“Take the winding path
Up the hill until
You reach the lighthouse,”
The kindly old woman
Explained, leaning heavily
On a cane made of steel.
“Walk and walk up that
Hill. Follow it as it
Winds back and forth,”
She coughed and chuckled.
“It’s like a roll of
The dice, really, when-
Ever you go up that hill.
Sometimes the path seems
Simple, but sometimes it
Seems like it doubles
Back on itself, and you
Find yourself wondering
If you are lost, even though
The lighthouse is in plain
View the whole time, just
Up ahead.” Again, she
Coughed and smiled, smiled
And coughed. “You’ll get
There, though. We all get
There eventually, to our
Rightful place in the world.”
Summer solstice came with a bang,
Lightning struck across town and
Left blackened trees and buildings
Down the west side of the river.
Even by moonlight later that night,
We could see the play of dark on
Darker, and we were mesmerized
By the subtle insistence of blackness.
Yes, we were sure the night was
Truly blessed, its darkness making
The blackness of burnt wood bright,
Secrets unlocked by lack of sight.
In my dream, the sheep said to me,
“Hey, you forgot your ID and your
Phone at the bar last night.” I blinked.
I blinked again and realized my eyes
Were closed. And I said, “I’m asleep.
Shouldn’t I be counting you? Why
Are you talking to me?” And the sheep
Merely pointed in all cardinal directions
And even primary intercardinal ones.
“Fine,” I said. So I closed my eyes
Some more and dreamed a turtle was
Racing me to the finish line.
In this room with the old-fashioned door,
I’m certain there is someone’s eye beyond
The key hole. I sit at the desk to write,
And I feel the eye at the back of my neck,
Watching as my pen moves across the pages
Of my notebook. I stand. I take out my ID
Card on its lanyard and hang it
From the knob. Quieted, I return to my chair,
But when I look back at the door,
I see the card on its lanyard like
An angry diagonal slash of an arrow,
Judging me for blocking the view.
Yesterday would’ve been your 13th birthday, my silly April fool. I shared/reposted a handful of pictures of you on previous birthdays on Facebook.
This one from your 8th birthday at Powderhorn Park is one of my favorites of you.
I don’t know how time slips by so quickly–no posts since October! We’ve been busy wrangling the two big dogs for sure. Still missing you fiercely and thinking at discrete moments very much about little things you did.
I got a new laptop yesterday, my first in almost 10 years, I think. It’ll be nice to be able to go around town and work on things. I got it in part because I need to start working on this book that I’m cowriting with a friend on Asian Pacific American youth literature. It’s much easier to write and work if I have a choice of places to sit. Being tied down to a desktop–particularly one hidden in the study away from everyone else in the house–can be a drag.
I was a little sad when I chose the desktop picture for the computer.
But then I remembered that I can have the picture rotate, so I also have you with me still.
I’m taking this week off work, trying to do some reading for fun, and just generally relaxing. Not sure it’s working all that well. Still having unsettling dreams. This morning, one of them involved an overflowing toilet and the drudgery of cleaning up the spill. Why is my mind so unkind?
I haven’t been writing here on the blog, but since May 29, I’ve written pretty consistently in a paper journal, missing only one day in the past three weeks. I like that intimacy and format a lot, and I’m reminded of how much I used to enjoy the feel of writing by hand. I liked it so much that I used to copy out passages I liked in books. I’m doing that a bit now as well, jotting down sentences and paragraphs and lines of books and poems I’m reading, a kind of partial record of what I’m reading.
Today, I am doing ok. Most of this week, however, was not easy. I alternated between feeling a sense of impending doom or just general sadness. I think wrapping up our nightly candlelight vigil for you was harder than I anticipated. It’s not that I don’t still think of you every day, but it’s hard letting go of a concrete practice, a habit, a physical and deliberate act, that we continued to keep you in our lives.
One of the things I’m going to do is start keeping a daily writing and drawing journal. I was reinspired to do so after reading Lynda Barry’s Syllabus: Notes From an Accidental Professor. I know I often say I’m going to start keeping a journal (by hand) again every few months, but I think this time I will make a bigger effort. I realized that having some guidance in the form of exercises and a format for daily observations might be the kind of support I need to get back into the habit.
I just lit the last candle in the package for you. It’s been over three months now since your passing.
This past Saturday, I did a 5K walk for the library as a fundraiser for the summer reading program. I did the walk in your memory, and my friends generously donated $870 collectively in support of us. The 5K was in Roseville, and we walked around the park that we had visited once last year on a whim. It was a beautifully sunny day for the walk.
I want to write a book on art/creativity and dogs. I want to bring together drawing, creative thinking, and experiencing the world from dogs’ perspectives. You taught me how to see different things in the everyday world around me, and you showed me ways of being in the world that I never would have known possible like finding such intense pleasure in running through the fields and woods at the dog park.