This past week I embarked on the grand feat of cleaning my backyard. A backyard that has never attracted me, never made me feel welcome, simply never. The landscape is a familiar one, seen here in El Paso lawns with unwelcoming sand and weeds and more sand.
The yard, my yard is worse, because of a dog I inherited, a dog that I have had a hard time loving because I love cats. I love small animals that curl in my lap. Animals that I can cuddle and carry and don't knock me over or roll in dirt. But, this dog which I inherited, a Rottweiler, Luna, has begun to grow on me. I show her affection by scratching her head and giving her all the left overs that she loves so much, she runs past my scratch to savor them. Her favorite are the rib bones from Rib Hut. I'm sure that is not surprising.
But, this past week, while I formed my game plan as to how I was going to clean this monster mess of a yard, Luna hung out with me. She looked on as I tried to clip the low hanging tree branches of the Mulberry tree. Her chocolate eyes looked confused and questioning at the same time as branches dropped from the sky and I strained to make myself taller, strained against the heat, and the leaves that attacked me as they fell. My skin was hot and slick with sweat, my brown skin getting browner, her black fur absorbing heat but still she wagged her tail, although panting at the same time.
So, as I cut and pulled and jumped as bugs attacked me or fled from their cool homes in the ground she watched I spoke with her about nothing and everything. I asked her how her day was and if she gets bored in her sandy jungle home. I apologized for not being a better owner, and told her I wish we had met earlier. I also wish that I could tell you that she licked me at that moment in understanding, but she didn't. Instead she ran off in the opposite direction. I looked up, sweat in my eyes, a little sad, only to see that she had her own friends and had simply grown tired of listening to me talk.
In the air, four feet off the ground, two small white butterflies flew intertwined as if dancing a tango mid-air. They moved beautifully pausing at moments as Luna jumped up and snapped at the air they had just occupied. They leaped up only to glide back down twirling around each other the entire time. I wiped at my forehead, gloved hands as dusty as the rest of me and laughed. A laughter that bubbled up from my center and erupted quickly. They continued this game as a gazed at them through over-sized sunglasses. Then the butterflies flew past me, twirled around my head, and flew off. As if saying good-bye. I looked down at the pile of weeds at my feet, and Luna who sat next to me, face looking up, as if asking, "What next?"