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Too Early

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The bushes are everywhere.

Throughout the property, I have seen them as we take our walks. It seems they were all just in flower.

She eyes the bright red berries. Glistening in sunshine. Not yet ripe—but begging to be picked. “Too early,” momma says with a sigh. We must watch them, she explains.

“The birds will know they’ve ripened long before we do, pup.” I study her face. The birds? Must we fight for our fair share? I am now concerned.

When it gets closer, I will stand look out. But momma, I tell her. You must hold the basket.

A Meal to Remember

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I watched her from my rug in the kitchen—as I always do.

First she cut the lamb. An entire leg she carved, just out of reach on the countertop. Juices ran onto a cutting board. She did not discard the fat.

Great hunks of meat she then placed on our grill. Would she eat this without me? For a moment, I actually wondered. In minutes, the sizzle and smell were almost enough to sate me. But there she did not stop.

Carrots in water came to a rolling boil. She tested them. Are they done, momma? Not too hot, please. And rice. Not just any rice—brown rice for me.

Today she made me a meal to remember. All of this she laid before me.  I watched her place my bowl on the floor. As she bent down she kissed my forehead. “I love you pup,” she told me, as she always does.

I know, momma. To the ends of the earth, I love you too.

Our Field

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I miss our field, momma.

What took all of Spring to grow was laid bare in the course of last evening, before the first of Summer. The hum of heavy equipment. Tractors so large, they covered much ground.

Grasses, once meters high, systematically fell—exposing the contours of the earth, and a myriad of holes leading somewhere. It is man over nature.

The clover. The wildflowers. None stood a chance. What once gracefully bowed to the wind is now a series of short dry stalks. Felled by metal blades, they share no resemblance to their former selves.

Slashed and bailed, they will sit in the sun only to be hauled someplace far away. It is uncomfortable under foot. I carefully chose my path, following the trail left by tire tracks.

The ruts and furrows remind me. Our deer now have one less place to hide.

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Blue Sky

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I knew she could do it.

When she opened the screen door we saw it—blue sky for miles. Even the clouds looked happy to me. They have done their business for days. Now the stream is full. The trees are stripped of tired limbs. And the weak among us have stepped aside. It is time to rest.

“Look, pup! The rain is gone,” says momma incredulously. I know momma, I reply. I told you, you could make it so.

But why, if you can make the sun shine, can’t you make me something else for breakfast?

Make it Shine

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How I long for a sunny day.

It has rained for days now. Seventeen to be exact; I have counted them. 

Even the grasses bend in utter defeat. Their own weight, they can no longer bear. The dogwood blossoms have all but given up; most lie on the ground—spent before I could fully enjoy them.

And that beautiful, old tree—it has fallen into the pond. Ground so soaked it could not support it. Uprooted. Taproot snapped, severed from essential lifeblood. Not even the caretaker can help it now.

I have all but memorized the confines of my room. The creases in my bedding are too familiar to me. And I miss the light that once filtered through our house.

Oh, how I wish for the sun to shine. Please momma, make it shine.

Sparkle

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I can feel my strength returning.

“There’s a sparkle in your eyes again, my pup,” momma tells me as she places my breakfast in the bowl. I know, I tell her with a wag of my tail; I am feeling better now.

Maybe tomorrow we can go down to the stream by the falls.  My friend, the doe, must have wondered where I have been all this time.

Shades of Green

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How many shades of green make up this view of mine?

I ask her this as we wander somewhat aimlessly today. “As many as there are shades of brown in your lovely coat, I suppose, my pup,” she says as she smiles at me.

As many, momma, as there are shades of white in a winter landscape? “Yes, pup. At least that many.” As many colors as light our sky at sunrise, momma? “I suppose that’s so, pup.”

What about the leaves of fall? Do you think our trees will turn shades of amber? “Of that, I am sure, pup.”

Let’s play a game, momma. I’m thinking of a color…

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Impression

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I never noticed it before so it got me to thinking.

Just outside the barn, there’s a tiny handprint that marks the spot where one small soul has been. Declaring his presence. Leaving an impression. An indelible reminder. His mark on this world.

Where, I wonder, is this little boy now? I look up at momma and ask her to wait. We pause for a moment. Have I made such an impression that I will be so remembered?

When you see a sky shot with vermilion, momma, will it remind you of me? When the fury of a winter storm stills all that it touches, will you think of me then? 

If I should have to go someday, when a light rain kisses your face, know that it is just me, momma. I have come back to say hello.

The Symphony

I heard their calls again this evening.

Momma accompanied me on a walk, despite the hour. Then together we sat, in front of the house, in silence—save for the symphony around us. The rhythmic base of the bullfrog. The high-pitched trill of cicadas.  The sound of our own breathing.

Under our moon, she comforted me, while I did my best to tap into the life forces around us—hoping to imbue myself with their energy, if only to steal a few more hours.

“Pup,” she said to me. “I love you ‘till the ends of the earth.”

I put my head in her lap to tell her it will be okay. The fireflies are out tonight. But they have kept a respectful distance.

Fireflies

The day began early; I hope it is a long one.

Up at 3:30, I pace the room, now a makeshift infirmary. Moving from towel to towel, searching for one not yet damp with my own urine.

The windows are open and I am drawn to what is calling me. I hear the peepers—and something else too. Despite the hour, momma is up now, pulling on her boots. She has understood.

We step into the world outside our house and begin our walk. Through diaphanous mist we tread. Slowly, for it is dark. The clouds have all but obscured our moon. A rain of tears will wash the sky this special morning.

We wander up the drive, passing my favorite trees; paper cut outs in a murky wash.  Intermittent flickers of light dance around us. Teasing us to come further. Into the meadow. Down the hill. They seem tentative. Unsure. But they do not leave us.

“Look pup,” momma whispers, for it is still very early and not even the birds have awakened yet. “My precious pup. Do you see the fireflies?” she asks.

I see momma, but those are not fireflies. It is a host of angels come to show me the way. Do not be sad. I will tell them to wait, but not too long. Do not be sad. I am not quite ready yet.

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