photo by Elizabeth

I used to paint and knit. Now I groom my healthy dog’s fast-growing hair. I trim at least a quarter cup of hair a day yet one would guess since it grows so fast!

So when I saw these short-haired shedding dogs, I laughed aloud that that Ziggy’s uses these images to advertise “GROOMING.”

A bath and maybe a nail trim is nothing in comparison with the hours I spend each week brushing and cutting hair.

Many. Hours.

Even having had large Collies and a Malemute did not prepare me for how time consuming this little 16 lb non-shedder could be. Though non-shed is a misnomer. She sheds, just like a person, very little. And her hair just keeps growing.

It grows thick and fast and doesn’t stop to ensure that her feet retain traction on the ground, but instead her paws mutate into large balls of fur. Without a severe trim at least once a week, her winter-rabbit paws are so slick with hair that she’ll slip and slide as if our floors are ice. Which leads to injury just like when people run on ice with slick bottomed shoes.

In other words, the dogs pictured do not warrant the term “grooming” any more than lounging in a hot tub is like riding a ten foot wave.


poem & photo by Elizabeth

hands awaken 
stars in skin
till our palms
press peace
deep as breath

yet this snow-blind 
animal need for touch
shared by grooming apes
and dogs sleeping entwined
is rarely about sex 

but instead our primal need to know 
we are not stones tossed out to sea
as we breathe the same air
molecules shared
in this brief habitation of skin

Thank you to the editors of 5AM for first publishing this poem.

Longest Night

photo by Elizabeth

In many traditions, this long night marks the end of the solar year, the final day of increasing dark. Tomorrow our days will lengthen and a new year begins, not by calendar, but by the sun’s time.

Here’s to the cycles and the richness of dark, the silence of snow and opportunities to reflect, to sleep, and once more emerge into increasing light.

May this year bring peace, more love, more ease and safety for all. HAPPY SOLSTICE!