck, pulled the hood of my rain jacket up over my head, and crossed the street to look more closely at the large paintings and the fenced in, Paul Bunyan sized connect-a-set metal construction models that stood in front of me............
The paintings were all like sized, about 4 feet by 3 feet.
All very colorful and all done by young children.
I remember when I was in Juneau unexpectedly finding a children's playground that contained paintings done by young people that depicted icons of Juneau and Alaskan life.
Paintings filled with whales and mountains and Native Alaskans and eagles.
These paintings in front of me this morning were similar in tone.
These similarly wonderful and very colorful pictures spoke to life and history in Tennessee as seen through the eyes of children.
They contained hills and mountains and Native Americans.
Farms and lakes and blue skies and flowers.
Tullahoma's rich railroad history and Tullahoma's ties to rocket science and jet propulsion testing and the Air Force Base.
They were beautiful in that accidentally whimsical and simplistic way that children have when they draw.
A wonderfully colorful diversion in a world filled with grey.............
As I headed back to my truck I stood for a moment looking guiltily at my forlorn puppy.
We had been running errands all morning and she had good-naturedly but reluctantly resigned herself to the fact that she would be left inside the truck during the trip.
As I stood at the edge of the parking lot smiling at my dog and as she sat looking at me in that sweet way that loving dogs have, I knew that we were next headed to meet LC in town.
And that Jamie would finally be able to break free from the bondage of the vehicle and happily wander in the rain...............
He is my other eyes that can see above the clouds; my other ears that hear above the winds. He is the part of me that can reach out into the sea. He has told me a thousand times over that I am his reason for being; by the way he rests against my leg; by the way he thumps his tail at my smallest smile; by the way he shows his hurt when I leave without taking him. (I think it makes him sick with worry when he is not along to care for me.) When I am wrong, he is delighted to forgive. When I am angry, he clowns to make me smile. When I am happy, he is joy unbounded. When I am a fool, he ignores it. When I succeed, he brags. Without him, I am only another man. With him, I am all-powerful. He is loyalty itself. He has taught me the meaning of devotion. With him, I know a secret comfort and a private peace. He has brought me understanding where before I was ignorant. His head on my knee can heal my human hurts. His presence by my side is protection against my fears of dark and unknown things. He has promised to wait for me... whenever... wherever - in case I need him. And I expect I will - as I always have. He is just my dog.........Gene Hill