Sunday, March 15, 2009

Walking Away

Early this morning, before the sky had turned blue and was still playing with pinks and golds, before the soccer and baseball crowds claimed the entirety of the park for themselves, the geese and gulls wandered freely, paddling along the shore of the lake, waddling across the fields still covered by their fading, crumbling tootsie roll droppings. It was nice to see the gulls, to sit on the hillside above the water and watch them hover over the shore, the cuh-reek cuh-reek of their voices echoing off the trees and the backs of the strip malls which line the north shore. Duncan rolled in the loose yellow grass, pleased with the way it clung to him, snorting joyously when it refused to be shaken loose, even after I slid my hand along his back to brush it away. He'd found a nice stick and pranced around, plopping down next to me occasionally before galloping off again.

I watched the geese, their comings and goings, the way they flocked together in tight groups and seemed to follow one another as they plodded through the muddy bank then up the grass and into the dim promise of the slow-to-rise sun. They did not venture far from one another as they waded through the flocks and seeing them was a bit like watching the families which fill the playground each afternoon: Father and Mother drive up, unload the strollers and toys and lead their flock of children to the red, yellow and blue plastic behemoth assembled in a pit of wood chips and sand. And when it's time to go Father and Mother gather them all again and herd them back to the van.

The geese, though, after sticking so closely to the same three or four others, eventually drift apart, losing them amid the crowd, and while they may crane their heads back and forth for a bit, barking for their lost friends, even that seems to grow wearisome. By the time a loose golden lab charged down the hill at them, shattering the flock into pieces and driving them into the air above our heads, I was pretty sure their old acquaintances meant nothing, had been forgotten in the rush of flight. I watched one group veer toward the golf course and another head south, perhaps as far as the reservoir at Chatfield. And I wondered, do they pine for the friendships they made on this morning? Do they even remember?

It all seems so casual, these animal relationships, the meeting and the parting. And as I disassemble the life Ken and I began thirteen years ago, I can't help but wonder if their way isn't easier. For the goose or the gull, or the skulk of foxes who have carved out a den in the field on the southern side of the prairie dog town, there is no dividing of lives, reliving of memories, fond fingering of gifts and cards and mementos. They simply walk away. I am not so fortunate. I have to pack my things and watch as Ken packs his. I have to wonder if at the end of this separation we have agreed to, whether we will ever share another Thanksgiving dinner at the dining room table we picked out together, whether our bed will ever hold the six of us again, Duncan sprawled between us, Winnie on my hip, Pip at my chest, one paw resting on Ken's elbow, Olive roosting like an owl on the pillows above our heads, her eyes wide and yellow. There is no walking away. Not when you're in love and confused and unsure of what the future holds for you.

Duncan and I will always walk, but this time, just this once, I'd give anything to know the destination.

3 comments:

Sue said...

Curt, there aren't words to express what a hug can sometimes convey. I wish I could give you a big warm hug, and reassure you that everything happens for a reason. We may not know what the reason is for a while, but in time it will become more clear. Hang in there, take care of yourself and Duncan, and keep moving forward.

Jyoti said...

It's a wobbly place to be, not knowing the destination, but when you look back on this time, you'll probably be amazed by the possibilities that opened up that you weren't even aware of.

There's a card in the Osho Zen Tarot deck called "Trust". A friend gave me a copy of it and I kept it on my wall as a reminder when I was going through a difficult period. A woman letting go into free fall from the edge of a cliff. When you look closely, you notice her fall will be broken by rose petals.

Stepping out into the unknown takes tremendous courage. You've got a good friend for paw-holding on the days it's not so easy, and much support and cyber-hugs from people you've never met. We're with you all the way.

caboval said...

We are thinking of you. Hugs and kisses love Valerie Joey and Kealani