Tonight I watched a movie in which Billy Collins reads the poem below. Sadie lay splayed on the couch between me and DH and I cried with simple and complete appreciation.
A DOG ON HIS MASTER
As young as I look,
I am growing older faster than he,
seven to one
is the ratio they tend to say.
Whatever the number,
I will pass him one day
and take the lead
the way I do on our walks in the woods.
And if this ever manages
to cross his mind,
it would be the sweetest
shadow I have ever cast on snow or grass.
(from Ballistics: Poems, Random House, 2010)
Yesterday evening around 6pm I had about 45 seconds to myself. I’d just gotten home from work, was sitting in the living room, and my daughters (let’s call them Pebbles, 5.5, and Bam-Bam, 3) were playing quietly in the kitchen with some frozen peas.
The dogs, the new dogs, now just 48 hours away had been on my mind all day. I looked to the corner of the room where Samson’s bed used to be, and thought of how crazy but happy our home would soon be with two, healthy dogs in the house. This may be the best stupid idea I ever had! Or am I having a life crisis and don’t even realize it? There’s still a coloring book page taped on the wall, near the floor, in Samson’s corner. Pebbles colored a bright red heart for Samson to look at during his last weeks, when he rarely moved from his bed. “So he knows how much we love him,” she’d explained.
Samson, January 2010
How much indeed. Samson had been with DH and me since we got engaged, almost 10 years ago. In the first few moments after he died this spring, we looked at each other with wonder and sadness. Samson had taught us to work better as a team, to exercise regularly, that it’s ok not to be in control all the time, and that you can induce vomiting with two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide and a turkey baster. DH and I were losing the silent partner in our marraige.
And so in my 45 glorious seconds of “me time,” I marveled that it was happening again. Realizing that our sweet, pain-in-the-ass dog is not coming back.
Then Bam Bam ran in and grabbed my hand. “PEE PEE! I NEED TO PEE PEE!”