If a writer falls in the forest, does anyone hear her dog making fun of her?

If Thoreau fell at Walden Pond, would he have found further inspiration or just assumed the mangled position and enjoyed the silence? I know he wrote about dogs, but I'm not sure he had one faithful companion in particular to call his own and accompany him on his many walks. If he did and had he fell, I bet HIS dog would have immediately gone into protector mode and barked and barked and run for some sort of help without a moment's complaint.

My dog? Not so much.

I couldn't sleep the other morning, and I've had a gnawing frustration about not being able to complete a particular writing/visualization exercise, so I took Sabrina, the 14-year-old crank of a beagle mix, and headed to the forest. Well, the woods.

My condo community is nestled in a little patch of nature and is very nice to be amidst. It's never far from civilization, though. In fact, you're always just a stone's throw from seeing a bit of house or deck from most directions. (Hey, Thoreau wasn't exactly in the wilderness himself, truth be told.) But there are trees and slopes, and a creek, and lots of little critters to ask about life. And now that bug season has subsided, I'm really good outside.

Anyway, I'm a firm believer in the manifestation and "write it down, make it happen" schools of thought, and the exercise I've been working on for well over a month now is this: "What would you like? Visualize your ideal situation one year from now. Know where you're going and take the straightest way there."

I can't count the hours I have stared at this. Every once in a while, I have started writing only to realize at some point into it, that I really don't want what I'm writing at all and return to the proverbial mocking blank page. I don't know what's thrown me off so, but I'm pretty sure it's the whole thing. "What would I like?" Sayyy whaaa? Having been a single mom for so long, that question hasn't even entered my mind, and to be honest, it still throws me for a bit of a loop.

Anyway again, I took the dog and my little notebook to nature in hopes of some transcendental inspiration. Half-way up the second hill, about 20 minutes into things, it was bound to happen. In my own defense, it is acorn-falling season, which makes it even harder to keep ones footing.

I landed on my shoulder. I think. It hurts today in a way that makes me think I may have to give up my shot-putting dreams. My arm and leg are pretty scraped up, so there was sliding, too, I guess.

But while on the ground holding my arm cursing the heavens through the pain, I looked over at Sabrina. She sat down and doggy-sighed and, had she had opposable thumbs, would have started filing her nails. We should be walking, after all, not sitting down. This is how the conversation went as I remember it:

"Seriously? I got my leash on for this? We haven't even been gone 20 minutes."

"Sabrina. I am in pain. Can you not see that or doggy-sense it or something?"

"Um, no, not really. Just get the hell up. You look ridiculous."

"Maybe something's broken and I need help."

"I've lived through two wars and numerous lost squeaky balls. I'm too old to get help."

"Fine. Let me try."

"Yea, you do that. I'll be over here. Sniffing things more interesting."

I'm writing this, so obviously I got up, admitted defeat, and walked home to clean up. Today, I'm still sore and still staring at a blank page. Although, I do have a temporary handle on what I really want: a dog who still gives a shit and, in the words of one of my favorites, grace, eventually. Besides that? A full page. Maybe tomorrow.