I've been wanting, planning, thinking about getting back to my walking regime which I had in Minneapolis, and fell out of it for way too long. Not that I wasn't physically active all these years, but not as aerobically as I need at 58. So Muddy and I began our new venture together-walking.
Not only is it good for my body, this is helping my soul. As I walked the road, people waved, I saw backyard glimpses of houses I'd only seen driving by in car. I noticed how many of those trees we'd been flying by were apples, birthing their fruits in the culverts. I made mental notes to come back. I found hawk feathers and wild turkey ones too. I passed some horses and got to know the road better so maybe I could take Boone that way in time. And we walked down to one of the many bays, and Muddy got to see the next best thing to the ocean.
Last night, Huck came to me. His face was right up close to my vision in the dream, and he simply looked at me, deeply. I felt he was saying,
I'm okay, now you be okay too.
I can't say that was the catalyst that finally made me go for a walk, but I was happy he came to me like that. He is okay. He got to whatever place he is supposed to be.
A friend sent me one of the most beautiful and moving poems I've read in a long time. I am sharing it because it is so appropriate and I hope soothing to any of you who lost a dog, or loved one of any species. I found it evocative and it captured everything about this loss. Thank you for all the messages too. Huck's soul stunned a lot of people, I realize now, even those that had only met him a couple times, or through his eyes in a photograph. While Mud is a completely different dog, I can say this-he tries. He tries to sit still and let me hug him close like Huck did, he tries to not wipe out wine glasses with his tail, he tries to show moderate enthusiasm for Mondays, or any other day of the week but he can't contain his enthusiasm because he is Muddy. He is not Huck and we will not project that on him.
He is beautiful, athletic, goofy, carefree, happy to be alive Monday-Sunday, frisbee addicted...Muddy.
The House Dog's Grave
I've changed my ways a little; I cannot now
Run with you in the evenings along the shore,
Except in a kind of dream; and you, if you dream a moment,
You see me there.
So leave awhile the paw-marks on the front door
Where I used to scratch to go out or in,
And you'd soon open; leave on the kitchen floor
The marks of my drinking-pan.
I cannot lie by your fire as I used to do
On the warm stone,
Nor at the foot of your bed; no, all the night through
I lie alone.
But your kind thought has laid me less than six feet
Outside your window where firelight so often plays,
And where you sit to read--and I fear often grieving for me--
Every night your lamplight lies on my place.
You, man and woman, live so long, it is hard
To think of you ever dying
A little dog would get tired, living so long.
I hope that when you are lying
Under the ground like me your lives will appear
As good and joyful as mine.
No, dear, that's too much hope: you are not so well cared for
As I have been.
And never have known the passionate undivided
Fidelities that I knew.
Your minds are perhaps too active, too many-sided. . . .
But to me you were true.
You were never masters, but friends. I was your friend.
I loved you well, and was loved. Deep love endures
To the end and far past the end. If this is my end,
I am not lonely. I am not afraid. I am still yours.
Robinson Jeffers, 1941