Leonard is stretched out on the floor next to me.

And barking at the neighbor’s voices squeezing in through the windowsill. His concern is unconvincing. I suppose it’s nice that he feels a sense of duty.

He hasn’t moved in a half an hour.

I expect this morning’s exceptional walk along the trail was too much for his hound-sized brain. I still can’t run with this achilles tendon, so we walked this morning and took him with us. There were more exciting smells than he knew what to do with. The trail used to frighten him, so this was a big deal. He’s getting over whatever trauma he had as a pup. Slowly.

I didn’t smell stoat this morning, but I am sure Leonard did. Birds don’t interest him, but anything small and furry, or small and spikey does. Some evenings I have to play the guardian of the hedgehog while he does his business in the front yard.

I wanted to say “garden”. The front garden. As though that were a real thing in my life. Garden goes with words like cottage, and teapot. I have an A-frame house built in the 1970s and an electric water cooker. I have a mossy yard with half-hearted flower beds and derelict greenhouses. I wrote neglected first. But derelict relieves me of responsibility.

Time. I think the reason I spend so much of it trying to understand what it is, is because I do waste it. Or spin in place as it passes. All these “free” hours open up like sinkholes in the days. They don’t feel like freedom. They feel free of substance, actually. And inescapable.

Some days I can only get the work done when there is no time in which to do it. To get outside with a plan of some sort. To get upstairs and work with the paints. To fold the damned laundry.

Instead, I have an open afternoon – another open afternoon – and sit here brooding. And chiding myself when E. can hear me.

And it is not very convincing.

the grey heron sleeps
in the reeds-keeps her distance
eye on the canoes

Where did we ever get the idea that we could “make time” for anything in our lives? I caught myself asking this morning. My inner monologue part self-recrimination, part pie-in-the-sky planning. How can I make time for…

If I am honest with myself, this time I want to make is actually a story of “a time” that I can hold as a token from a past. Most of my thoughts about making time are connected to results of some sort – not to the doing, not to the being in that time – but a story of having done something. Accomplished. Survived. Been.

Time slips through my hands
but like the fish I’d caught
that time at sea
with bulging eyes and razor gills
that stained the hull with blood

That time I was, you
were, we were we spent ourselves
a spell as we caught
ourselves in a well like frogs
like cats, all familiars

We float, we sink, we
die a thousand times too soon