The first quote du jour entry I put up on the blog was:
A quotation at the right moment is like bread to the famished.The Talmud
Last evening I pulled a book off the shelf called Long Life by Mary Oliver. It is a collection of essays and poems, which I haven't read yet. I opened to this passage:
For the first time in twenty-five years there is no small footstool next to the bed, on which to break one's toes. The little dogs, first Jasper and then Bear, are gone. How neatening is loss, since it only takes away! One less mouth to feed, to walk, to bathe, to hold. One less sentient creature to cherish, to worry over, to feel for, to receive comfort from. And where is he, little Bear, the latest to leave us? We watch the clouds carefully; sooner or later we will see him, sailing away in careless and beautiful serenity. Of what rich and ornate stuff the powerful and uncontainable gods invented the world, out of the rampant dust! The silky brant, the scarf of chiffon, the letter, the empty envelope, the black ducks, the old shoes, the little white dog fall away, fall away, and all the music of our lives is in them. The gods act as they act for what purpose we do not know, but this we do understand: the world could not be made without the swirl and whirlwind of our deepest attention and our cherishing. And if I mean the god of the sky, I mean also the god of the river - not only the god of the gold-speckled cathedral but the lord of the green field, where people pause casually and snap each other's picture; where thrushes release their darkling songs; where little dogs bark and leap, their ears tossing, joyously, as they run toward us.
Yet again, I marvel at Mary Oliver, and I marvel at those words from the Talmud. Just before leaving for work yesterday morning, Tom came in from the barn and said, 'Daisy is dying.' The day was a fretful one. I went out to the barn a few times to check on her. She seemed peaceful and quiet, laying on her side in the stall, separate from the goat and sheep. By the end of the day, she had passed on. She turned thirty last summer, and we've had her since 1988, when my children were six and three. She was a wonderful girl, who absolutely adored people. She would walk up to perfect strangers and nuzzle them. The last picture I have of her was on the first day of fall, in the pasture with 'her' animals, guarding them from predators, guiding them where they should go. Daisy was a happy, contented, loving soul, and though our hearts are aching and the tears are falling, we know that she had the best possible life.