Sunday, November 25, 2007

One will spread our ashes round the yard

Home again, finally.

After too much time spent on living room couches or in the car over the last five days, and after far too little time spent paying attention to my own thoughts, I finally squeezed in a late-afternoon walk over in my little patch of woods.

Since the last time I walked there, before we went up to A.'s parents' house, the trees have gone from mostly covered to mostly bare, and the leaves that were up on the branches have settled down on the ground in an inches-thick carpet of gold, red, orange, green. The little shallow creek at the bottom of the woods is covered over with leaves, too; in places it looks like little more than a wet ribbon in the russet groundcover.

I came to the spot where I usually perch on the creek's bank to let my thoughts wander along while the water flows over its shallow bed. The place where I leave the path for my spot lies between the footbridge and the fencing that keeps the erosion-control project safe from wandering feet and paws. It's a favorite place for dogs to get wet, and suddenly I realized what it was that my eyes had just barely been registering without taking in, as I'd made my way down along the path.

Fine, grey dust lying on top of the leaves. Fine and grey, but not uniform in grade or regular in shape. Fine and grey, across the leaves on the side of the creek. On top of the leaves that carpeted the creek itself. Settled on the bottom of the creekbed. As yet completely undisturbed.

I walked along from rock to rock for a few yards, respectfully, carefully. I found more fine, grey dust on the opposite bank of the creek, another place where pawprints are common.

I stood there on the rocks in the creek for a few long minutes and thought of Smartest Dog, whose ashes I spread in the St. Mary's River years before I moved to my house near the woods. I thought of Diva Dog, whose ashes are buried near the gate to our garden, who loved this spot in the creek. I thought of the Iron and Wine song, "Naked As We Came," that made me cry this morning while we were on our way to a shiva visit.

I thought of how much longer it is, forever, with people than with dogs. Decades and decades longer, god willing.

I thought of how little I know of how you get there. To forever.


jo(e) said...

Ah, what a beautiful post.

kathy a. said...

it is beautiful.

Magpie said...


Lovely post.