Saturday Morning: We “Were” Running

WE WERE RUNNING

in memory of Annie Zeke*

We were running up the slope of a hill,
that dog and I, an early winter rain
beginning to fall, wind-driven and sharp,
the clouds so black the edges of the hills
were etched and incandescent. That dog
and I were running, the two of us
apart and yet together, and even now,
in the solitude of a quiet hour—the days
and that dog long gone—I can follow
those far-blown traces of unexpected joy
and find my way back again: heart wild,
lungs filling with the breath of winter,
and that dog beside me running headlong
into the world without end.

~ Peter Everwine, “We Were Running” in A Small Clearing (Aureole Press, 2016)


Notes:

  • Photo: Susan’s Photo of our Zeke* (RIP) taken at Baker Park.
  • Poem: Thank you The Hammock Papers

Truth

“What I would do for wisdom,”
I cried out as a young man.
Evidently not much.
Or so it seems.
Even on walks
I follow the dog.

~ Jim Harrison, Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry


Source: Thank you Hammock Papers for poem. Photo: Brian Guest with a Vizsla

Truth!

Everyone thinks

they have the best dog in the world.

None of them are wrong.

~ Shower Thoughts


Photo: (via Newthom)

Running. With a Red Butterfly.

red-tailed-hawk-feather

I run. I write. I post. In that order. With few gaps. Typically. But not Saturday. No. No. No. Disbelief. Fatigue on overdrive. Just not real. 

I marinated in it for days.

And then Rilke prods: “ask yourself in the stillest hour of your night: ‘must I write?’ Delve into yourself for a deep answer. And if this should be affirmative, if you may meet this earnest question with a strong and simple ‘I must,’ then build your life according to this necessity.”

So I must.

And I write.

A series of interlocking coincidences which only rose to consciousness after a replay of events played forward from daybreak.

5 a.m.

A short reading. It was Leonard Bernstein, from Dinner with Lenny: The Last Long Interview with Leonard Bernstein:

I am frequently visited by a white moth or a white butterfly. Quite amazingly frequently. And I know it’s Felicia. I remember that when she died, her coffin was in our living room in East Hampton … and just a few of us were there—the family and a rabbi and a priest, because she’d been brought up in a convent in Chile. We were playing the Mozart Requiem on the phonograph. Everyone was absolutely silent. And then this white butterfly flew in from God knows where—it just appeared from under the coffin and flew around, alighting on everybody in the room—on each of the children, on the rabbi, on the priest, on her brother-in-law and two of her sisters, on me … and then it was gone … though there was nothing open. And this has also happened to me here, sitting outside in my garden. … White.

The appearance of a white moth. Or white butterfly…White.

7 a.m.

From somewhere, an unbeknownst longing for a punishing trail run. It had been months. I’m in the car. [Read more…]

Walking Cross-Town. With Spirits.

feather-light-weightless

The subway rumbles underground, the earth trembles under my feet. Out of the corner of my eye, a flourish and a rustle. I turn.

Blue waste paper twirls in a whirlwind. It spins upward in the current before landing gently on the concrete in front of the hulking sky scraper.

Odd.

It’s 6 am. A still, windless morning in Midtown. A single piece of wastepaper lifts the Blues, lightness fills the cavity.

I turn my head back to see it stir.

Zeke?

Is that you?

 


Notes:

 

Zeke. Post Mortem. Did you cry then?

zeke-vizsla-dog-pet

I ran the morning of his “expiration.” Same route. There was no rustling, no reason to turn, but my attention is pulled hard right to the other side of the highway.  A doe, large, silent, and frozen in spot, stares. Our eyes lock. Go ahead Girl, speak to me. I’m listening.

Two hours “before”, I’m watching The Man Who Knew Infinity, an inspiring flick about Srinivasa Ramanujan, a self-taught Indian genius who forged a bond with his math professor, G.H. Hardy, while fighting an institution that refused to acknowledge his achievements (racism, jealousy, fear). Here’s Hardy, an atheist and his mentor, in a speech to a skeptical decisioning board:  “So, now we see the enormous breakthrough that he has achieved…Mr. Ramanujan told me that an equation had no meaning unless it expressed a thought of God…Well, despite everything in my being set to the contrary, perhaps he is right…So, in the end, I have been forced to consider, who are we to question Ramanujan, let alone God.” Just as Hardy finishes his impassioned plea, Zeke, prostrate on the hard wood floor, starts choking, unable to catch his breath, the tumor working its devilish deed. Why now? Why so soon? Who am I to question…?

Minutes “after“, I look in his water dish, peanut shells float in lukewarm water, undigested remains and backwash from his lock jaw. We need to remove the water dish, his food dish, his crate, his toys and everything else.  Yet, while all physical remnants have been cleared, the silence from the absence of his footsteps, his swishing tail, his presence, all Thunder in this empty house.

Vizsla’s are “velcro” dogs, restless, following you everywhere, all the time. What happens when your shadow of eight years, is no longer there, no longer anywhere but in your head. You continuously look over your shoulder feeling something, yet there’s nothing there. With the velcro detached, when do You become detached, unstuck, unhinged? [Read more…]

Zeke. RIP.

vizsla

Here’s Zeke at 4:54 p.m. yesterday, minutes before he expired.

Words? None. Not today.

Zeke (December 26, 2007 – September 5, 2016).

RIP.


Related Posts: Zeke

Zeke: Fallin’ Forward.

dog-noise-close-up

Zeke, in his Countdown, stumbles forward.

We pinch the drip tube on the meds. He’s woozy coming down, he grasps for his footing.

The morning 5-milers, have been cut to half-milers, or less, this routine interrupted indefinitely.

A rash here, a rash there, in the most personal of his private parts, all swollen and inflamed from being scratched raw. (Is there no mercy?)

His left eye, now red and goopy, fails him badly in snatching nuts tossed from a few feet. His depth perception askew, his jaws pathetically snap at air.  He can’t see them.

He limps, his back foot drags a broken toe, an affliction caught chasing a friend he could not catch. His muscles atrophied, his bones snap like twigs. (This is painful to watch.) [Read more…]

Zeke. The Countdown.

zeke-dog-pet-cute

I walk Zeke outside.

He sniffs at the grass, at the plants, at the trace of bunny in the air.

I watch him circle the yard: It’s gone.

The vigorous flourish of the tail. The accelerated gait, his canter. All gone. In its place, the all-consuming lethargy.

The panting is incessant. His barrel chest rising and falling, a steam engine chugging, The Little Red Engine That Could: I think I can, I think I can, I think I still can.

He’s parched, always. His long tongue stretches to lap up gulps of water.

And Dad, “I’m hungry. I’m always hungry. I can’t help myself. It’s those damn white pills you wrap in the lunch meat.”

The steroid dosage has been lowered, his normal surefootedness slipping.  Another stumble up the stairs this morning, his head lunging into the hardwood –and then, a soft, helpless yelp.

Water from a tap drips.

No one is ready for this. No one wants this.

This shot clock is running out.


Related Posts: Zeke

Switchback: From Bliss and Back

2A17E4AD-B394-4F8A-BA7A-76D0A0E567DF

A vicious switchback,
the bliss of last Saturday Morning,
to a routine checkup with the Good Shepherd Vet,
to this.

I clench my jaw while he opens his.
The steroids, tiny pink buttons, are wrapped in lunch meat.
He swallows the care package whole, nose up, sniffing for more.
“Sit!”
He sits.
The medicine dissolves, his belly warms from the Buttons.
His glassy eyes look up drawing up Hirshfield’s Hope and Love:
“I know that hope is the hardest love we carry.” [Read more…]

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