With six days of sun and sand to look forward to, we are packed to the hilt. Anyone would think we had a newborn. We have a pile of towels, cotton bedcover, night time enclosure, dog bed, treats, meals, dog shampoo (and conditioner!) de-matting combs, water bottles and favourite toys. So, with a sense of new and adventure we head off.
About 20 minutes down the road and Shiloh‘s chin is dripping and he’s looking anxious. We close the back window and turn up the air con. After a little while it occurs to me he might be car sick. I turn to check on him and see him purposefully stand. In the nick of time, I manage to catch the proceeds of his breakfast in a towel (twisting a muscle in my neck at the same time but I guess that’s besides the point, at least my husband’s leather seats were spared right?!).
Poor car sick Shiloh. I climb into the back seat with him and firm up his little body against every bend in the road (further aggravating my neck) and after some time manage to prop his head up with the remaining clean towels.
By the time we reach Waitara he is feeling a little better. We unpack and settle in.
We have six days ahead. Six days of beach and sand. Shiloh encourages me to lie on the cool grass and watch the sky.. Jackson Browne plays in my head. Or should I say Jackson Browne tries to play in my head. Shiloh was pretty interruptive.
‘Keep a fire burning in your eye
Pay attention to the open sky
You never know what will be coming down……….
Keep a fire for the human race
And let your prayers go drifting into space
You never know what will be coming down……………….
Perhaps a better world is drawing near…….
Just as easily, it could all disappear
Along with whatever meaning you might have found………….
Don’t let the uncertainty turn you around
(The world keeps turning around and around)
Go on and make……… a joyful sound’
Shiloh does help me make a joyful sound – it’s so true. But I have to admit that he is extremely interruptive and going on holiday with a 6 month old pup is hard work. We are up early each day to let him out. He gets an upset tummy on day three requiring fast track 4am walks to the park because he refuses to go on the grass nearby. It also meant that two of the 5 nights there were spent cooking chicken and rice………for the dog! (Instead of our usual dinners out. Shiloh loved (LOVED) the beach. And what he loved (LOVED) most about the beach was digging……..so walks to the beach ended with a very smelly, sandy and wet dog needing a hose down and a towel dry (and blow dry – he IS a labradoodle !) And of course our last day was getting to a vet for advice on our car sick pup. We didn’t fancy a repeat of the leather seat rescue.
Where, I wondered were the isolated walks along a beautiful beach with nothing to explore but Jackson Browne lyrics or the deep recesses of my mind? Or the hours spent watching the tide go out and hours collecting shells or writing messages in the sand? Shiloh was always there and up to something.He needed constant looking out for and I began to feel that the mental space I had longed for could not be had = with a dog in tow.
Is this the way it is? Have I lost the aloneness I value?
Arriving home (with a crick in the neck – steadying Shiloh in the back seat) I didn’t feel particularly rested.
I am again struck by the ‘okayness’ of feeling conflicted. Our summer holiday was still sun and sea and Shiloh is just so lovable – but I wonder about the tradeoffs I have unwittingly agreed to?