Earlier this year we introduced Her Royal Highness to water. Being that at least part of her noble ancestry can be traced to Labrador, she deemed that this introduction most pleasing (almost as pleasing as pillows, which she will tell you, remain at levels well beneath her station). Therefore, when we received an invitation to a friend’s house at a nearby lake she sent her acceptance post-haste.
Being the highly trained servants we are, we prepared her luggage, which included a bag filled with assorted balls designed to be retrieved from lakes or oceans. When we arrived at our destination, she eagerly inspected the property. She sniffed. It would do.
While the front yard is relatively flat, like many other houses on this particular lake, the house sits well above the water’s edge, the ground in the back, with its steep decline more cliff than yard. The land further dropped away under the water. Without a beach or even shallows, to speak of the owners expressed their concerns about playing games such as fetch from the home’s pier. “She won’t be able to get out on her own,” and “you will have to pull her out.”
Undeterred by troublesome things like risk, or topography, Her Royal Highness made her way to the bottom of the hill where she waited for we servants to attend her. Splash. Her Royal Highness leapt into the water and began paddling. She turned and looked at those of us standing on the platform. She swam. Then she was gone.
I scanned the area, spotting her moments later on the rocks at the lake’s edge. The only problem was the rocks weren’t anywhere near the access platform. Her Royal Highness pressed on. I watched, more than a little concerned, as she scaled the hill. Her claws digging into the mud. I wondered as she somehow fit her body between the dirt and a tree, giving herself more leverage. She reached the platform, but unfortunately, its wooden planks were still well above her head. The ground should have been too steep for her to use as an effective launch pad, but launch she did.
I’d gone to the platform intending to haul her up as our friends suggested. I hadn’t needed to. The concerns of man (or woman) had not registered in her ears. She crawled up on the platform. Dropping the ball, she wagged her tail and ran back toward the water leaving muddy paw prints in her path. “Yeah, I don’t think this is a good idea,” I told her as I picked up the ball. I tried to put it away. After that athletic displayed, she’d earned a rest.
Splash. Once again she was in the water.
Over and over she repeated the process. Each time, I thought for sure she’d had enough and each time she proved me wrong. Soon she was finding another way to launch herself. Instead of scaling the hill, she found another rock at the bottom, positioned close to another edge of the pier and would jump from there. Sometimes she would miss. Sometimes she fell down. But she never stopped trying. There is no place for the word ‘can’t’ in Her Royal Highness’ kingdom.
“The man who begins to say it can’t be done is often interrupted by somebody else doing it.” – quote generally attributed to Confucius, George Bernard Shaw, or Elbert Hubbard
They say that people eventually resemble their pets, and with regards to Her Royal Highness, I find it no insult. As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve all but written the words End of Book Two in my current draft in process. I’ve written before about how writing a novel is much like running a marathon and how impossible reaching the finish line can feel when you are at the base of a particularly big hill (or at a lull in the story’s progress). Today, I’ve written over 70,000 words (that’s equivalent to 280 book pages for my non-writer readers). And that’s just this last book. I’ve written approximately half a million words now when you look at all my publications.
Somedays the words came easily, but not every day. Somedays I had to jump from questionable surfaces, get my hands dirty, and scale seemingly impossible walls. I did this because I have a goal in mind and the confidence and determination to see it through. I am the only thing that can stop me. All that suggests otherwise is simply noise.