Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Time stretches and morphs into strange shapes and loops, following no schedules, disagreeing with clocks and calendars. Sometimes it feels like Max was here just yesterday. His absence is overwhelming.
I look out the window and expect to see him lying in his spot amongst the clustered spindly trunks of new poplar trees, or flattening the weeds beneath the bathroom window, snoring softly as a brown, round rabbit hops by within three feet of his slumbering form, both seemingly unaware of the others' existence.
His wheelchair sits in the corner of our entryway, leaned back on its metal frame. Silvery arms reach up, waiting. A hug just hanging. My arms feel extra-empty looking at it. Hairs of white, caramel and bronze are still entwined and sewn into the black fabric of his harness. The wheels gather dust.
Max inhabits my heart, he has a chunk of it all to himself. He was my dog for three years. I wish sometimes I had known him longer, watched him navigate his way through the world from a tiny, tumbling puppy, but then he would have been a different dog, shaped by different circumstances. By the time I met him his back was crooked, his feet dragging, his eyes starting to cloud, his spirit sent soaring with the moments others took for granted.
There was just enough mystery surrounding his existence that made him seem larger than one life could contain. The stoic, wise old Max I knew was a connection to a deeper wisdom thrumming along just below the surface of this world.
It was his spirit that inspired me and yet all I want sometimes is to reach out and run my fingers through the thick coarse fur of his neck, smooth my hand over the silky hair on top of his head, touch his downy soft ears. I want to see his face again, look into his brown clouded eyes and feel that peace he and I shared in the quiet moments, the one that was powerful enough to make life itself make sense, if only for a little while.
I look for him in the trees sometimes, hoping to feel his presence, hoping that he is still somehow walking beside me. I think part of me actually believes I will find him one day trotting towards me with his laughing eyes, his big front feet leaving solid tracks in the mud. Maybe I look too hard because all I see flashing through the green of the forest is the fiery fuchsia and bright salmon pink of the flowers we planted over his grave.
There are days when my soul aches as though a piece of it is missing. A Max-shaped hole. And I wonder if he knows how big his life was, how far reaching his spirit.