Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Simon says, "Thumbs up!" ... "Thumbs down!" "Ah, ah--No one said, 'Simon says' that time! You're out!"

Whew boy! Sadly, the weekend's ended. A new week begins. The hint of summer, just days away, has always lifted my spirits ever since those end-of-school, beginning-of-vacation inculcations of my youth. The approach of another June is no different. Well, save for my platter which presently has some pretty weighty stuff on it. Stuff that until digested, anchor down spirits otherwise itching to soar.

And so, with the end of our national weekend honoring the dead, it's back to those weighty issues of the living. From global to personal, they are many. But that was the beauty of three days with attentions distracted by memories of loved ones passed. Maybe some of us visited those flagged and flowered places that trigger the resurrections of loved ones, if only in our minds. Or maybe we gathered with friends. Or cooked out, or dined out. Or, maybe some just gave thanks.

Thanks is what I mostly gave the past three days. That's because a veterinary clinic visit was out of the question. It was a three day reprieve for the wife and I as "gods." And it was a three day reprieve for our dog, Po'. And that's where it's so damn hard playing gods. Because for all we know, Pony may have been wishing it was a shorter weekend these past three days. Or maybe she hoped it would never end.

Over the weekend I received a call from an old high school friend. He and his wife were debating what to do about their beautiful Lab' of nearly 14 years. Having cancer surgery a year ago worked well, but the debilitations of time are now taking their toll. My friend wanted to discuss a scheduled sonogram for their dog and having had two greyhounds who each had a sonogram, I suppose I could speak to that. I told him, in the case of our two, the sonograms did little to "conclude" anything, i.e., both of them died eventually anyway.

But grappling with our own dog's problems, he and I commiserated for each other's ailing animal and the roles which we now share. We were one shy of a Conference Call of Gods. I expect we'll each know more as the day unfolds.

As I went into the predawn garage this morning, I glanced out on the patio where Pony, my old editor, chose to move several weeks ago after the association of her pain with the house became just too strong for her to spend much time inside anymore. She spends her nights on what has become her chaise lounge.

Lying in the darkness with a soft breeze raking across her, I knelt to say "Good morning!" To stroke her ears, rub her belly and kiss that old, now whitened head of hers. She responded in kind by reaching out and holding my arm as she always has.

Moments later in the kitchen, I turned to see Pony coming through the doggie door. Turning, she immediately went into the computer room! This is where she used to sleep. On a loveseat adjacent to the computer, she spent the past year establishing this blog, serving as my editor. And now, to my surprise and delight, she was back after several weeks absence! After that, there was no way this could be Pony's last day on Earth.

But my elation soon faded. Old Po's discomfort wouldn't allow her to stay. She jumped down after a minute or two. But to her credit, she tried twice more to find her old spot on the loveseat in which she had spent hours of so many days, but that spot's no longer there. Pony just couldn't stay. Conceding, she returned to the patio in darkness, to her last comfortable place on Earth.

Pony's days are hell, marked by constant stress and inability to rest anywhere--even her chaise lounge. She staggers around in a valium haze, the promise of her latest medicine unable to break the pain or her addiction to what little pain relief the valium gives, which some days is little. Thankfully, Pony's nights are better. We think it's because her days exhaust her so from all the discomforts and stress. Maybe today will be Pony's last day?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this, Dada. Your evocative description of Pony's morning remind me that dogs are truly our link to paradise. She attempted to do some editing .. and you kissed her head .. moments of caring & clarity. Your love will stand the test. D.K.

dada said...

DK--Thanks for the kind words. More on Pony soon. "Happily", she's not suffering any longer. I'm sure I'll have more to say on this in a mini-eulogy in the next couple of days.

some_maineiac said...

all dogs go to heaven when they die... only humans can conceive of a place of eternal suffering.

dada said...

Maineiac: Truthfully, I think that's one of the best "wrap-ups" I've ever read. Thanks for sharing that. It's neat, succinct, and pretty damnned inclusive.

I have no doubt all dogs go to heaven. Hmmm, I'm rehashing the second half of that. You suppose we dreamt up hell, because we're the only species that so richly deserves one?

some_maineiac said...

excellent point for discussion, dada...

