This was a challenging challenge, or at least more so than previous challenges (and no, I am not trying to set the record for the greatest number of times one can use the word “challenge.” in a sentence).
The challenge for me is that the word companionable (sorry, this is going to get a little technical) is an adjective, but in most of the photos here it has really meant something more in the nature of companionship or a companion. There is nothing at all wrong with that; I am not a word cop and I have stretched the meaning of more than a few challenges. However, as I contemplated “companionable” I realized it really is a word quite different from companionship or companion. This probably relates to companionable being an adjective, while companionship and companion are both nouns. Very quickly for people who are not too familiar with English, adjectives described nouns. Nouns are things or places or people (there is no requirement that they actually exist so, for example, a hobbit is a perfectly fine noun). Companionable’s synonyms give away its nature and include friendly, sociable, providing pleasant company and similar words and phrases along these lines. To complicate matters, some adjectives can also be nouns. A recent example of such a word occurred in the “Photo Challenge” world when the Challenge was “Orange.” (The color itself is a noun as is the fruit, but when orange is used to modify a noun, such as an orange scarf, it is an adjective.
Of course companionable is related to the word companion, which is a noun synonymous with a friend or buddy or mate or, more recently, a person with whom the person mentioning the companion is in a committed, but unmarried, relationship. One would hope that all of your friends or mates are at least somewhat companionable or why have them as your companions but this is not necessarily the case (e.g., “companions in crime” are not always that friendly with each other). Equally problematic, companion, at least in some cases, has the ring of an employee/employer relationship (i.e., a domestic companion). Companion is also one of those innocent words that when said with the lift of an eyebrow or a subtle change in inflection can imply an economic relationship of a much different spin, including, if one is either clumsy or willfully malicious and an economic relationship with sexual overtones, undertones and possibly overtures and who knows what else (i.e., “companion” [for the night]). Companion has one other meaning that is in wide use and was heavily reflected in the photos; it describes the relationship between a human and one or more animals (typically dogs or cats in the U.S.).
Another way companionable was used was either directly or indirectly as though it had a meaning akin to the noun companionship. Companionship dances in the world of relationships. Between humans, the word companionship would not typically be used to describe an intimate relationship so close as love although companionship certainly may be a part of love. Friendship or its foreign cousin camaraderie are the more common synonyms of companionship. However, companionship, when used to describe the relationship between a human and a treasured pet often describes a bond that is as emotionally as intense as love.
My dilemma was what are we talking about here – companionable, companion, or companionship? Companionable, the challenge word itself, was as far as I could tell pretty underrepresented in the challenge so it is what I finally decided to go for. I want to stress here that what I wrote above is a way to perhaps humorously while thoughtfully organize my ideas about photo I am going to submit (strange guy, huh:). It has nothing to do with anyone else. As I noted, I am not the word police and neither am I the challenge police (especially because if there were such an organization, I would already be in jail).
The photo I finally decided on was of our dog Cronkite and a squirrel. The squirrel had somehow gotten on to the narrow ledge of a bay window where Cronkite likes to look out to observe and occasionally bark at one of the numerous rabbits, chipmunks and squirrels that tease him and his “sister” Cookie every day.
A little background, Cronkite is not a huge dog or even really a big one. He is a smallish quite solidly built dog that has a long barrel chest, which rests on shortish legs. He is a mutt, but certainly amongst his genes he shares with either Bassett hounds or beagles because he is the owner of a howl that makes him the envy of most of the neighborhood dogs.
When Cronkite heard the squirrel land on the window, he jumped up on the bay window seat where I expected him to give at least one good howl to show the squirrel who was boss. To my great surprise, he didn’t. Perhaps he was just surprised because he was less than an inch away from this quite youthful looking squirrel and the squirrel remarkably did not appear to care that he was a window pane’s thickness away from something easily 40 times his size. The squirrel slowly moved along the window as did Cronkite. I sat there thinking this is really cute and as importantly (to me), are any of my cameras close? I quickly realized none of them were within quick and easy reach and if I moved much I’d probably just spook both animals. They both kept slowly moving along the window and it seemed at least temporarily rather like they were having a companionable little stroll with each other. I finally remembered that I had been charging my iPhone and it was next to me. I grabbed it and got off two shots before a little rumble from Cronkite followed by a more substantial booming howl alerted the squirrel that, for Cronkite at least, the companionable moment in a squirrel-dog relationship had ended. The squirrel jumped off of the window ledge and Cronkite put his head on his paws as if to contemplate this most unusual encounter.
I have read that I should not write anything to accompany my photos and that doing so makes my site less attractive. There is no need to read this, but if you have done so, I hope you enjoyed it. I probably should have put this at the top of my post, but I didn’t because I really wanted to thank you for making the effort to get all of the way through what I have written or at the very least scrolling down here.