IS ANYONE LISTENING? — Marilyn Armstrong

I feel like I need to keep blogging on the off-chance that whatever I’m writing, someone is reading it and thinks a little differently because of what I wrote.

In the cave

The politics of the country are also getting painful. I can’t detach from them, but they give me a permanent headache. I wonder if this really IS the end of the country I’ve loved.

I don’t know whose country this is. I don’t understand the meanness, the hatred, the lack of kindness by those who are rich enough to really make a difference. Or, for that matter, how hard we tried to do the right things and seem to have failed on every possible level.


The weather is changing, my birds are dying — and regardless of whether or not our government believes it, it’s hard to not notice that many things about our climate have altered, with a lot more to come. It’s hard to be funny when everything seems so negative. Upbeat is a bumpy road.


Meanwhile, our littlest dog has a  lot of old dog problems. She, Gibbs, Garry, me, and this house are all suffering from aging. I’m also not convinced that trying to fix each problem is necessarily the right thing to do. Should Bonnie’s last days be full of surgery and pulled teeth? Is that how I would like to pass?

I don’t think she has a lot more time. I have been watching her decline as I have watched so many other pets. Do we want to put her through massive dental work — even if we could afford it — and eye surgery — which might or might not actually help? I have had many dogs move on from this world and every time we’ve tried to do something drastic to try and stop that clock, it has not only not improved the life of the pet we loved, but rather made their last months miserable and painful. We swore to each other to never do that again, but we always want to fix it. As if somehow, we can make time stop.

Maybe it’s more sane and kind to recognize that this bell is tolling for us.


So what’s the right thing to do? My current thought is that as long as Bonnie seems to be okay with life, that’s good.  I won’t put her through surgeries or procedures. She is 13, deaf, rather blind, and a wee bit into doggie dementia. Not deep into it. And despite all of this, she is quite spritely.

Meanwhile, do I have an obligation to keep on keeping on? To try to speak up about what I believe is right? To try to fight what I know is wrong? Does anyone care what I say? Is anyone listening? Do our voices matter?

The older I get, the more I realize no one is listening to their “elders” anymore — not counting the AARP crowd who are running for President. They appear to believe they will live forever.

The political reality that has gripped this country feels unreal. The only “real things” are solid. The house, Garry, the birds, and squirrels. Friends, family, and flowers are real. Everything else is … weird.

I’m going to write, so I might as well write here. What would I do with all the photographs no one will ever see unless I post them?

I also finally realized I am living in an American version of tyranny. I hardly know HOW to feel about it. How did this happen? I wonder how many people have felt like this for a long time? We became the Banana Republic, minus the bananas. What’s strangest of all — to me — is that it life is the same as ever. We have the same problems we’ve had for years. We hope for better days … or at least better days for our son and granddaughter. The young ones deserve a world they can live in.

What a peculiar and dangerous world we are leaving to our children and grandchildren. I hope we get to fix at least some of it before it goes totally out of control. That the one thing we most need to do. Politics be damned, we need to make our world a safe and healthy place to live.

Or, as the Wicked Witch of the West (or is it East?) say: “WHAT A WORLD. WHAT A WORLD.”



Categories: Animals, birds, Blackstone Valley, Blogging, Earth, Ecology, Marilyn Armstrong, Nature, Photography

Tags: , , , , , , ,

27 replies

  1. Our part of the world has gone a bit downhill just recently too. It’s like everyone everywhere’s gone mad.

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  2. Poor Bonnie and poor you and Garry. It’s so hard seeing your pet fading away but I agree with you and the others that surgery would probably not change things in a good way for her. Better let her enjoy the time she has. Of course, we always want to fix things for them but sometimes I think it is more for us than for them really.
    Naomi and I have been talking a bit about respect and how we don’t feel that people of our age get a lot of it. It’s equally hard to respect our leaders.
    I think what you write does make a difference though. Maybe someone will pay attention and it always helps to know that we are not alone in thinking the world has gone mad.

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    • I hope so. I’d hate to think it was all a bunch of blather.

      I think in our society, older people have never been much respected. I think people were more polite, but respect to elders? China and Japan maybe?

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  3. Marilyn,
    Keep writing. I don’t read everything you write. Far from it. But, I read several posts a week. Maybe more.
    I tend to block out politics. Most of the time. It only Saddens me more than I already him. Or ANGERS me and i Am really trying not to get angry.
    Prayers for you dog. Pets are family and it’s hard when they get old.
    You are right:: People don’t listen to their elders. Respect has gone out the window.
    Feel better soon.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and Garry.
    Love And Hugs, Sarah

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    • I don’t read nearly as much as I should. I real selectively these days so I have time left over for life. Politics pisses me off too … but I am so worried — ESPECIALLY about the environment, I feel like I need to remind people that it’s our world to save no matter who is supposed to be “our leader.”

      Yeah, he makes me really mad and he makes Garry furious. I try to ignore the nonsense and pay attention to the few things that really matter to us: medical care and pharmacy prices, having all OUR money given to the people who need it least — and what we are doing to our home planet. I really wonder if those greedy fools things that what they are doing isn’t going to affect them because they are so rich.

      It will hurt everyone, rich and poor alike, but the poor first. They’ll get theirs too. Just a little later.

