Sunday, March 12, 2017

A Chapter From The Book of Barkley

CHAPTER 45 - Talking to Dog (From The Book of Barkley - Love and Life Through the Eyes of  Labrador Retriever by L.B. Johnson)

(Barkley's) pain had grown worse since I brought him home, another visit planned, a specialist consulted at my vet’s recommendation.  The last anti-inflammatory pill gone, I went to the Animal Hospital to get a refill, even though we had an appointment in two days to take another x-ray of the bone, to see if there were changes, to discuss biopsy, the doctor not ruling out bone cancer as yet.

He took it reluctantly, until I put a bit of peanut butter on it, which he then let me lay on his tongue, as if receiving a communion wafer.
 I can do nothing more for him today, but relieve his pain as best I can, while I sit and stroke his flank, talking to him in a soothing voice.

I talk to my dog a lot. People would probably think me daft, sitting and talking to my dog, but outdoors or just sitting some evening quietly watching the fire, I can talk softly about the things that will matter to me the rest of my life. And he only reacts to the heat of my words or the urgency of tone as I talk about missing people I love, and the nature of death and fate and the way I've had to look deep into my own capacities to become the person I am. He just looks, and he listens.
But I also talk to God a lot.

I've certainly had to ask for that forgiveness in my talks with Him. For we talk regularly, in the woods, hunting with my Browning, when the light has a weary quality to it, like a backwater pool of light lying low, winter's light is crisp, clean, illuminating everything so clearly.  The words are less than wishes and more than regrets, and even if I did not state them out loud, I could hear them with my breathing as they gathered within the intent of breath and came forth in a rush of cold air, invisible words going up to an invisible God.
Sometimes He and I talk as I'm sitting in a vehicle in the middle of a scene of dark desolation, ash in my hair, red smeared on my boots, as bold as if painted on a door frame, a sign, that, for tonight, I was to be spared.  Perhaps this one time I did not save His sparrow that He perhaps neglected to mark, but I am here to reconcile the remains. It's just talk, but it's still a prayer; prayer being more than the order of words, the conscious calling of the mind that is speaking, or the sound of the voice praying. I do not expect to hear anything back, the communication between us tongued with fire beyond the blaze that is dying next to me.But it's comforting; words spoken into the void, penitence and belief, as all around hope is falling into embers. He may not respond, but He is here, never and always, just like the four-legged form of love that lies beside me, drawing goodness even from the core of his suffering