I have lived in this house for over 37 years. The land is creekside and our neighbor across the creek has sent me a letter declaring two of my trees are in danger of falling onto her property. I told her if she marked the trees, I would have a tree man come out and give me an estimate for having them cut down. Also, I am looking for someone to repair my deck due to water getting into the basement. Boards will have to be replaced and painted.
Both issues concern the back of the property—my subconscious. So as I sit to meditate, I am wondering what the psychological issues are. Suddenly our old Collie-Shepherd mix, Wendy, comes to mind. She is buried in the yard beside the creek and she loved to bathe and drink from it.
She was almost human, talking to us in guttural barks when we would talk to her. It was her way of having conversation. Our old house had sliding glass doors and she slept up against them; she was way too big to be a house dog. When we moved into this house, she grieved because she could no longer see us. The glass doors were now on the second level of the house, opening onto the deck, which had no steps going down to the yard.
She was so sociable that she ended up moving down the street to hang out with Perry, who was about 7. One day I got a call that she had followed him to school and had actually gotten inside. We had to go pick her up.
Then a couple of men moved in across the street from us and that became her third home. They adopted her, too. Often when the pizza delivery man came, Wendy would be in their driveway wagging her tail. They always gave her her own slice.
She lived to be eleven. One day we got a call from Perry’s dad that they had found her dying in the bushes in the front of their house. Bob had to drive her back home in the trunk. She weighed over a hundred pounds. She died within the hour. When Bob tried to dig her grave in the woods by the creek, the ground was like concrete. So Perry’s dad and one of the men across the street helped bury her. There was not a dry eye among them.
So the dead trees must be cut down and the deck must be repaired. I am crying now myself. I am such a good soldier that it has taken this essay to unwind me from myself. My heart is speaking, and like Wendy, it doesn’t have a human language, hence the tears.
The heart, as Leonard Cohen says, must say “hallelujah” over it all. A dog like Wendy would wag her tail at that and I would let her have a whole pizza.