On this date, 2009, I was gripped in fear. Our beloved Labbie, Meatpie, was not feeling well. She didn't appear sick, but something was going on that I was resisting. No, I said. This is not happening. She kept saying to me, in my language, I am leaving. You will be okay. It is Time.
We took the dogs to the lake to swim and play. Pie swam to her heart's content. She and Luna played rough, ran huge circles, collided. Wayne was recovering from a surgical procedure done on his throat. On Jan 2, early in the morning, Pie died. Well, her physical self did.
For me it was as though my heart had been ripped out of my chest. My friend and confidant, the one who read my mind, communicated with me telepathically, was gone. I was alone in a way that I never thought possible.
Meat Pie was not an easy dog. She was a rascal. There are many tales of her escapades. She was a typical Lab, in that she loved her food, any food. She never-ever growled at a child. She shared her food with her kitten. She was the puppy-tender at doggie-day-care. One day she escaped from the back yard, and brought me a tall, handsome dog-catcher, who came into my kitchen for tea and talk of the neighborhood... she was proud of herself. "She really likes boys, I mean, young men!"
Once, when I was determined that I was done with marriage, relationship, life-as-it-had-been, she and I went to investigate a tiny house way out in the hills. My idea was to move my studio, my coffee pot and myself to the top of a coastal mountain. Out of sight, out of my mind. The land owners were instantly enamoured with her, "We have a pond she will love!" The "tiny house" turned out to be a gutted travel trailer, into which my easel would never fit, let alone my coffee pot. Even if my son had built the deck he promised, we would not have fit into the minuscule place. Often my paintings are 4' X 4'... but I was tempted. The air was fresh, the pond... well, it was a pond and no houses or sign of men could be seen. Meat Pie and I got back into the Explorer and headed down the mountain, she riding shotgun, her nose out the window. We went over the first cattle guard, into the horse pasture, and the horses were in the road. I slowed, stopped. Three of them came up to the vehicle. One stood in front of the hood. One came to each window. The bay who came around to my window nuzzled me, sniffed around the cab. The other one stuck its head in Meat Pie's window. She emitted a sound I had never heard before, terror perhaps. In an instant, she was flattened on the floorboard, and she said in an intense telepathic voice, GET ME OUT OF HERE, NOW. It would have been rude to laugh at her, but that memory brings a grin every time.
Well. Losing her was losing an important element of my life. Often when I put my hand on Emerson, I experience a Knowing: Meat Pie approves! He is not her incarnation, yet I feel her presence and guidance with him.
2009. The year that went on forever. And today is the last day of that calendar. 2009 was an instant in the overall big picture, a little puff in the life of the Universe. Often of late, it has occurred to me that life is very much like a spiral staircase. With each step I am up (or down) the stairs. Getting to stair #9 is impossible to do without stepping upon the previous steps. Yes, when I was a kid, I used to take the stairs 2 at a time, and when I felt especially buoyant I took them 3 at a time. Now, right here, I notice that even the messy, ugly, the difficult has its place on the pot-holey path.
And, just so you know, the baby is born! She came last night, whole, complete and perfect. Mama and clan are tired, and recovering. Baby has no public name yet, but that is, of course, a small detail.