Walking the Mobile …

As is my getting-up routine I glance out of the back bedroom window en route for  a Sunday morning first cup of tea. The back bedroom, still affectionately known as Maddy’s room, although our daughter hasn’t lived in it for over a dozen years. I’m on the lookout for the lesser spotted woodpecker that has been a regular visitor since last September. A talisman. If he’s about he’ll likely be on one of the drilled out, nut-crammed logs. Or clinging in that semi-mechanical way to the trunk of the small leaved lime tree. Far harder to see that way as his small-movement body becomes at one with the tree shape.

But my view takes in the rest of the back garden, misty and damp this morning after what was (to my relief) the first real warm, bright, dry spring day of the year yesterday. Thrush-egg-blue skies and accumulated water pools and puddles reflecting catkins, cherry and gorse blossom and the hope of more days like that one to come. Pretty please.

So warm yesterday, indeed, that prompted by a social media photo posted by our daughter (the aforementioned Maddy) we dragged the fire-pit out of the shed and got it lit up. Tested out the compressed paper bricks* I have been obsessively producing since I was given the hand-powered tool as a Christmas gift.  Sitting outside until the stars were visible and, er, was that a planet? A satellite? Relaxing and the day’s dramas (planting peas and digging out the runner bean trench and the catastrophic (was it inevitable?) capitulation of my football team going from a 2 – 0 lead to a 3 – 2 defeat. At home!) eased gently but completely out of my bones.

This morning the huge still cupped blooms of the magnolia leaning over from the garden next door like one side of a stag’s antlers are shining white halos. Not yet fully opened, they’ll be magnificent in a couple of days. Camellias in another nearby garden red and sinful by a fence.

Gallery: <b>Spring</b> <b>weather</b> across the <b>UK</b> – May 1 2013 | Metro <b>UK</b>

Beyond the gardens, there’s a view between the houses to the roadway. My still waking eyes (and brain) are drawn to movement there.  Somebody I should – but don’t – recognise is standing on a paved driveway in a plaid dressing gown staring up a bungalow chimney.

And there’s a slowly strolling gentleman taking his mobile ‘phone for a walk; head down, studying the tiny screen in his hand, his course best described as slow motion erratic. From pavement edge where pot holes in the road snarl at him, to the exclamation mark of a telegraph pole. At which his large, furry faithful retriever type dog halts to look back for him. For him? At him?

This dog, too long in the tooth now for great pace or long route marches, was once – in the dim and difficult-to-remember past,  the sole reason for these perambulations. The dog that came as calendar driven time-of life, keep-up-with-the-Fortescue-Jones’ status symbol.  Job, marriage, children, grandchildren, retirement.

The dog remembers his role in the progression. The happy-giddy fetching of clumsily thrown sticks and balls, the searches for chocolate eggs, nettle stings on young knees, running on tide sucked beaches. The excitements of comings and leavings. And the peace and relationship forming walks. With an attentive partner at the other end of the lead, so much more than a physical connection. Familiar paths; the canal, fields in every season, the sunken lane, urban parks and more exotic journeys. All experienced from a dimension impossible for humans to comprehend; the combinations of sight, scent and sound; histories overlapping the present.

Has in mind the wonderful mutual devotions of those journeys. The presence of the partner now totally lacking. The partner now, instead, wholly engaged in and obsessed  by the electronic ethernet snare. Inescapable. Unfathomable, leading-nowhere bottomless. Where one random query leads to another; the unfortunate collapse of the Scots marathon runner a mile or so from the race finish at the Commonwealth Games half a world away, a glance at Roger Daltrey’s new solo album,  looking up events at RAF Cosford, The Black Country Museum, the latest steps in the Syrian fiasco: deadly serious but ultimately childish.

Roger Daltrey announces 'As Long As I Have You' | The ... Russia's Lavrov says <b>Syria</b> <b>chemical</b> weapons <b>attack</b> was ...

The dog pauses, waiting expectantly at another lamp post. His over-the-shoulder patient look goes un-noticed. His motives misinterpreted. He is not stopping to pick up scents, messages, threats, promises as he would have done when so much younger. When each would have sent impulses coursing through electrical and chemical channels, muscles and nervous systems responding faster than thought. No, this stop is the forlorn hope for a renewed connection, for something long lost and sorely missed. For some recognition, a spark if not warmth. But the man is taking his mobile ‘phone for a walk. As he usually does now, the dog, if anything, an encumbrance. And every stop is an opportunity to dash off and emoji-charged text to some “friend” in Poland.

 The dog, once loved is – truly – distressed, neglected and lonely.


*… and they burned exceedingly well too. Phew, all that effort might have been so wasted.


2 responses to this post.

  1. 😦 I’d swap my phone for a dog any day!


    • I suppose this was just a comment on what I saw, a slice of poetic interpretation and the sad way a lot of society seems to be heading in my small corner of the world. A relationship with a fellow sentient being is much better than trawling the internet; however tempting it may seem.


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