Monday, February 24, 2014

A lost love found

In step: Bill and Geo find their groove after 40 years.
He entered her life in the early 70s when Georgie was a mere 20 years old.  The courtship months were short as I recall, each going their own way and, with time, stepping into marriages with new partners.  He carried her in his heart from the day they first met, even as he built a life without her.

She welcomed the occasional letter over the years, but that was the extent of their contact.  Both left their marriages and navigated new relationships. Georgie had a steady partnership spanning nearly 22 years.

Winds shifted.  Embers got sufficient air to fan the flame once more.  She found him via social media and they exchanged pleasantries.  In June, they met face to face for the first time in several decades.  Time stopped.  And then it began again.

This week, news arrived that they will exchange wedding vows in late summer at Windfield Farm, home to our dear aunt and uncle; home to Georgie, and soon, home to Bill.  We are over the moon with joy!

What can be said about love?  How does the passage of time change us, strengthen us, and open our hearts to what resides there?  I can live with the mystery; I can live with the miracle.  And, so it seems, can they.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

"Who's the old dog now?"

Eli with White Bear.

Old dogs, new tricks.  His delight in fetch has always been limited to the chase and retrieval; the bring it back part, well, not so much.  

We're discovering new ways to be together, Eli and me, in the changing landscape in which we find ourselves.  For the past few days, we've been goofing around in the back yard during sun breaks with balls, garden tools, and our combined energies seeking release.  First, with multiple tennis balls to keep the action moving, Eli would run to retrieve one, then march it back and strut around, taunting me to try and take it as he evaded me at every opportunity.  

Today we explored a new realm.  With gentle, patient words and attentive body language to match, I let him know how I wanted to play the game.  He followed my cues, consistently dropping the ball nearby, and waited for me to fling it again.  Hah!  

Gotta love the new trick for a pair of old dogs!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Before rising

Spring's gift.
In his final year of a 7-year incarceration, he told me this.  "Before my feet hit the floor each morning, I pray."  It's one of the many things he shared with me through weekly visitations and more frequent written correspondence.  And it's one of the things that comprise his legacy.  How, day after day, through a life wrought with violence and abuse, he sought light, a precious singular shaft, sufficient to illumine a way forward.

When I woke yesterday, the third anniversary of his untimely passing, I offered this in his memory.

Gracious and compassionate God,
Open my heart today so that I might reflect your light upon others in need.  Friends grieving.  Strangers stumbling. Loved ones living with isolation.  Direct my hands and lips in service.  Amen.

Today has dawned.  The prayer still stands.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

As surely as the sky is blue

Excited, delighted, and proud:
Cousins Wyatt and Nadya, and Maya and Isabel, take turns
holding Maude's leash on a sunny spring day, 2008.
What do I know?  Some days, I would say, not so much.  Today I'd say, "Listen.  Let me tell you what I know."  I know the unconditional love that springs forth between dogs and humans.  I know how a good dog can change you, can turn ornery folk into puppies, quiet types into sweet talkers, and those with a serious bent, into lighter beings; people you'd want to spend time with, or better yet, become.

I know that a dog can make your life rich and full and messy in ways you can barely fathom.  Steady, devoted, good-natured, affectionate, loyal. This one, Maude of Autumn Morning, will be remembered for her swift legs, sweet nature, keen interest in squirrels, affinity for foul-smelling things, shy demeanor, and long blessed life.  First as litter-mate to our dear boy, Harold, taken too soon as a puppy on the loose, then as elder sister to young Elias, who joined our family in 2002 as a companion for Maude.

Today we bid her farewell and released her from this earthly realm after 13 years of steadfast companionship.  What do I know?  I know she was ready to go, that we were entrusted with the task of bringing her life to a close, and that she will be sorely missed.  I know that Eli, approaching 12, has the challenging task of carrrying on in familiar turf without her.  

We knew Maudie well; 13 years together is ample time to get a good read on a girl.  She knew us well too, better than we'd care to admit.  We understood that love came in many forms and bask in the sure comfort that it reaches us still, even in death.

Dear girl, Godspeed.  May your grand off-leash adventure begin!