Do you ever find yourself acting on an idea whose genesis you can’t trace? Where’d that idea come from?
Maybe you were sitting on your couch, feeling a little sad, missing someone, perhaps, or feeling forlorn. Then, next you know, you feel an impulse blow through you.
“I need to get out!” You say. “I need some fresh air!”
Sometimes, we are the ones who whisper these ideas to you, we spirits in the After who never really leave, who always watch and wait for you to listen.
In this way, Lucas found himself following a notion to take Emery for a run along the boardwalk. Oh, yes! I explicitly whispered, “Emery! Emery wants a run! And it will do you good, too.”
By the time Lucas stopped running, he found himself wondering. What was he doing there? I rode the breeze around him. Emery barked softly.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it, pup?” he said.
Do you know that you can see us in reflected light? I shimmered over the waves, singing Lucas’s name, but only Emery listened.
“You’re not alone here, Emery,” I sang. “You’re not alone!”
Lucas let him off the leash, and Emery raced down to the dock, passing another dog, a stray.
Nougat is a boxer with a tail that’s never been bobbed and ears that have never been clipped. She’s lived on the beach for a few months in a loose pack of strays.
Lucas called over an Irish setter, who’d been following Nougat. But it wasn’t the setter that I’d brought Lucas here to see.
“Out on the dock,” I whispered. “Keep on!”
While Lucas befriended Nougat, the dog I’d led them there to meet appeared: Prissy, a beautiful, intelligent, friendly border collie with the right spirit to bring healing to a home submerged in grief.
Prissy raised her head and sang, long and low, stirring in me all the memories of life and living in a house full of pups.
with sticks and balls and bones
with a rug on the floor in a home
What a dog,
what a dog
wants: a home,
a stick, a bone.
Her song got inside of us.
“You look so lonely,” Lucas said to Nougat. “Do you like living here on the beach, scrounging for food? Wouldn’t you rather come home with us?”
Of course she wanted that. It was fine with Emery, too, but it wasn’t what he had in mind.
What a dog
with a tail and ears and brown eyes
What a dog
with cute feet and just the right size
I like a dog
with long fur
and a song
What a dog…
Nougat and I liked his song, but Nougat knew he wasn’t singing about her.
“You’ve caught another dog’s scent, then?” she asked.
He looked up the dock, where Prissy sat.
“She can sing,” he replied.
He trotted up beside her.
“Come meet Lucas,” he said.
And the moment she met him, the moment Lucas met her, we knew, this border collie had found her new home.
But what about Nougat? We can’t leave her behind!
She ran and pounced on Lucas.
“Oh!” he said. “You know the great game of Pounce? Then you belong with us!”
Of course I had my reasons in sending Lucas to the beach with Emery. I hoped he’d find a beautiful dog to bring home.
He surprised me by bringing home two.
The house was full again–six big dogs! And Lucas spent all his time filling supper dishes, bathing dirty dogs, and mopping muddy paw prints.
But through all his efforts, he smiled. He sang.
“So many dogs
So little time!
“So many paws!
Each one divine!”
There are as many ways to heal from grief as there are to grieve. But every healing happens through love.