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2: the unknown...

Updated: Feb 27

Dear Friend,

How has your week treated you? I hope that you are feeling as healthy and strong as one can in winter.

How did you spend the first week of the New Year? My guess is that you probably weren’t out picnicking on the lawn? But I hope that you weren’t out sandbagging, either. No matter how you have been spending your January so far, I hope that it has been a happy time.

This past week, I’ve continued preparing to move. Moving takes a lot of organization and writing lists and lists of details – do or die tasks that must be completed – always up against the clock. There’s a bit of fear about the unknown and there’s exhilaration at the prospect of newness; it’s a tug-o-war of emotions.

On the afternoon of Friday, October 25th, 2013, I took a walk with my dog, a Labrador retriever named Winchester, and my mom’s dog, a Great Pyrenees named Zeb. We had been strolling along sidewalks of the quiet neighborhood without a care in the world. Zeb’s leash was wrapped around my right wrist and Winchester’s leash was around my left, we were on the home stretch.

All of a sudden, a small drone flew toward me and hovered over my head. There wasn’t time for me to loosen the leashes. Zeb bolted away from the drone and Winchester leaped toward it. My arms were ripped from their sockets (an exaggeration). But there was immediate and immense pain in both of my shoulders and wrists as I attempted to calm the dogs and shoo the drone away. (That’s right, shoo the drone).

Drones were new to all three of us. As a Labrador, Winchester barked happily and bounced higher and higher toward the drone, determined to retrieve it, but Zeb wanted nothing more than to run for cover. This tug-o-war went on for over 5 minutes.

The drone stayed within 2 feet of my head no matter how much I tried to move away. At one point, Zeb growled and lunged with such force that I thought I’d be torn in half because equally strong Winchester was hurling himself into the air in the opposite direction. My arms flailed wildly at the mercy of the crazy dogs. Helpless and hurting, I did what I often do in such situations, I laughed.

Cars passed by, neighbors closed their garage doors. I stayed on my feet but my body zigged and zagged back and forth on the sidewalk beneath the fanning breeze of a reckless drone. Dogs-leashed-to-wrists-push-me-pull-you, shove-me-yank-you … none of my verbal commands to the dogs or to the drone was of help.

Finally, the drone lifted away.

Both leashes relaxed as Zeb stopped pulling and came to lean his body up against my legs. Winchester quickly sat like a perfect angel. We watched the drone fly away over the rooftops until it was out of sight. Then we walked home together, both leashes in my right hand grip.

I know a lot about drones now, their capabilities, photo / video, etc, and how much goes in to following safety precautions when flying. Somewhere, there is a 5 minute video...

After my mom passed away, Zeb went to live and thrive in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas as a true shepherd of goats, chickens, ducks etc. He even got to tree a few bears before he died!

And when Frank was learning to pilot, Winchester finally got to retrieve a real drone out of a shrub with his soft-mouth lips.

Zeb was a thinker, cautious and melancholy, a good balance to party-in-a-dog, enthusiastic Winchester. Both dogs were well trained to sit on command, to leave it, to get down, wait, stay… but when the drone came on the scene, it’s as if both dogs lost their minds.

That drone experience afforded a myriad of lessons… yes, I should have known better than to ever wrap my wrists with a leash, and it is a good example of how quickly raw emotions can override any amount of training. But looking back on it now, it is reassuring to have proof that even the scary unknown can become familiar – in time.

Well, that’s it for now, I hope that you have a good week. If you want to send me a note, just visit my Contact page. I’d love to hear from you.

Gently Be,

Leslie Bevans


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