Category Archives: Atlantic Ocean

Blyss Kennels at Fourth of July 2017

Only I could arrive here, safely and alone with Tresor and Jelly besides me in this house, as if navigating our own small ship, on the eve of the Fourth of July. Although in my mind’s eye, I imagine myself with them bobbing on gentle waves riding along the NJ coastal shore in the Atlantic ocean.  I reminisce, it is a delightful time to be in Mountainside.  It creates the most enchanting illusion that it is about one-hundred years earlier, when there were not so many houses built along the side of this mountain, the first ridge of the Watchung Mountain range.  With heavily wooded lots replete with lumbering shade trees, and deer appearing here and there as if they were pets, one can easily drive by a house and not see it.

My walks with Jelly have been telling.  You have to pay attention.  She enjoys walking in the field behind the Catholic Church across the street.  This is the exact site where I had my accident walking Tresor last year after he saw a ground hog.  Jelly does not run around much, but she looks for squirrels and rabbits.  One evening, at a distance away, I saw  pair of frolicking fawns, their tiny bodies still covered with white spots.  The doe appeared a minute or two later.  We both froze and watched them.  When they were out of sight, we continued our walk.  Later, on the Rectory lawn, we saw two large young bucks enjoying the nearby foliage.  Then I saw the special little blinking; fire flys!  I was transported back decades in the split of a second.  It was a beautiful night.  I let Jelly off leash.  She wanted to stalk a rabbit.  She did her thing.  She is no hunter.  The rabbit got away onto a neighbor’s lawn.  She followed it there.  I called her, and she took her very sweet time coming back to me. She was a brat. For that, I put her on the leash!  But overall, Jelly is such a good companion dog.

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Reading Facebook this week, I saw more news of the great show bitch, “Lucy”.  She is the grand-daughter of our Majenkir bitch, “Mikhailya”, who left this world four years ago on June 13th.   “Lucy”  won her twentieth Best in Show, and a wonderful photograph was posted of her.

Lucy & Valerie Nunes-Atkinson #20 BIS

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For my own reasons, valid and not, my heart breaks for being here alone except for my dogs.  I am not that kind of person who is solitary very well.  I long for interaction, dialog, having things to look forward to doing with someone.    I put a lot into my relationships, and they are all gone, many to death.  Many people in my life have died, and I am only in my mid-sixties.  That rather shocks me.

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My beautiful borzois inspire me to be more than I am, for I know they need me and I must be at my best for them.  I run my hand through their beautiful white coats and embrace them to my heart!  Jelly!  Tresor!

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It was almost two years ago today that Tresor was returned to me by his family who owned him for four years.  I do not like to think of those years without him.  But, once he was returned, it was like he never was gone at all.  We picked up our relationship as if we just saw each other the day before.   I consider Tresor a gift and a blessing in my life.

Tresor in his youth

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Finally, it was around the Fourth of July in 2006 that Blyss Kennels endured its first tragedy and loss, the death of Opal at nineteen months of age.  My grief for her was lengthy and profound.  I became shockingly ill, but I could not control how it made me feel.  Today, looking back on it, I don’t know how I survived the experience.  I had to learn how to be well again and find new ways to be happy.  Life had let me down, after all.

Today, I try to remember Opal with joy in my heart.  I had the best borzoi I ever could have had.  She made me extremely happy;  she just could not stay with me very long.  However, I am still very lonely and unhappy without her!  I beg God to please unite us sometime soon.  I want to touch her exquisitely beautiful borzoi face again, and run my fingers through her silky, white coat.  She glowed and sparkled in the sun!  Her body had stunning sighthound curves that made her look so graceful.  I have never seen a creature like her before or since.

Opal wins her first Class!
Bucks County KC Show

I still love her so much.  And when I think of her, I think of the words of that gorgeous Pearl Jam song, “Come Back”

Then, there were my own feeble words, Opal’s Prayer:

Unable to deny His request to take her, Opal lives in heaven now.

How?  Why?  Thy will be done.  Dear God,  Opal is yours now!

Please take care of her every day.

May we meet again, Dearest Little One!

 

A Rare Complaint at Blyss Kennels

Here we are nearly at mid-August, and a heat wave heavy with humidity has struck New Jersey.  If there were not two borzois living here with me, I would go to the Jersey Shore for the day and cool of on a beach.  In fact, I am very tempted to call one of the hotels or bed and breakfast inns I like in Cape May and leave for a few days.   However, that would also cause me problems with the borzois, so it is only a fantasy.

I am determined to let “Jelly” and “Tresor” live out their remaining lives happy and free from as much stress as possible; that is my choice.  I do not want to be one of those weepy women writing on Facebook about how I how to say goodbye to this borzoi or that and RIP because out of the blue it bloated, or died of respiratory failure from a too long walk in the heat.  How such a big, strong, and robust dog as a borzoi can be so fragile is one of nature’s paradoxes.  And so, here are “Jelly” and  “Tresor” basking on my deck, under the shade sail, one evening when the weight of the heat had left the day, watching me as I cleaned up their yard.  We get through life together.

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Peregrinations that always return to Blyss and my borzois

There seems to be no end to the peregrinations of the unquiet mind .   I travel so many circuitous roads along my journey believing all the while I have found it this time and only to be disappointed later.  How many times can I do this, I ask?

What is the root of this restlessness?  Could it be the words that echo throughout my memory, “If you don’t like it you can get out”?   or, “It’s my way or hit the highway”. Or just a simple,  “I”m  going,  don’t look back.”   Whatever it is, I have embraced husbands, horses, dogs and cats, travel, and expensive real estate to no avail.  Now I dream of a fantasy donkey that I cannot even offer a home to.   And so, I sit beneath this roof here with at least the borzois, Jelly and Tresor, Angels, who give me love in full measure.  I know I am lucky but why do I want to run away?  Why is it so hard to just be here, in this time and place, and simply be happy or content?  Is so much really wrong?

