Life is Ruinous, but BeautifulsteemCreated with Sketch.

in #lifelast year

Fingertips digging into my hair, I stood at the closed door next to Old Man. He was looking in a forlorn way at it, like just outside that door held the meaning of life, and it was just out of his reach. I opened the door and Old Man Dog raised his nose to the air to take in the smell that is unique to summer rain. The humidity seemed to instantly bristle my hair, as the hair on the back of his neck seemed to relax. Slowly he stepped out with his little old man feet, settling down onto the porch like he were a human settling down into a rocker.


Alright then, Old Man, I’ll sit out with you. I settled onto the decorative tile floor, just to watch Old Man watch. The rain drops were making little water splashes the size of half dollars as they catapulted themselves onto the sidewalk. He watched them like they were the busybodies of the neighborhood bringing him all the juicy gossip. The gossip must not have been too shocking, because as the moments passed he listened more and more peacefully. Maybe they weren’t busybodies at all, but sages.

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Emerson’s famous words rolled through my head like the whisper of the wind ever so slightly rustling the pine branches that towered in the distance.

My eyes slowly settled in on the arch shape along the roof at the entry way to the porch. It is a simple arch shape, nothing too fancy or exotic. No matter, the bird of paradise was leaning into that arch, showing off like one would assume a plant that grows bird shaped flowers would probably act. The rain was slapping down onto its leaves, giving off a muted, hollow sort of sound. Each drop made its own individual muted clunk, and with dozens of clunks, the space was full of the sound of show-off plants.

Rain and Palm.jpg

That arch against that grey sky with that bird of paradise creeping in—suddenly I felt transported to some ancient, decrepit place. It was like some ancient religious place that was being swallowed once more by the tropics that surrounded it. Ruinous, but beautiful.

I straightened up my back and closed my eyes for a moment while inhaling the sound, smell, and the feel of my ruinous beautiful place.

Life is ruinous but beautiful. Ruinous, because there is a constant state of change. A person is never the same person they were ten years prior. There is a constant cycle of regeneration wherein a person reinvents who she is, if for no other reason than the consequences of age. The old person is a ruin, but the new one is beautiful.

There is a transition period where we try to reconcile the loss of the old and the gain of the new person that ten years of slow and steady aging have brought—ten years of wisdom and experience. Youthful, bouncy enthusiasm may have dissolved in those ten years, but it is replaced with something more practical and resolved.

Puddle Jumping.jpg

Old Man was sitting perfectly patiently still, just watching the rain. Maybe his old and wise canine eyes were seeing the cycle of life in it, with all its movement and change. Those old wise eyes accepted all.

He watched it for a long time, only coming in when it had stopped. He had seen it all, and that was enough—Old Man needs a proper bed to take a nap on, of course. Running my hand down his thin back, I could feel the big transition he has made from “older gentleman-dog” to “elderly gentleman-dog.” He hasn’t fought that change in the least, just watched.

Maybe when I rest my eyes on him he will remind me to only watch change patiently too.


All the wisest things I've learned are from animals. They don't overthink and make things too complicated. They just do their thing.

That is exactly it. No overthinking. That is what I need to think hard about...not overthinking...

I have a PhD in overthinking, myself.

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Cool bark. That is bark, right? And I resonate with splashing through those puddles. I will still do it on a whim.

Oh, animals are so much easier than we humans. They just accept getting old and wiser and we fight it all the way to the grave. Perhaps we could learn something from them.


Yes, it is that stuff that falls away from a palm tree trunk - not sure what it is called. It must be that I need bigger puddles, but I just can't get the same level of enjoyment out of puddle splashing with my adult sized body. My daughter is so small, when she jumps in there is a very dramatic splash.

If only we humans could remember that we are still animals, maybe we would go with the flow more. Maybe :)

Hah!! Exactly! You are so right!

Love the rain in the bark photo.

ADORE the child and puddle photo.

Somehow the sound of rain, when sitting out feels comforting and familiar, like our bloodline has heard it since ancient times. I love sitting on the porch when it rains, until lightening hits the tree beside my house ! Then I go in.

Yay for recognizing it is bark! There was a lot of question last time I used that picture :) The other one is my daughter last year. I love that picture.

I think you are right, the sound of rain is in our blood. Dang lightning, always raining on your parade...or electrifying it.

Howdy ginnyannette! No, that's not the way it works. lol. But it does make one wonder how much dogs think and if they do, what are their thoughts? That last photo is perfect! I have no idea what in tarnation that middle photo is. It looks like a bloody bone.

I think dogs have very flat, calm thoughts - basic and to the point, and beautiful in their simplicity. Just as nature intended for a peaceful life: no thinking.

lol! man, I wish we could have that! lol. I think you're right though.

Ah, the lessons we learn from animals, from nature. Thanks old man dog. Observing rather than fighting is very, very wise. You got it going on. Doggieji, dog guru. Ruinous but beautiful. That's a gorgeous way to put it. Xx

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I think that Old Man Dog would really love being called dog guru. I can see him giving an approving head lift and nod before resting it back on his paw for another nap. An old man needs lots of naps :)

Aw. I love a dog story. This morniing my hubby showed me a little video where a guy reported on a lost dogs home, and this dog hugged his leg and would.not.let.go. Needless to say he took him home. My heart hasn't solidified since. So beautiful.

Dogs are such pure souls, can't help but love them :)

They seriously make me smile. I just went into the local whole foods and the house across the road has their lounge room facing the straight. There are two dogs there that sit on the couch and rest their chins on the back of it to watch the street. They are the cutest things ever and make me smile . I really want to get a dog again xx

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You absolutely should get one. In particular a shelter dog. Mine give me so much happiness, and for people that have anxiety they have a very calming in-the-moment presence.

My hsuband spends his morning showing me amusing dog videos. Then he says he would let his.doggies on the couch and in.the bed and I start having an OCD meltdown. We will get dogs after the next travelling stint. And when we work out more stable work hours and a dog pen.

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I trust you two will figure it out :)

Eh... send me some raiiiiin!!!

Hurricane season is upon us...

Yeah... I'm watching an invest coming this way 😒

Lovely writing @ginnyannette. If only I could have the time to watch and wait, dogs have it made! I believe that being honourable, compassionate and usefulness brings happiness. It would have been fun to have a philosophical chat with Emerson.

I envy all that down time dogs have too. If only they dreamed less about chasing squirrels and more about...wait, no, everyone should just dream about chasing squirrels :)

That would be a good chat with Emerson, I'm sure.

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