All morning long and all afternoon it rained and rained at the healing house. I call it the healing house because of its magical ability to slow down time. And when I’m here I do feel better, as do most people who walk through these gates. It is an unassuming place. You wouldn’t know it from the street, but miracles happen here. We wander the gardens and the pond. We drink the wine. We sing the songs and hold on to one another. And it doesn’t take long. A day. A weekend. The dogs appreciate my company while their humans are away and they manage quite ably the people who frequent this place. The neighbors bring by fresh tomatoes and pumpkin, a delivery of propane or wood. Sweet treats and baked goods during the holidays. But the two ridgebacks, so thoroughly habituated to the comings and goings of others on these two acres, are more like shop dogs than house dogs. Two of my humans stopped by. They brought more wine to this place with all the wine. Katy showed me her reasonably priced slow cooker and prepared the comfort food while we read my new story. Matt drank two Dos Equis and made eyes at his wife when she wasn’t looking. Outside, the rain was sheeting sideways. We fed the beasts their supper and quieted them with treats. We ate the comfort food and passed through to the comfort room where the giant creatures made a carpet. We warmed our feet on them and draped ourselves unapologetically across the various furnishings. We covered all the topics and no one seemed to notice as we sank into a sort of slackened catatonia. The more cogent arguments on religion and slavery gave way to ones more lurid, requiring no energy of edit or verbal servitude. We listened to the little horses snore and chase lions in their sleep. We commented on their noxious odors. Outside the modest bungalow the torrential rains are letting up. Matt and I find the red flashlight and venture out into the night. The ferocious hunters follow us for protection. Zeka stops suddenly and looks intently in the direction of the hedges. Calculating. His confident gaze is fixed, but the noise isn’t close enough to warrant any movement on his part. A deer maybe? Groundhog? Something’s up, but I dare not second-guess him. I scan his face for clues. He exhales sharply and yawns. The danger has passed…for the moment. The rain has stopped and my bare feet are now coated in grass clippings. I look around at the varnished landscape. It is a heavenly place. There is nothing like it. Nothing. The wind chimes waltz slowly in the breeze. I cannot imagine why anyone would need to travel to some other paradise. Matt and I dig through the shed and locate the electrical fan to lessen the loud silence of morning. We walk back to the house and I show them how to find their way in the dark. They brush their teeth and tuck themselves into the middle room with the periwinkle walls and the impressive magazine collection. I pour another glass of wine and wander outside to the hot tub to ease my aching back. My throat needs soothing too. I cannot recall a time when I laughed as much. Twelve solid hours of howling and hollering. Baton passed to the neighborhood cats… now caterwauling near the bamboo hedge. At this time of year? Zeka bolts up the hill past the frozen fig trees. Punda can’t be bothered. She rolls her eyes at her litter mate and peeks her head through the fog of the hot tub. She nudges my shoulder and whimpers softly for the love. I look up at the purple sky, which for all the world appears now to be calibrating for this perfect moment. The yellow moon is showing off and the stars are angling.