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Grateful

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I wonder still how I managed to find you.

Of all the people in the world, how is it that our paths crossed? Why did you open your door to take me in? Why comfort me and save me from the cold?

I was invisible. Plenty had passed me without notice. Nobody stopped to look into my eyes. A stranger I was—alone in this world.  Why, momma, when others were blind to me, did you chose to see? Why rescue me?

“My precious pup,” she says as she kisses my forehead.  “Don’t you know by now? It was you, pup; it was you, who rescued me.”

I lean towards her whispers and the comfort of her voice and I think. Yes, momma, I guess I knew that. But I am grateful, ever so grateful, anyway.

Song of Sorrow

It was 4:39 AM—the moment of your passing.

Your cries awakened me from a dream.  Silenced by your outrage, even the birds froze at attention. Huddling closer. Instinctively seeking the comfort of one another.

While you were wriggling desperately to free yourself, I sat immobilized. Listening. Imagining. Shuddering at the thoughts that carried me to where you were—suffering all alone.

Blood pooled in a corner of his mouth. He released his grasp, just long enough for you to let out one last cry.  I waited.  Anticipating.  There was no one to come to your rescue. He barked with satisfaction. Again, I heard it. It was almost as if he were laughing. Bragging, over a life extinguished.

The minutes passed. A drama now over, the  birds began to sing again—led first by the morning dove.  A song of sorrow. A song of peace.

The Artist

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I must learn to do this, I think.

To start each day with such flourish. Surely, I would be tapped of strength before I even started.

How I admire you, old sun. While I spend my days napping, it seems that you take your rest only when the moon steps in to stay you.

You are an artist, my friend. Do not put down your brush. It suits you.

Underground World

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I’ve found almost all of them, I think.

There’s one right here, where the tall grasses part ever so slightly.
“Momma,” I beckon, as I bury my nose in its scent. “Come. I want to show you.”

“A hole, pup!” she exclaims.

“No, momma. An entrance to another world,” I tell her. A labyrinth of tunnels lies beneath us, you see, stretching the length of the property and beyond.

By my count, there’s one just west of our house, within that stand of trees. Another sits at the base of our 40-foot pine.  Where the hill rolls off towards town, I remember three. And there must be many—so many—in the meadow, which seems to go on forever.

As I survey the horizon, I wonder who lives there, in this underground world. Do they move about in total darkness? How, Momma? How can they live without this view?

Our Stream

 

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We share a stream.

Sometimes, when we reach that stretch of water down by the falls, we find her there. A doe standing part in shadow—dappled light on her shoulders, where sunshine has broken through the trees that line our stream bank.

She drinks, as I do, from this very spot. The water, which washes over the rocks with such force, has dulled the announcement of our arrival. Our presence still unknown, I immerse my paws in the water.

Cold. Refreshing. It is alive and all around me. I lean down to take it in and notice that our doe has now leapt to safety. No matter. We will meet again, I am sure.

Mornings Like This

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It is mornings like this that we see him.

When the mist above the pond is as high as the treetops. The geese have just entered the water after deep slumber—goslings in tow. And dew splashes about our legs as we traipse through the grasses.

The heron lifts himself from his perch. Not sure this tree is safe enough. His flight across the pond, above the mist, is magical. Graceful. Quiet. Unlike the others, he does not sound a warning—but alights in silence. He is alone. Save for the geese, this is his pond. We are intruders.

I watch with awe and some relief, for I have not yet learned to fly. Now, it seems, I may have another chance.

Too Late

She is too late.

I try to stop myself, but I am lost. Lost in a private battleground. Out of control—but in total command. With every bite, I stifle the itch.

I stop to catch my breath and suddenly the urge is silenced by the sting of air on raw flesh. What is left of my fur is now soaked in saliva. I have done it—again.

I pace and pace, waiting for her return. My bare flank now exposed for what it is. Old. Atrophied. And, hot with inflammation. Like raw meat in a window; Soutine’s butcher shop carcass.

Finally, I hear our car in the drive. She calls my name with a smile. “Pup!” she says as she opens the door and stoops to greet me. Then she sees my matted, wet hair.

“Oh, pup,” she sighs this time as her eyes well up with tears. She opens her arms to me and I fall into her embrace. Momma is finally home.

It will be okay, now. Momma is home.

Lone Goose

For days we have watched you.

Circling the farm, searching. Alone. Frantic. Your belly lit by morning sun, its shape changes with every breath as you expel what sounds like desperation.

Your calls tell me of your sorrow—your confusion.

Where is your mate, my friend? Did the fox take a meal at your expense? I have not seen the feathers—but I know what it feels like to be abandoned. To lose a loved one.

Do not despair. You are not alone, for I hear your calls.
And, momma and I will keep you company.

A Spring Storm

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The storm came on so quickly.

Purposefully. A blue sky suddenly turned angry. The wind picked up with a force. I liked the feel of it—the excitement.

I squinted through the bright light of a sunset trying to show itself through thick clouds on the move. The air filled my nostrils.

A crack. A rumble. Then the storm was upon us. Squid ink sky. Then pounding rain—as if to demand our attention. A hail of white pearls bounced from the deck. Momma and I watched in fascination.

It must be Spring. I wonder Momma, is it really here?

“Yes, it’s so, pup. Finally, it is here.”

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The Fox

You and I, we are not so different.

I see myself in you. Your luxe red coat. Ears at attention. We were simply separated by evolution. I hear your barking at night and I know we are somehow one in the same.

Isolated by a creek. A frost covered field. And, the comfort of my elevated deck. Yes, I see that you stare at me. With ears up, you listen for movement—a sign that I might join you. Not today.

Like me, you feel the chill in the air. The grasses—you see them too. That  strange geometry of frosted shapes that challenge the claim that it is now Spring. The blade which catches the light, flickering like a random sliver of mica in dirt.

You are very still. So confident. Too much so, I think.
For I too know that the goslings are there by the water. Born last week. I have met their mother—and you will be no match.

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