Tuesday, March 26, 2013
In the days following Bear’s passing, my mood controls the weather. On Sunday we are flush with memories, the thought of her being gone so suddenly still fresh and unprocessed and the day is beautiful. Full of sunshine and blue skies and the most magnificent sunset that stops us in our tracks on the road between our house and the neighbours’. Golden light floods the road, pure gold, edged with the deepest pink, casting solid blue shadows on snow banks and the white of the snow-covered road. It would have been a perfect day if Bear had been there to share it.
Monday it is grey. The sky so low I think the treetops might brush against it. It snows, slowly at first, white flakes drifting sadly down through the air. Bear would have loved this, we think, fresh snow to traipse through on her morning wander.
On Tuesday, by late morning, it is blowing an angry gale. At the barn where I work, I fight with sleds all day, my breath is sucked from my lungs. I have to sit on a pile of hay in the middle of the paddock on my way to feed the horses, so it won’t blow away. I almost blow away instead.
The wind sweeps right in to Wednesday. More stolen breath, but this time the sun shines brilliantly, blindingly off the fresh white snow.
And then the wind is gone as we stumble into the end of the week. By Thursday the sun appears early morning from behind clouds that started out thick and grey, thinning quickly until wispy and pink and then gone completely. It is a day for finding warm nooks for napping.
“Has anyone noticed that Bear’s gone?” Morgan asks when a week has almost passed. We had hoped for some kind of sign from the rest of the animals that the star of our show was no longer there. But they all carry on as before. Except, at first, the cats moved back upstairs to sleep on our bed after months of crowding in with Bear. I awoke in the night to an immovable weight at my feet.
Perhaps there would be a reaction from Murdoch, I think, if he and Bear had been playmates, but they never were. The two of them lived under the same roof, shared mealtimes and walked together every day, but everything they did was decidedly separate.
“Where’s Bear?” I ask Murdoch one day, just to see, and he stands tall, cranes his neck to look out the window up the trail down which Bear would wander every morning, appearing out of the forest like some kind of wood spirit. Sometimes she would come at a trot as if she just had a thought that she must be missing something inside, like a second breakfast or toast dropped on the floor or peanut butter.
Well, I think, at least he hasn’t forgotten.
It snows again by the end of the week. Dampness in the air holds on to the bite of winter even as fresh fallen snow melts into dirt roads, turns them into a soupy mess. We forget what it looks like here in the spring, we forget that it is green, and that early pink flowers come up in the garden, and that birds besides grouse and ravens appear in our trees, sing with the sunrise. We forget these things. But, I suppose, soon we will remember.