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As I’ve been writing, the last couple of weeks have been terribly difficult for me, both physically and emotionally. I’ve been struggling with holding it together and not always succeeding. An expression, tone of voice, a gesture could bring about an hour of sobbing.

On Saturday, in the early afternoon, I picked up my camera, my mp3 player, asked “Kodi” if he’d go outside with me and ventured out onto the deck, down the ramp and into the backyard. I stopped at the swing and grabbed the cushion.

I put “Kodi” on his airline cable and took the cushion out into the yard on a slight rise in the grade where I folded it in half and dropped it. I managed to get myself down onto the cushion without incident and settled myself.

The sun was shining. There was a light, cool breeze dancing across the grass. “Kodi” brought me his tug toy, we played tug, I threw it for him and he chased it and brought it back to me a half dozen times or so.

He lay down in front of me and I set the timer on my camera, perched it on my sneaker and took some pictures of him, experimenting, to see what kind of a shot I could get.

“Kodi” came up to me and started wrestling with me, mouthing my hand and arm, wrapping his front feet around my forearm, pulling me toward him. We wrestled for quite a while, I couldn’t help but laugh and smile, he was so cute, stopping every couple of minutes to sniff my nose and offer me a kiss, tickling me with his whiskers.

When he tired of wrestling, he pawed the exposed bit of cushion, leaned against me, turned a circle and flopped down against my hip.

I put my ear buds into my ears, turned on my mp3 player and selected some soft music. I closed my eyes and let my head fall back. I took a deep breath. The sun was warm on my face. There were so many scents on the breeze, the smell of a neighbor’s freshly cut grass, the flowering bush at the back of the yard, the earthiness of the ground beneath us.

I opened my eyes and looked up at the blue sky, the puffy white clouds slowly floating by overhead. Birds were soaring over us, their shadows tracing their paths on the grass around us.

I looked down at “Kodi’, who was looking up at me, when he closed his eyes, I closed mine, when he tipped his nose up into the air, I leaned my head back and tried to identify the different scents in the air. The music was so peaceful. I felt myself smiling, it was nice, calming, relaxing.

I was able to put everything else out of my mind, just clear my head and ‘just be.’

At one point, one of my ear buds fell out and I could hear the birds singing, blending with the music filling my head.

It took me back to when I was 16, working in the corn fields, detasseling corn, spending the day outside. I greatly enjoyed that time, I loved being outside in the sunshine and fresh air.

I’m sure it sounds kind of ‘corny’ but this was one of the most relaxing and peaceful experiences I’ve had in a long, long time. This is going to be my new ‘go-to’ when I’m feeling overwhelmed, ignored, stressed or I’m experiencing a great deal of pain. I know when the Summer gets hot I won’t be able to enjoy this experience, as my asthma won’t allow me to spend a great deal of time in the heat and humidity, but for now, I’m going to make time to do this at least once a day, when I’m able and weather permits.