Wednesday, March 23, 2011


“Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak whispers the o'er-fraught heart, and bids it break.” (William Shakespeare)

They say a Dog is a Dog is a Dog; I'm not sure I agree. Our Nate was one Dog who left his mark, both figuratively and literally, wherever he went. He left us, and this life, yesterday morning, on his own, final journey.

I walk a ways with him, as he goes...just a short way, only until I know he is on his true path...

And I envision the following:

Nate passes over the Bridge, into the welcoming arms of Katrina and her Dog, Gussy and Heidi's Dog, Roscoe. I see Nate waver, at the entrance to the Bridge, his nose in the Air. He looks back...but the extraordinary essences and Katrina's light, happy voice propel him forward, hesitantly at first...Where is the pain? he thinks in wonderment...and then...he starts a slow lope.

The Bridge is long, rising in the middle. There is a small, burbling River, sparkling and winking, in the warm Sunlight, rushing along beneath it. 

Many hesitate when they reach the top of the rise on the Bridge. Thoughts of the life just completed race through the mind, sadness and loneliness can take hold. And there is no going back, once the rise is reached.

But Katrina, her menagerie behind her, kneels down, her arms wide, her hands out, fingers fluttering, saying...Come on, Natey, it's all okay, Buddy...

Nate hears his nickname, and as his face breaks into his trademark wide grin,  the last of his wariness disappears. He runs...his own speeding-bullet racing run...over the top of the Bridge, bowling Katrina over in his enthusiasm and joy. He greets Gussie, re-membering him from Before...

Roscoe marches over; his strong personality matches Nate's and the two greet each other, dancing around and around, marking their spots. Time much time! accept each other more fully.

Katrina leads the welcoming committee to The Field, where other beloved Pets discover their bodies, their limbs, after a long period of painful constriction. Nate races, circling the Field, his sleek, black body a thing of beauty and grace...

A fanciful vision, you might say. But it comforts me.

I met Nate at the same time I met Graham. He was very young at the time, only a year old. I had two dogs then; Gussy and Lucky. Gussy, a very large Lab/Newfoundland cross, was twelve years old and Lucky only a few months.

Gussy, as old and sick as he was, wasted no time in putting Nate in his place when he visited. It was his right, he felt, to keep these two pups on the straight and narrow.

But Gussy had very little time left on this Earth, as it developed. Lucky transferred his allegiance onto Nate...after the death of Gussy, Nate took on what he considered his role...the protection of Lucky.

Throughout his life, Nate never forgot his role, to the detriment of any other Dog who attempted to make friends with Lucky. Especially little white Dogs.

A neighbour had a friend who owned a small, white Dog. This Dog frightened Lucky constantly, when he was still a Puppy. And small, white Dogs, in Lucky's brain, became a huge threat. 

It is comical that Lucky is so fearful of these very small animals; but Nate, in his protective mode, was not funny. Through the whole duration of his life we were not able to change his mindset.

Both Dogs are big, with Lucky even bigger than Nate. Fortunately, we soon clicked onto Nate's decision to take out all small white Dogs and made sure he was never in the same vicinity. We averted what could have been a disaster.

In my mind Nate's sleek, black coat with white touches at his toes and chest, made him look as if he continually wore a tuxedo. 

And he was a gentleman...he would pause before entering, looking up, meeting my eyes, to be invited indoors. He would give his special look, over his shoulder, to say thank you when he was given food or water.

Oh, but the two of them were terrors when they were young! There was no stopping them! To one who was accustomed to only one very aged Dog, admittedly large, but arthritic-ally slow...I remained in shock at the amount of hair, dirt and dust Lucky and Nate brought into the house.

And, as they grew older, so did my relationship with Graham and Scott. We all grew into our respective roles, just as Lucky and Nate did.

Lucky had his Girl, in my granddaughter Brianna, and Nate had his Boy, in my stepson Scott. They each respected the others right to be in their own Person's presence.

Lucky is neurotic; Brianna did a tremendous job in training him. To this day, if Brianna's name is mentioned, Lucky automatically sits.

Even though Brianna was busy with Lucky when she stayed with us, Nate had a special spot in her heart. He would allow her to cuddle and relax with him, whereas Lucky squirmed, alert all the while.

