The door is shut. The space heater is against it. I’m on the floor, on my yoga pad, doing crunches followed by a series of exercises I learned in physical therapy to help prepare me for hip replacement. There’s a big balance ball in front of me. I have ridden the Sainted Air-Dyne for 8 miles through the early spring landscape of a high pass in the Dolomites as Youtube has graced me with some songs I like and some songs that the band must be paying them to play.
I think the curs are outside (if that’s where they want to be), then I hear a bang against the door. When the door doesn’t open right away, there is a second bang, then a third, a resolute push followed by a large black snout on a long white nose. A big white head juts into the room. The blue eyes wear a wild and panicked expression.
I push the space heater against the door and get back to it. The rumor is that everything is going to go better for me if I have done this up to the 11th hour. A little time passes. There’s another bang at the door. This time it’s a black snout followed by grizzled black nose. It pushes its way into the room and looks around. I think they’ve conferred in the living room and decided I’m in desperate trouble and need their help.
“I’m OK, Dusty. I’m just doing my physical therapy.”
“Without me?” is his telepathic message.
“There just isn’t room in here, buddy.”
He backs away. I leave the door ajar. I rotate and I look through the eight inches of the opened doorway and there they are, lined up in the living room, watching me with concern. I start to laugh. They are so funny. What would they do if I WERE hurt? If I HAD fallen and couldn’t get up? Dusty has been trained to help me up if I fall, but Bear?
I’m about to learn…
Bear gets up from the living room floor and comes into the room where I’m sitting on my yoga mat, laughing. She sniffs all around and decides I’m OK, but there’s still the puzzling problem of my being on the floor. Well, if I’m on the floor, I must need to be protected. She stands over me and leans against me.
“There, Martha. Now you’re safe from freezing, bears, and wolves.”
“Thank you, Bear, but I can’t get up with you on top of me.”