I think the notion of hell came about as a consequence of civilization and the evolution of society away from our primitive roots as co-operative hunter-gatherers...as toolmaking (technology) advanced to the point where humans got better and better at killing and taking from each other, concepts of hell begin to surface...there is a sense of an afterlife, but there are no lords of the underworld and places of eternal suffering in the religious art of prehistoric man, or even in the culture of native americans, but Hades came to exist as an idea in the mythology of the ancient Greeks, the progenitors of western civilization, who were pretty darned good at killing for their time...

in a figurative sense, perhaps the possibility of the existence of hell came into being in the collective unconscious in that scene from "2001:A Space Odyssey" when the leader of one clan of primitive humans clubs a member of a competing clan to death, for the sole purpose of access to drinking water...and the other members of his clan who have learned to use tools join in...

Anonymous said...

Oh dada, this is hard, I know, but I look forward to hearing The Story of Po. Our heads must be pretty strange places since they're able to so easily conjure images down to the tiniest detail of those who've stepped into eternity. Those wonderful pictures you've posted of her sweet face and that missing piece of ear -- such a rare beauty to have walked & lived among us mere mortals ! D.K.

Anonymous said...

Maineiac, excellent thoughts on how the concept of hell materialized. So...we owe the ancient greeks quite a bit it seems! To me, the concept of hell is much the same as the boogey-man, the reason a child must be "good" or else something bad will happen later. Developed to scare primitive people into whatever their society deemed proper behavior. of course the people couldn't be trusted to have any moral sense of their own to guide them -- nooo, need priests or somesuch outsider creatures to torture us into morality.

But, as one who has watched that early man scene in 2001 a gazillion times, I must take issue with your thought that the original clubbing was "for the sole purpose of access to drinking water". I would correct that to "for the purpose of SOLE ACCESS to drinking water" ... it was their unwillingness to SHARE that was at the root of the killing (sharing being a concept we have to teach children quite early because it does NOT seem to be ingrained, but behavior taught in different ways by each society).

So it must be that the early humans had been fighting over water for some time, albeit mostly limited to threatening displays. It was the sudden appearance in their midst of the foreign monolith that altered one clan's brains into somewhat different patterns, perhaps thinking outside the box for the first time, allowing them to see the value of using a tool to ensure successful SOLE access to water & other resources. They were so successful, heaven help us, we've been unable to think outside that particular box for 5 million years, just with much more efficient weaponry now.

Ape-man stories ... I could probably whip one out for any occasion. (sorry, dada, couldn't resist going off-track, but mentioning 2001 is like providing fresh blood for a tigerrrrrh). D.K.

some_maineiac said...

I sit corrected, DK, your re-arrangement of the words is the true meaning behind the scene that I referenced...

Of course, the classic vision of hell as the realm of Satan and eternal suffering was brought to us by the early christians (too bad they didn't have "South Park", I like that depiction of Satan much better)

a quick trip through Wikipedia embellishes my reference to the ancient Greeks...the first hints of a place of suffering are given in stories of the friendless and the paupers who could not afford to buy their passage across the river Styx from Charon and so were left forever on the near shore...Styx was the river of hate (interesting analogy there) and marked the boundary between the upper and lower worlds...the first hints of a purgatory are here as well in the Fields of Asphodel, the first region of Hades, described in Odyssey xi, "where the shades of heroes wander despondently among lesser spirits, who twitter around them like bats. Beyond lay Erebus, which could be taken for a euphonym of Hades, whose own name was dread. There were two pools, that of Lethe, where the common souls flocked to erase all memory, and the pool of Mnemosyne ("memory"), where the initiates of the Mysteries drank instead. In the forecourt of the baleful palace of Hades and Persephone sit the three judges of the Underworld: Minos, Rhadamanthys and Aeacus. There at the trivium sacred to Hecate, where three roads meets, souls are judged, returned to the Fields of Asphodel if they are neither virtuous nor evil, sent by the road to Tartarus if they are impious or evil, or sent to Elysium with the heroic or blessed."

Anonymous said...

Hey, maineiac, I was sure that's what you meant, just couldn't let a chance to expound on my favorite subject (early man) slip by. Thanks for the great recap of grecology, too. So that must be why pennies are put on the eyes of the dead, right? To be able to pay for your passage across Styx. Hummm, your description of 3 regions of hades reminds me very much of the mormon idea of the 3 heavenly kingdoms. Now keep in in mind I walked away from all that at age 14, but from what I remember, "the celestial is the highest kingdom where men will be reunited with their families, beget celestial children & further serve God." In my naivete, I had naturally asked, what about the women, what will they do in the celestial kingdom? Answer: they will raise the celestial children !! Since this seemed more like my idea of hell, no wonder I exited at an early age, huh? -- D.K.

enigma4ever said...

"moments of clarity and caring"...that is what you had with Pony...kissing her head...having her as your editor this past year...namaste.