These days I am lacking words it seems. My mind is blanketed in clouds during this New York Summer’s radiance. Ungratefully so, because it is truly beautiful. My old German Shepherd, my Ivan, is dying. I am saying good-bye for a while now. It’s between him and I, and we both know it is time to part soon
I have laughed and cried into that fur for so many years. Precious times when he was all I had it seemed. Days where I’d speak to nobody but my dog. Makes one remember the days which were just days.
Friday I had locked myself out and slipped through the open kitchen window, where I held on to the sink before landing on the floor boards. He almost bit my head off. I guess he forgot his arthritis for a split second and remembered when he realized it was me.
For years we would walk through the woods along the river every late afternoon. One time we were up to the hips in snow when he sniffed out a fresh wolf trail. He is as much a part of Alaska as my heart is. I guess Alaska chose us, because we didn’t have much say.
I’ve traveled much, and I can’t explain it, but I miss Alaska like a homesick child. Flying over the alaskan range, seeing the mountains, breathing in the crisp air, or looking over the wide empty river valleys of Denali gives me peace. On hikes, you see the glaciers creating ice cold turquoise-grey streams just high enough to wash your hands, scrub off your feet and get some water. Slowly rippling through the heart of where no man should ever set foot. Ivan would be next to me, sharing these happy moments and so many others for our six years there. It amazes me how we can communicate with our animals, without speaking a single word.
( You can see how very beautiful it is, on this photo from my last trip.)
How I love the silence together, and so very much the appreciation of those who also do. Just sitting on the mountain, and feeling the wind and the sun, the snow and the rain. Just shy clings of a metal cup, water running slowly into a jet-boil, or the muffled sound of the little propane flame igniting. I have to try very hard to hold on and not drown even just a little. It is so very tempting to give in, and feel nothing in moments like these. And please don’t misunderstand, I do not see the loss of my old friend as a terrible tragedy of life. It is a part of life, like everything else coming our way.
But the clouds are already back for a while again. The start of emotional disconnection, the typical loneliness deep inside, the problems concentrating on a simple task, the aching in my body. Sensing all the textbook triggers, I am already fighting off demons. But I got this. We know each other well. I help you if you’re there. We don’t need to go down every time. Faith! Strength! It’ll hurt, but you can keep on walking with shades.