Saturday, March 7, 2009

Perhaps

Duncan has not been feeling well. Or rather, Duncan doesn't feel well when in my presence. When Ken is home he's all tail wags, smiling face, lolling tongue and solid poop. I get the opposite more often than not. I'm sure it's stress from the appearance of the boxes and the rearranging and sorting and the general sadness which has overtaken our home, and it makes me want to tell him, "It's okay. We'll be okay. I haven't had solid poop since this all began either." But he doesn't understand so I sit with him, always touching him, running my fingers along the dark curls on his back, slipping under his paws or between his toes, sliding my foot along his ribs, back and forth. I take him out when he needs it and I speak softly.

I have not been sleeping well and because he hasn't either we often find ourself making quick trips outside very late, when the stars are bright and seem to roll across our sky, or early in the morning at that moment when the darkness is on the verge of shattering and dawn trembles with anticipation in the east, when the stars and moon hold their breath and watch as night once again concedes the struggle.

This morning Dunc stood at my side of the bed, his nose almost touching my hand and whined softly into the mattress. I am a very light sleeper and snapped awake, the big brown eyes of my dog almost level with mine. He whined softly again, as though taking care not to disturb Ken––who could sleep through the Apocalypse––and then turned to the door, his signal that we must leave now, that he's waited until the very last possible second to wake me and if we're not outside immediately no one will be happy with the results. I hurried into my slippers, grabbed a jacket and leash and ushered him outside.

The dawn was gray with pink and gold foam on its edges, a thin line of clouds hovering just above the horizon. Duncan and I walked up and down the narrow lane of grass behind our home as he searched for a spot to tend to business, which does not happen when his belly is sick. At times like this he's rarely choosy and barely makes it out the door before squatting and avoiding eye contact with me. But this morning he walked with diligence and led me back and forth across the stretch of lawn, sniffing carefully then wheeling suddenly around to hurry in the opposite direction. Having just come from bed the air was blessedly cool on my face and against my sockless ankles. I blinked the sleep from my eyes and followed him up and down the fence line and the accompanying sluice, which when dry collects pine needles, sticks and twigs, the occasional Starbucks cup and all manner of things. It had recently been blown out but a week of high winds had filled it again. Duncan pulled me west, almost in the direction of our new apartment and The Glen and then, at the moment the sun broke the surface of the horizon and erupted into the world, he turned and led me straight into its fresh light. The clouds hovering just above it filtered the rays into a very tight and concentrated band of intense gold, vivid and so thick I almost felt it lap against my slippers.

And then, without having attended to the task which pulled me from bed, he sat at the edge of the run-off ditch and waited. I stood behind him, called his name and pulled a little on the leash but he refused to look at me, staring, instead, straight down the cement line running along the fence. I looked to see if I could spy a squirrel undulating through the grass or a bunny playing statue under a low shrub, but there was nothing, only a single ball of golden fluff bouncing in the soft breeze toward us. Duncan cocked his head and wagged his tail from side to side as it neared, its edges brilliant in the narrow beam of sun. As it rolled forward Duncan climbed to his feet and took an anxious step toward it as if greeting an old friend, someone he'd prearranged a meeting with. He nosed it softly, lifting it away from the cement and into the grass where it ceased to move, then turned to me with the expression I've seen so many times, as if to say, "Here, I brought this for you. It's important. I want you to have it."

It was two feathers, their soft frayed edges glorious with golden light, wrapped up in each other "head to toe," a sort of yin yang. My breath rushed out of me and I knelt in the grass and pressed my face into Duncan's soft chest which caught my tears and carried them away. He licked my cheek and for the first time in a very long time the morning was beautiful again.

11 comments:

NodakJack said...

Love you...and that dog, son.
Dad

traci said...

This is a beautiful post, Curt. When the feathers appeared, I caught my breath. Things always come full circle, and I think the universe sent you those feathers to remind you how strong you are. I know you're scared, and it's okay to be, but I also know you will get through this. It hurts so much to think of you so sad, and I hate it that I am so far away. I want so much to just BE there, not to do anything, but to just BE with you for a bit. But, I can't, so instead I hope you feel the love from all of us across the miles reaching out to you and sending you our feathers.

Farley's Mom said...

We sure hope you are both feeling better soon, and that the stress of moving will subside. I'm so glad Duncan found a way to restore your hope. Take care!

Cheryl said...

The feathers have never failed to lead you to those that love you and the security in knowing you share something so large.
Thank you, Duncan, good boy,(I'll sneak in some turkey when I see you).Love Grammie

Sue said...

I've been thinking about you so much and wondering how you are doing. I'm so glad you have Duncan to keep things in perspective, keep you company, and help show you the beauty in the world. It's out there, sometimes its just a bit tough to find.

I'm so glad he pointed the feathers out to you. You deserve a beautiful morning.

Hugs and kisses to both of you.

caboval said...

Duncan is so majical!!! What a great post!!! Its a sign good things are to come!!! Hugs, Valerie Joey and Kealani

Lori said...

I'd say Duncan isn't a dog, he's some sort of spiritual Shaman in dog form... but I think that's what dogs are, anyway. This is one of those stories that makes me realize that the Universe has some sort of general plan, and our big problems are really not as big as we think... and small things reminding us that we are special, unique, and loved are much greater than we ever imagined.

sawstudios said...

“When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure” -Peter Marshall

Curt Rogers said...

12 Grain, all the way, Andy! 12 Grain!

CJ said...

Beautifully said Curt. They are such a comfort.

Greg said...

Curt, I'm so pleased you have your boy to take care of you in difficult times. They make all the difference.