Monday, January 30, 2012

Die and Be Again

"As long as you are not aware of the continual law of
Die and Be Again,
you are merely a vague guest on a dark Earth."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

First of all, a big thank you for all your kind wishes and heartfelt sympathy over the loss of our sweet, cantankerous, old Boris. I've had emails and letters and even lovely gifts of flowers, chocolates and cards dropped off at the house from friends who understand how devastated one can feel after the loss of a pet. Or as one of them reiterated, "love is love is love."

Thank you, one and all. It really did help. As did this...

Today, as I began my walk with Buddy and picked my way carefully over the rutted ice on the road, I chose to cross to a side street I don't use very often. But it was cold and a bit breezy, and this road was one of the few that was dry and clear of ice, so off we went in the sunshine. At the bottom of the street, we ran into Adrian The Farmer, just pulling into his driveway. He was Adrian who supplied me with the willow I used to build my large bent-willow chair, oh, probably a dozen or so years ago.

He is an odd fit in this suburban neighbourhood, being both a rustic, no-nonsense bachelor and a full-time farmer, albeit one who commutes to his job. With his long red beard, straggly hair and well used clothes, he looks like he might have just stepped out of an east coast fishing village after a long jaunt at sea.

His tiny bungalow is nestled defiantly between new mansions, which have slowly replaced all the tiny war widow cottages torn down with ruthless efficiency, many of which Adrian's grandfather built. I'm sure his hoity-toity new neighbours are not enamoured of Adrian's rustic shed leaning to one side, his many woodpiles or his pickup truck in the driveway, but I get a kick out of talking to him. He always has something interesting to say, and he's not shy about sharing an opinion or two.

It's been years since we've seen each other. Last time was when he stopped by the house with some fresh asparagus he'd grown at his farm. But Buddy bounded up to him as though it was yesterday.

As we chatted at the end of his driveway, our faces warmed by the sun on this bitter cold day, Adrian's cat sauntered down the driveway to greet us, unfazed by Buddy's jumping around. I stopped talking and stared.

There before me, was Boris's doppelganger, right down to the wide flat head, golden eyes and thick tail. And attitude, from the looks of him.

"Oh, that's Sparky," says Adrian. "I've had him for, oh, ten years or so. Someone abandoned him on the farm and I tried to give him away but after a week with him, well, that was that."

I handed Buddy's leash to Adrian so I could get closer.

"He won't go near you. He's pretty standoffish with folks he doesn't know."

I walked up to him anyway, and to Adrian's amazement and mine, Sparky came right up to me and wound himself in and around my legs, rubbing his head and his whole body against me as I stroked him and rubbed his neck, just as I used to do for Boris.

"Well, I've never seen him do that before. I guess he likes you."

I don't know if you had a moment today that made you feel warm right down to your toes, but I sure had one.

Thanks, Sparky. May you dream of sardines and gimpy mice tonight.


Lesa said...

Oh, toes and heart warming!

Debby said...

Ooooh! My toes have now been warmed too!

Anonymous said...

How lovely! The road less travelled, and all that!

Julie K.

Yutha said...

Aw, that made me well up!

BB said...

Awwwww... that was wonderful. I have moments like that too - one was when Ree found that Great Dane at her place, the EXACT image of my darling Cosmo... I know it was the other side of the world, but I felt like it was a big poochy cuddle meant for me.


Deniz Bevan said...

Oh, that's lovely. Warms the cockles of my heart :-)