Brianna has always maintained that Nate gave the very best kisses. He had a way of gently extending his tongue and, in the slightest, softest way possible, would touch the recipient's cheek...

So many lovely memories pass through my mind...Nate sneaking into Scott's room and onto the bed, as soon as the lights were off and Lucky was safely ensconced in his own bed. Nate, deciding it was his right, as a Puppy, to chase the Cows in the next field, bringing the police to our home with a warning. Nate, throwing his muddy,slobbery ball onto someone's dressy, white lap, and then chasing his favourite toy, long and hard, over and over...

Nate was bigger than Lucky when they met, but it was not long before Lucky became much taller than Nate. His legs were long...he looked, and still does, like a Deer when he ran.

Nate, when young, looked like a black, shiny torpedo, as he raced around a Field or the Garden. He would use his whole weight, as he body-checked Lucky, who weighed far less than Nate. And so, Lucky knew, early in his life, that he would have to be faster than Nate.

It was truly a thing of beauty to watch these two young and very healthy Dogs do their racing dance, faster and faster, circling the backyard.

As Nate grew older and more arthritic, he would incite Lucky, with very, short mincing steps, into racing...up and down the deck and around the property on the other side...and then he would look at me, with a wide grin, as if to say...see, I can still get him going...

We missed him dreadfully this morning, as Lucky and I went for our usual walk. Nate was our big, black, grounding felt as if his energy kept us safe. 

We stared at each other, Lucky and I, neither having the heart to walk anywhere, when Lucky's ears perked, suddenly. He looked up, and around, stood up, wagging his tail.

We both felt Nate's strong energy. My eyes followed Lucky's and I knew Nate was racing through all the places on our property he had not had the ability to access when he was alive.

I could...almost...see him.

We will find our way, Lucky and Graham and I, just as Nate has found his. There will be a force missing, as we go through the rhythm of our daily lives.

Nate has left us with good memories, strong recollections. I will miss running my hands over his sleek body, I will miss his body leaning against mine, as he begged for Reiki. I will miss his soft, gentle kisses, given in thanks.

I will miss him.

Sleep tight and good night, our  dear sweet Natey...

Not the least hard thing to bear when they go from us, these quiet friends, is that they carry away with them so many years of our own lives." (John Galsworthy)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Freshening Wind

It doesn't seem as if Winter will ever release his hold. The weather has been cold, with gale force Winds. The Wind dries the Snow left on the ground, only to bring in another Storm with Snow to replace what has melted and dried.

Yesterday, nevertheless!...there were hints of Spring borne on the Wind, which came from the South. I imagined the sweet soul-inspiring scents of Daffodils, Narcissus and Crocus blooming on the Island swirling around and into my very core.

It lifted my spirits, those imagined scents.

I have allowed myself to drift into a small funk. Many things contribute to it...homesickness for my family, the weather, being house-bound because of the incessant Ice and Snow. An unfair betrayal which has occurred didn't help either. Upcoming medical procedures, none of which are pleasant, are in the back of my mind, as well.

And then there is the Earthquake and Tsunami crisis in Japan...

It was time to move on. Wind, blowing so strongly, with gusts which almost lifted me off my feet, propelled me back into my dusty, hair-ball filled house.

I felt a surge of energy, something sadly lacking over the last while. I pulled out the vacuum cleaner, the dust cloths, the myriad items required to do a thorough Spring cleaning.

I moved furniture, changing their usual place. I pulled items out of closets, intent on finding either designated spots for them or donating to the Salvation Army.

The Dogs slept, hardly disturbed at all by the chaotic activities. Winter has been difficult on our aged Dogs...Nate has lost an incredible amount of weight, after his last illness. Lucky's ears bother him in extreme cold and Wind. I was happy to see them dreaming the rest of the Winter away...

I worked hard, using muscles whimpering for hard exercise. Walking outside right now is dangerous...there is hidden Ice everywhere. Yogic stretches done inside don't have the same power, for me, as a fast walk along the Animal paths on the Land does, or even a meander around and about with camera in hand.

As I worked, I decided I would concentrate fully on the task at hand, instead of re-thinking events in the past.