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We just got back last night with the borzois from Cape May, a lovely, charming town with a large section of preserved Victorian houses, many of which are small hotels or bed and breakfast inns.   They were decorated for Christmas and we went there specifically to take  a Christmas house tour.  It was splendid to be there at Christmas for me again after an absence of decades and to show it to LT.  There is so much splendid beauty to see within the walls of very old, wooden structures that require much maintenance simply to hold up to the extreme exposure to wind and water over a century and more!  They are all labors of love, each one a unique jewel in itself.  It is a beautiful thing that there are not only so many of them preserved but so many people who chose to dedicate their lives and spend their financial resources maintaining them in this prime condition.  If my own little Mountainside cottage costs me what it does, I can only gasp at the thought of the cost of maintaining such stately mansions as these.  This section of town is nothing less than a living museum.   I can see it no other way, and I am not alone in my opinion.  I am so pleased to see the town bursting with tourists as excited to see it lit up for Christmas as I was!  There was also a Christmas Parade that’s starting point was marching down Broadway, the street in West Cape May where our “pet friendly” inn, Highland House was, giving us a perfect viewing station out of our bedroom window!  We were told that this year marked its 50th year of high quality fun and class that you just don’t see in New Jersey every day.  It was complete with floats, fire trucks lit up like Christmas trees, talented musicians and singers, so much so that we thought we were watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Cape May, a true year round town, is a town all of New Jersey should appreciate with pride.  I am always so happy to be there!  The borzois and LT enjoyed themselves immensely, too!

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But then it is time to return to the inevitable place my home with Blyss Kennels in Mountainside.  It is not my farm in Pennsylvania or my own small home by the sea, homes that consume my days fantasizing about.  In one, I have a large fenced field for the borzoi, and a barn where I keep one retired horse and a donkey.  At my home by the sea, it is totally different.  My house is more like my Mountainside cottage, only it is decorated differently.  There,  I only am there with my borzoi, Tresor and Jelly.   I grow flowers in a garden and lead a more relaxed life.  I am more content and at peace here.  All is well.  But, I do not feel this way here in my current home, although I am working on achieving my serenity with the life I have.  Too many fantasies about my wandering ways are dangerous.

The Blyss Days with Jelly of July 2015

There seems to be no end to joy as Jelly is my constant companion and loneliness, my most constant challenge, is banished by her mere existence.  Boredom, another bane, is kept at bay by our frequent destinations together to the Watchung Reservation.   I do not seem to disappoint her as I find interesting trails for us to hike.    I manage to find trails that make a round loop so we do not have to turn around and turn back the way we came.   I am also good at finding trails that pass fields abundant with wild flowers and being July 1st, these fields are a robust panoply of blossoms.   And I know they will remain so through summer and into early fall.  Why, you might ask, am I made so happy by such a simple pleasure?  The reason is very simple to explain.  I worked during many fine summers throughout my adult life, days full of fresh air and sunshine.  Instead, they were days spent in long commutes to buildings with windows sealed shut and recirculated air.  I prayed at the time I would someday have the chance to enjoy the outdoors someday.   Now that I am retired, I do.

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Still, my mind is never at rest or peace.  Demon daggers still rise up out of the ashes of the past to wound me.  Where, I wonder, was my mother when I needed her the most?  Why did she say what she said, and do what she did to me?  It was so pointless and unnecessary.  She recently died.  Before she did, she spent several months apologizing for how badly she treated me, and righting many wrongs.  But she lingered only a short time.  We only had three short months to love one another and be happy together.  It’s sad, but as a child I remember hearing her say how much she did not want to “spoil” her children, and she believed, “You should only kiss your children when they sleep.”  It is sad to me she lived those beliefs, and now she loves us, my sister and me, but it is she who is asleep forever.  -During our three months of reconciliation, one of the saddest parts was that I did not have a borzoi at the time, so she never got to meet any of the Blyss borzoi, or even Jelly, whom I have had since February this year.   Some things are just wretched, and this story is one of them.  I wish I could think of my mother with more peace, but she is still a subject that recalls too much pain.

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Sometimes I wonder how my mother has affected me.  I know I am always good to Jelly, but I am not always good to other people, such as my sister or my boyfriend.  I can be mean, too.  I believe being with Jelly makes me better, makes me a better person, makes we want to give more of myself because I must give so much to her, as if she were a baby.  And, Jelly makes me happy and she calms me down when I might otherwise be tense, depressed or lonely.  But I know I am a very flawed person who has had many fractured relationships in my life and many have been my fault.  I have even lost most of my girl friends in recent years and I don’t even miss them or give a damn about them one bit.  If people do not touch upon my lifestyle centered around my borzoi, it is hard for me to care.  The only exception is my activities with my Church that means a great deal to me.  Perhaps prayer or activities centered on church life, in addition to my happy times with Jelly, are the only safe zones for me going forward.  I feel more secure in these arena, happier, less likely to stumble and fall, or crash and burn.

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It is critical for one’s equanimity to find emotional safe zones  to achieve serenity.  Perhaps it is through pet ownership, being in nature, academic or career accomplishments, or achievement of cherished goals.  For me, it is to step onto that trail, the special one beneath the sheltering canopy of interlocking leaves, walking in the dimension of ancient places like Watchung Reservation and all the  ridges of the Watchung Moutains in North Central New Jersey that rise up from the sea.