How stories find their way

My husband and I ran away for 36 hours in the desert this week.

It was a last-minute, impromptu thing. Much-needed. No kids. Work in the sun. Actually talk to each other.

I found a lot during those 36 hours that I didn’t realize I was looking for. I found my favorite new mezcal cocktail that brought back wonderful memories of our time in Mexico a few months ago. I found this podcast that I obsessively consumed, nodding in agreement with every nugget of wisdom and making mental notes along the way. I found my husband all over again.

And one night, I found Fozzie.

There was another young couple staying at the same hotel as us from Brooklyn and in the later evening hours of our only night there, we ended up sitting around the fire pit together, taking in the desert stars and a couple of cold cocktails. We started chatting about life in New York and California and other places in between. We compared notes on having kids and not having them. About jobs and vacations and Palm Springs favorites. And then conversation, inevitably, turned to our dogs. Theirs, Fozzie, was nestled between their chairs. I had noticed it earlier in the day by the pool, wondering how she was braving the desert heat. Marveling at her three-legged strut and her scruffy, heart-warming eyes buried beneath a thick fringe of grey hair.  

They told us the story of how they had recently (very recently) adopted her from Iran. How they volunteer with an animal shelter in New York that works with a lot of rescues in international countries where dogs are not seen as companions, pets, and family members as they are here; there they are typically treated like wild street animals and left to fend for themselves. They didn’t know for certain, but guessed that Fozzie lost her leg in an accident of some sort. Possibly a bad fall from a moving car or a building. Left to fend for herself until a local rescue found an American tourist who was willing to fly her to another New York shelter where this young couple signed on to adopt her, three legs and all, and bring her home to their 600 sq. ft. apartment in Brooklyn where they already have a ten-year-old dog (a somewhat grumpy one at that) and two full-time jobs and New York sized schedules.

I listened to them share their story. How they foster dogs all the time and got the call about taking in Fozzie on very short notice. How it took a matter of minutes before they said yes. How they were leaving for their California vacation only four days later and had to fly across the country with this new rescue sitting between them on the plane, deciding to name her Fozzie after a Muppet for obvious reasons.

This is a story, I thought to myself sitting across from them around this firepit in the desert on a hot August night.

These people and their three-legged dog and the rescues in places like Iran and the tourists who are willing to go there and transport home an abandoned animal just to give it a chance at a better life.

This is a story.

This is something I want to write about. Something I want to share. Something that I will remember next August and the August after that and every time I go back to that place for 36 hours of rest and relaxation. A story that inspired me to sit down on a Saturday afternoon and write and think about how to describe this dog and that conversation and those stars and do it all justice.

A story I needed to find.

Sometimes creativity is a beast. You have to sit down day after day and hour after hour and will it to come. I have been doing that a lot lately. I keep telling myself that a writer has to write. Even on days they don’t want to. Even on days when there is nothing to say. Even on days when you are stumbling over the words and want to mindlessly scroll instead of trying anymore. You have to sit down and work at it. And I have been doing that. Just writing. Every day. Some of it good. Some of it mundane. But writing, nonetheless. And what happened is that the stories started finding me. Appearing out of nowhere. In a poignant thing that my six year old said or a funny anecdote from an otherwise boring day. Or from a casual conversation underneath a bed of stars on a hot August night in the desert. Featuring a three-legged dog named after a Muppet and some really good mezcal. 

For the trees

Dog walking at crossroads