Snow may not be everyone's preferred taste, but January in New England without a crisp blanket of white feels utterly lacking. Even after the sparkly silence of a city-mandated snow day has dusted off to expose sore shoveling muscles, lost mittens, and street-parking contests - you can't ignore the magic of winter... Just bundle up and keep those noses and toes toasty, dear friends!
Here in New England, the traditionally sultry months of July and August are known affectionately as the dog days of summer. The term goes back to Greek and Roman times when it paired with the celestial phase of Sirius, the dog star. The Romans weren't fans of this heated season and believed it to be inherently evil, though today, amidst barbecues, beach trips and pool parties, the only disappointment one could project onto this last glorious stretch of summer is the fact that fall, and the bitter backslide into winter, will be following on it's heels.
But why bemoan the future when you can lie belly-up in the 80-degree present - the smell of sweetgrass around you and the sound of crickets in your ears? King of living in the moment (and master extraordinaire of sunbathing) Oscar dog likes nothing more than to spend a sunny August afternoon baking himself on a bright patch of green... which typically leaves me surrounded by vegetation and in need of an activity. Enter: the floral garland.
Favorite pastime of children the world over, weaving wildflower stems into crowns, necklaces and irregular lengths of rope is a satisfying way to kill outside time while pretty much guaranteeing a novel temporary accessory. There are myriad ways to braid plant bodies, and countless species that will oblige, but we like the following trusty combination:
Not a fan of getting your hands sticky and culling all those beautiful yellow blossoms? Not to worry - dandelions have equally entertaining potential in their afterlives: as wind-spirited pom-poms and the skyward vehicles of wishes...
And on that note... stay cool out there, dear readers.
Pretty much everyone who has ever met Oscar has promptly joined his fanclub. Even the people whose picnics he has ruined (yes, that's 'picnics', plural); even the ones he has grumbled at startled the socks off of on first meeting; probably most especially those that work for weeks and months, slipping treats and cooing compliments, to finally win a nuzzle or friendly tail wag... see, the only way to enter this guy's circle is to earn it. But oh, how you'll want to earn it. Behind the intimidating 95lbs of dog, there's a softness to his eyes - a pensive, soulful depth. This Beast has PRESENCE - and it's magnetic. I will take credit for keeping him healthy, happy, obscenely well-fed, and in good company nearly 24hrs a day, but let me make something clear: when you see us strolling the sidewalks, I'm with him. (*This statement has nothing to do with leash-training and everything to do with attitude.)
I had little idea that such a complex character would devlop from the Buddha-bellied little puppy I brought home nearly nine years ago, though one thing is certainly clear: I wouldn't be anywhere near the joyful thrill-ride I'm on now if it weren't for this sweet Beast... and for that, every day, I am grateful.
Here's wishing you, dear readers, a day of peace, indulgence and wholehearted celebration, in thanks for all of your beloveds and sweet Beasts...
Oscar is, as you see, rather easy on the eyes, but few have captured him through a camera lens as beautifully as the talented Kimberly Wang (brilliant photographer, storyteller and fellow dog-blogger) - her careful eye is behind all the photos in this post - she's even photographed me (below) photograhing the Beast... *Did I mention I also count blessings for my tremendously creative crew of friends?
... this gorgeous Beast said hello to the world. Three months later "Ricky" (yeesh, right?!) rocked into my life... and within a week of becoming "Oscar" he had launched his modeling career by doning an XL baby tee and posing in front of the lens in the Zutano photo studio (where I spent many wonderful years as a designer). The boy had swagger from day one, and an undeniable talent for pulling off ridiculous costumes with debonair seriousness.
Today also proudly marks the one-year anniversary of this blog...! A pretty satisfying feat in numerous ways, and a project that continues to unfold in increasingly thrilling directions. I might bring the brains and talent, but there's no question that Oscar Dog is the heart (and giant, cast-iron stomach) of this operation. Today, I celebrate 8 phenomenal years of beautiful canine inspiration, along with 365 days (and 60 posts) of dog-blogging escapades.
We're planning our annual celebration for this weekend (follow-up birthday post to come), but for now, on this bright March day: Happy Birthday, my sweet, sweet, couldn't-be-more-wonderful boy - here's to many more years of influence and adventures...