It has been sometime since my baby homo sapiens clock slowed to a whisper, and no amount of time spent with young children has caused those hormones to kick back into overdrive, as they functioned for several years.
It was such an enormous relief to be freed from the perpetual ticking of the block, and this recent stirring has taken me a little by surprise. I felt free to envision and create an identity and life for my partner and me that involved our own passion and desire.
However, my hormones have recently taken me by surprise. In recent weeks, I have been experiencing something hormonally new to me, a condition I am referring to as the “Canine Clock.”
I have always had a propensity for the maternal. As a child, I tried to adopt every creature in need of a home. My parents were generally quite supportive of this need to nurture.
I did not change very much as a young adult. I adopted a pigeon with a broken wing and tried to raise baby mice whose parents had been killed in traps set around the pseudo-renovated barn my partner at the time and I lived in.
I just assumed I would have children because of this maternal tendency and because that is “what you do.” It was a shift for me to realize that I did not have to have children, that I could give myself permission to serve a different purpose for the bulk of my time on this planet. I was not a failure if I did not procreate. I was not being selfish wanting to love and be loved solely by my intimate partner.
Of course, in the years of extreme ticking of the biological clock, I managed to adopt 2 dogs, 4 cats, a lost pigeon, and 25 chickens. The hormonal force was strong with me.
While I am thankful I did not procreate, it has been an emotionally difficult process of simplifying to get to the point where I had only 2 cats left of my previous menagerie. I lived along in a city, a place where dogs and chickens were not a realistic addition to my life. Save the previous haunting from animals long gone from my life, I was comfortable. My life with other creatures was manageable.
A few months ago, I moved out of my urban abode and out to the Arizona desert to live with my partner. In this move, I gained two homo sapiens companions, 2 more cats, and a dog. One of these cats, a nervous Maine Coon named Puck, I previously owned. He was far too sensitive to travel, so when I moved from Alaska to Massachusetts, he made a long-term pit stop in Arizona.
Animals are a lot of work, even cats. They need attention and have their own set of idiosyncrasies and neuroses.
Puck has spent the bulk of his life hiding under the bed, coming out periodically to communicate his sensibilities by spraying various pieces of furniture and carpet corners. Not the most pleasant personality trait.
Smokey, an inherited feline, likes to pee on bathmats and doormats.
Arwen is quite vocal with a leaning toward more whiney communications. She likes to kneed one’s appendages, is obsessed with eating (perhaps from her life beginnings living around gas stations), and purrs quite loudly.
Fin is a general terror and also obsessed with food.
These are the traits of my feline companions. I will not go into details for other beings more adept at reading and surfing the Internet than the former.
Inheriting a Siberian Husky named Blue gave me a taste of canine companionship that had been long absent from my life. I had a hiking partner and a friend with whom to sing and howl. His sudden passing two months ago left a lump in my throat and a void in my heart. When I found a blue heeler wandering along the highway near our home, I thought that the universe had decided a canine should be a part of my life. It was not to be in that instance, however. I was not meant to be “mom” but rather a conduit for helping that particular being to find a better home. At least, this was how I reassured my aching heart in the days that followed my almost adoption.
My partner has informed me that I do not “live by halves.” I move through this life at full aortal tilt, my heart wide open to the world. It is not always an easy way to operate. When I feel things, I feel them deeply in a very raw and unfiltered fashion.
My rational mind is there, constantly explaining the reasons why my heart’s desires may be whimsical and capricious. My partner is there, offering his own rationale for patience and acceptance.
But I am ruled by heart. I am all heart, in fact.
And so, the canine clock continues to tick.
Can you hear it?