By Bruce Farrow on March 30, 2015
The lady sat in her garden with her dogs – three very handsome retrievers who she adored.
It was a sunny day and as she sat on her patio she surveyed the scene. Her little garden was her world and it was immaculately kept. The lawn edges were sharp and well defined and the colours of the flowers in the beds were carefully thought out. No clashing colours in her garden!
The flowers were spectacular, and she had planted them in a very specific order to give the colours of the spectrum – purple became dark blue which led to the light blues and then gently eased itself into the luscious greens which faded to yellow and merged into the reds. She was pleased with how it had turned out.
Her dogs were asleep on the lawn. Each dog with its own unique character and appearance. There was Vito, Luca and Fredo – named after the characters in the Godfather movie. Vito was the boss dog, the leader of the pack and ruled the others with a sense of purpose and authority. Luca was the brawler and was quite happy to pick a fight with any other dog and then there was Fredo – the maverick, always looking to do something different, a bit wild yet a lot of fun. He was a bit daft too!
She adored her dogs and would, and did, do anything for them. In fact over a period of time she discovered that her old friends didn’t come and visit anymore. There had been less and less to talk about since all she was interested in was her dogs, and her friend – as much as they liked animals – had more to their lives than dogs.
It hadn’t bothered her at first as she began to focus her life on the 3 animals. Her previous interests began to fade and her life was her dogs. She had been fascinated with how they developed their individual characters and she was in awe of how much love they gave her. This was love without any conditions – true unconditional love. It didn’t matter that her house was small, or that the garden wasn’t very big. They loved her for being her and love was something that had been missing from her life and this felt good.
For a time she hadn’t even noticed that her friends no longer called or popped round, yet it was now obvious that her friends had gone. They needed more than she could give them. Oh, well, she had her dogs and they were her life and she spent even more time with them and they were a great distraction.
She played with them constantly in the garden and didn’t venture out much. They got their exercise in play and seemed perfectly happy and it had now been some time since they had left the perimeter of the garden. This was her world, safe and secluded from the outside.
She had once been an amazing artist, yet over a period of time she spent less and less time painting as her dogs took over her life. She smiled when she remembered how much her old friends had liked her work and reflected on how excited they got when she had painted something new. That didn’t happen anymore since there was no paintings and no friends.
Her life had become a bit of a mess and her way of dealing with ‘stuff’ was to shut herself away. She felt safe when she did this. She quietly laughed to herself when she remembered one friend likening her to an ostrich because she had this habit of burying her head in the sand! She didn’t mind – this was how she was.
Her friends had offered to help her yet she was a proud woman and help was not something she accepted readily. She just shut herself away from the outside world and the problems out there. She was safe in her little world, and she had her dogs.
She missed her friends yet she had associated them with her ‘old life’ and her ‘old life’ was something she was going to stay away from which was a shame because, although she didn’t know it, her friends missed her and often discussed between themselves as to the gap that she had left in their lives when she withdrew. They missed her smile, her laughter, her personality and her wit and her amazing talent as an artist. It was rare, when her friends met, for someone not to bring up the subject of how much they missed her and what an awesome human being she was and how they were lucky to have been in her presence once. They all agreed it was very sad that they no longer saw her.
Yet she was happy with her dogs, they were so beautiful and intelligent and occupied her days fully. She didn’t need her friends. It was essentially in her mind an “either or” situation.
Her eyes wandered through the French windows and caught sight of a picture she had painted many moons ago. She thought about that time in her life and, in some way, it made her sad. She had to remind herself that there had been good times in her life and what she had achieved in the ‘outside world’ had been rather special. She had been proud.
Luca snored loudly next to her, his shiny pale coat glinting in the sun as he stretched out on his back, with not a care in the world. He had her and that was all that mattered.
It had been a considerable time since she had had dealings with the outside world and she continued to convince herself that this was what she wanted, this was easy, without problems. Yet was it?
Maybe her friends had been right. Maybe she could still paint. Maybe there was more to life than her little garden and her dogs? But was there? If she changed things then she would have to get involved with all the problems that the outside world had given her and she didn’t have the stomach for that. She had sacrificed herself essentially to get away and it had seemed the right thing to do. But something kept going round and round in her head. . . “What a waste”. Yet, she then argued, it wasn’t a waste since her dogs appreciated her and they were the most special things in her life. But what about her artistic talents? She wasn’t painting anymore and something kept telling her that was wrong. Someone up there had given her such talent, yet she wasn’t using it.
Luca let out another snore and rolled back onto his front. She got up and went inside and returned with an easel, a canvas, a palette and some brushes.
She nervously set it up all up on the patio and allowed herself to enter the artistic trance-like state before she started to paint. She didn’t know what she was painting and lost herself in her trance for several hours.
When she finally stepped back and looked at the canvas, she laughed out loud. The painting was two animals morphed together as one. It was probably her finest work and she laughed again at what her unconscious mind had painted.
The two animals were incredibly well depicted, their colours brilliantly defined and there was life in the canvas.
She laughed again as she looked at the tiger that had become an ostrich. Things needed to change!