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  4. I, personally, get a lot from your writing Marilyn and I think you would be surprised at how many other people you touch, enlighten and inspire with your writing.
    Your photos are delightful and another real inspiration.
    Leslie xoxo

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  5. I look over the fence, occasionally, and am cheered by the fact that while the portion of the world I occupy seems to go on as normal, others like you notice the drumbeat of destruction and devolution playing on and on. I’m not crazy if others are noticing, too. Hang in there, Marilyn, and keep on writing your truth.

    Others are listening, even if we, too, feel powerless to stop the inevitable slide into what appears to be the abyss. One hopes we’ll come through the other side, reborn, with energy to fight anew for decency and kindness in this world.

    As for your pup… good-byes are always hard, but so much harder, I think, when we forget the inevitability of aging. “To everything, there is a season…” Make sure the pup is not suffering, and let him go when it’s time. Please don’t prolong the inevitable, as age and infirmity come to us all in time.

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    • We watch her carefully. As long as she seems happy, that’s good. We promised we would not try to extend their lives beyond what they can enjoy, but it is very hard, even when you’ve been here before and probably will be again and not that far down the road.

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  6. Of course you ‘must’ go on writing. And I often despair of seing so few comments to your astute posts. But not everybody loves writing and ‘being part of the action’ as much as me and I wouldn’t blame anybody for quietly just read you. But you should KNOW that you ARE very important to your readers and your readers should think of thanking you from time to time, to encourage you, to send you a hug or a pat on the shoulder (as per your likings!)…. You ARE very important to many, many of us and I always try to make enough time to read you, ponder your posts and thoughts, and possibly comment.
    As for your dogs, I wanted to ask you this week but then I read you were ill and I thought that this was the last thing I should ask NOW. Our last dog was allowed to live as long as we felt that her life was worth living for HER, then, when she lost her sight, her sense of taste, when her legs started to give way at any moment and she couldn’t hold her water anymore, when she only slept and had to be led to her food by her face…. we knew it was time. She didn’t seem to suffer any pains, she just sort of became less of herself like a candle at the end of it’s being – but we cried buckets all the same. I most certainly wouldn’t consider any of the a.m. surgery, and I would go as far as wishing that if I were in that condition, that everybody understood that I’d not want to go on endlessly but that I’m allowed to die in peace and integrity. Good luck for these terribly difficult decisions. And speedy recovery all round!

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    • And that’s what happening to Bonnie. She still gets up and romps a bit and she can usually find her food, though sometimes I have to wake her up to remind her. And her deafness if difficult because I can’t call her in from outside. But she seems happy enough, despite all the problems. As long as she is enjoying life, we are okay with her too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Way to go! You’ll know when her time has come. Enjoy the remaining days (weeks?) together and be prepare for the awful void afer she’s gone….. And get well again!

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  7. Keep posting, Marilyn; we’re reading and commenting!

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  8. I enjoy this blog daily and have for five years. Yes, someone is listening.

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  9. I hope you realize that there’s one (ME) who is listening intently. Who is cheered up and made glad by what you WRITE. I’m heartened to go on another day by your beautiful photos. Do I comment as often as I ought? No. But you make a big difference in my life. Remember that. I know the world is going to hell, but as you point out, the problems we face are the same. And we (older persons in Tyranny U.S.A.) still have hope. Not a lot, granted, but as long as there’s some left, the evil doers can’t win. I’m sorry about Bonnie. I just read a post by another blogger who lost her elderly doggie and I admit to feeling heart sick and I miss Hunydog very much today. The boys do their best, but they aren’t her. I hope you write and write and write, as long as you can. If nothing else remember you are a political compass for me. Sane and sensible wins over blather any day. Thank YOU! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Love the photos. Poor dog. I would make sure he is comfortable. I would not spend the money and put her (and you) through the trauma of surgery when it is obvious the end is near. We are living in the age of a tyrant. I fear if he loses the 2020 election that he will refuse to leave the White House. And then a gun war will begin. 🥺😩

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  11. Still reading, still writing too, and aging with the best of them I try not to look at 60 as it recedes in the distance. Love your bird and flower pictures too.

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  12. Some listen, Marilyn. And we can’t know who or how much, but it might matter.
    Where Bonnie, and eventually Ani, are concerned, I just think back to what my late partner went through to try to extend his life. Still in his forties when he was diagnosed with cancer, so it wasn’t a natural passing from old age that he was facing. He took all the chances offered to keep himself alive for us… and it gave him a few extra years but put him through utter hell. I wouldn’t do that to a dog. Nor, I think, given that I am well past sixty, would I do it to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Our 14 year old dog is having trouble walking, has cataracts, and seems to be dealing with her own case of doggie dementia. Our approach, like yours, is not to take any heroic actions or jump through hoops to extend her life once it becomes evident that she’s no longer the dog she once was.

    As to our country, it is no longer the country it once was, and it breaks my heart that it has fallen so quickly.

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  14. I’ve decided to take my attention off all this political stuff (and other such things). It just drags me down and distracts me from what’s really important …

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  15. Such a hard decision with pets. You want to at least try, but as you said– why disrupt their ability to find in where they’re at? It’s rough. I love the pictures. I’m still here, reading. 🙂

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  16. Keep on writing Marilyn. We are listening.
    Lovely pictures, by the way. 👍

    Liked by 1 person

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