How serene staying in the complete present was! Right then, right now...I was and am happy.

I remember, as well, to dream forward, to dream of a contented future. I remember how grateful I am to have the beautiful family I have, all of them doing very well. I remember how amazing it is that all my needs are met, on a daily basis.

How awe-inspiring it is when I have a thought or a need to have my wish or dream filled almost instantly!

Synchronicity happens often, startling me sometimes. It will only be a matter of a small amount of time before I will be in a place closer to the family...I feel the reassurance well up from deep inside.

I remember to send prayers and Reiki blessings to the country of Japan, so beleaguered by Mother Nature right now. I allow sadness which drifts across the Ocean to envelop me for a moment, wanting so badly to hold and give surcease from pain and grief to all...

In the wake of all this cleaning and dreaming of an uncomplicated and happy future, I find I feel well today. I have decided to have a spa day...I am going for a facial and a haircut. I have done my nails, sorely in need of help. I toenails, an unbelievably difficult thing when pain from arthritis in malformed toes hampers me. And tomorrow, I have an appointment for massage will put me back into balance, as painful as it is.

All is not perfect, whatever perfect is...I don't know that it can ever be, with factors beyond my control popping up on a continuous basis. But it is pretty damn near.

A kick in the proverbial butt works wonders, when one is sitting a little too long on the pity pot...

Friday, March 04, 2011

A Weekend of Awakenings

Both of us were consumed with excitement as we drove to the Island from our  home in the Cariboo. Two babies were waiting to meet us, two very small girl babies. And there were all the rest of the family, as well...we hadn't seen any of them since before Christmas.

Far too long...

Our first stop, after leaving the Island ferry, was the hospital. It was so great to see Kimeesha and Scott, both wearing wide, proud grins. The babies were in the ICU neonatal unit, attached to feeding tubes, in order to bring their weight up.

Oh! How lovely the two of them were, curled up together in the with a yellow hat and one with a pink.

They looked completely identical to me, both with black hair delicately framing tiny shell-like ears. How feather light they each were in my arms! It was such a blessing to wrap my arms around each one of them. I was privy to that wonderful newborn baby scent, as I held them close.

We battled a Snow Storm the next morning on our way to see the of those sudden Coastal Storms that can blanket the Island with a foot or two of Snow in a matter of hours. We were caught up in a traffic jam, only just escaping the closure of the highway by taking an alternate route, which was also closed soon after we detoured.

It was one of those days where I was extremely grateful that we both knew the area well enough to take that detour, otherwise we may not have spent as much time as we did with the babies.

Kimeesha was sent home from hospital before the babies were ready to leave. It was difficult for her to leave the twins behind; she goes in each day to feed and bathe and love...

And then we travelled to Port Alberni, where the rest of our family lives. We spent a whole day with Brianna, who caught us up on her life...her soccer, school, and her friends. And we had an evening spent baby sitting Graydon...he managed to get his Granda to read four books before bedtime, rather than just the usual one.

We had the most amazing birthday party!  My dear family gave me a truly creative gift. There were little notes decorating each individually wrapped present, all held in a dark brown wicker basket that contained so much love. 

And then, my daughter Heidi was sent off to have lunch and a pedicure, while my son-in-law and his brother cooked all of us a scrumptious barbecued Roast of Beef, with all the trimmings, as a surprise for Heidi. 

It was a day filled with good energy and much laughter. It was a day to remember, that day when I turned the corner to sixty and my daughter embraced her fortieth decade.

I have to say the beginning of a new decade feels full of anticipation for me. In my quieter moments, I wonder what the next ten years will hold...

I know with each passing day I awaken a little more.

The quote on my family's birthday card that was given to me states..."I'll do my dreaming with my eyes wide open, and I'll do my looking back with my eyes closed."...Clay Walker

It's a perfect reminder for me! Let me tell you, the quote quite made me gulp.

It really is time to dream forwards...

The twins will be home with Scott and Kimeesha on Saturday. I know they have already changed, from the delicate preemie newborns I had the greatest of privileges to meet.

Just as Graydon and Brianna change, from one visit to another, so shall these two.

It is the way of things. Heh.

It truly was a weekend of many awakenings...