After two long, hard weeks of recovery, Tilly is bouncing (literally) back from her operation, and the vets have given their blessing for her to start taking walks again. We had a fine, clear day yesterday, so I packed up my work and took it into the woods, rewarding our brave, patient hound with a long afternoon among the trees. While I nested down among oak roots and moss with notebooks and reference texts scattered around me, Tilly rambled nearby, tail held high in delight; then she flopped by my side: listening, watching, nose twitching with every scent drifting past on the wind.
Though many of you already know the painting above, I'm re-posting it today in honor of Tilly's return to the woods. For those who don't know it: "In the Word Wood" is by our good friend and neighbor David Wyatt, created as part of his beautiful and very magical Local Characters series, back when Tilly was still a half-grown pup. The equally lovely drawing on the right is his preliminary sketch for the painting. To see more of David's work, please visit his website, illustration blog, and Etsy shop.
Yesterday our wood was a Word Wood indeed as I chased words and sentences through the long grass; but for Tilly, who's been pining to prowl those green pathways again, it was pure Paradise.
''It is really hard to be lonely very long in a world of words," wrote the Palestinian-American poet Naomi Shihab Nye. "Even if you don't have friends somewhere, you still have language, and it will find you and wrap its little syllables around you and suddenly there will be a story to live in.''
This is our story. Once upon a time, on a late summer's day in the Word Wood.