Tuesday, July 13, 2010
It's been a while. Teaching pretty much non-stop, since it's summer and that means everyone else's needs come before mine. In a way this is good because this gives me much to meditate on, and plenty of distraction when things do not go smoothly. Long stretches of teaching affect my practice, however, because it means I teach instead of practice with others, and I have to rely on myself to lead my own practice. Often easier said and intended than done.
We lost one of our beloved hens in May. I don't think I ever wrote much about our birds on this blog, but for some reason my fellow decided that our country life would not be complete without some country critters. He met a chicken who needed rescuing, and last year we took Carolina Chicken (also known as CC) into our home and hearts. (For reference: she is the hen on the right in the photo. The other we call Ninja.) Our faithful pit mutt Natasha somehow learned to love sharing us and her land with CC, and the two became fast friends.
This would explain why, when CC fell ill, our Natasha suffered as well. Tashy was creeping past sixteen years of a full life, so she certainly started showing signs of age well before CC's illness. I had to take note, though, of her melancholy when her hen pal began acting lethargic. We treated her illness and saw some improvement and a return to vitality... for a short time.
One morning we awoke to the sounds of Ninja squawking more loudly than we'd ever heard. The only time we hear such sounds, we know we've got an intruder on the premises. Except this time Natasha accompanied the ruckus with whining, crying and pacing.
The mister went outside to find our CC dead.
Neither of us humans expected to be so moved by the loss of a chicken. The mister openly wondered what it would be like when we had to let Natasha go. We tried not to think about that very real inevitability.
Natasha never really recovered from the loss of her henpal. We knew these two unrelated species somehow got along famously, but we had no idea how much they'd bonded. Tashy's walks went from already shortened to nonexistent, as she seemed to lose all energy.
An unexpected visit from out-of-town friends brought two more dog pals into the mix. We could catch little glimmers of the old spark in Tashy's eyes as she held court for her guests... only to spend the entire next day after their departure asleep in her bed.
That night she woke us with cries, again. This time she needed to go outside, but was unable to lift herself up on her own. The mister and I accepted what had to come next.
Luckily we had a vet friend who made house calls. The next day we were able to say goodbye to our best canine friend in the comfort of our own home, on one of her favorite blankets. The mister had never witnessed the loss of a loved one so directly, which made it all the sadder for me. It's already hard enough to watch someone you love die; watching someone else you love in pain only compounds the suffering.
Some days are better than others. Just like in one's practice. The postures might be the same but the body and mind are different. I can feel sun on my face as I try to dig out of my hole. Perhaps soon I can get back on track to living the more examined life. Until then, I'll keep breathing and missing my friend.