Arbor and Stream Ashes Second Stop

It is a lovely spring day with billowing clouds and rain drops. Driving out to Tesuque Creek once   again I bring Lupine’s ashes on her dog pad. The creek is muddy but rushing faster then usual and I figure it gives the DNA a bit of momentum downstream. I photograph some of the parts we navigated across the stream but often we just trudged up the center of it until we hit the arroyo and go uphill and watch the weather move in and out. The best thing about the place we lived was the view and the light in the house. The funny studio outside was a good place to put up art but it was either too hot or cold to spend much time in but lovely to go sort drawings and now and then do an art sale with a neighbor on the weekend but mostly it was this space where people came and went in need of a short term break at our place. Lupine always relished the visitors and would greet them in the morning when they would come in to use the house or make a cup of tea.

The storms remain magnificent with rainbows and like today the clouds that are mountain tops. The creek has been through so much and now it is more like this funnel of water banking of the eroding hillsides but in the desert it is water. I carry the jar of ashes in my pack and thank Lupine for her company up in the hills of Tesuque and toss ashes up in the air as they lift and then are pulled into the stream.

When I get home I find a card from the specialist Dr. B that finally found out what Lupine was dealing with in her mouth after so many wrong turns. Altho we could not work with her as our Vet, she just specialized in dentistry and had a packed schedule that made the wait too long to even find out what was going on with Lupine; she was the most present vet. I stayed in touch with her and then told her office Lupine had to be put down. The card is for a tree to be planted in Lake Tahoe in Lupine’s name at the Arbor Day Foundation. The card says “If you seek my  monument look around you.”

This is the tree Lupi would sit under for shade by the creek and the road that cut through some land to upstream and the often flooded out road up over the rise and down and back to our place Senda.

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Blooming

On her little knoll by the painted stone the flowers I planted have all bloomed in a row.She entered the edge of spring in her dying as she heads through the last meal, the good but hard friday and easter of shifts and changes. A friend once said you cannot have easter without good friday.

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Ending of March

I am making a final dvd of the tribute to Lupine. I can keep working on the images and story but know it is important to complete it and continue with the changes that are going on in our lives and trust the continual momentum that this precipitates rather then sink back into life as usual although nothing has felt usual for a long time. Deep down I do not accept she is gone but maybe I do not need to do this and feel what imbues life with her essence which is all around me. It is not like nostalgia but something thicker in the air, sky and land. It does not take me anywhere but brings me here with heart.

Dingos at Wild Spirit

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Song

I know this song is about migration and much more but it makes me think of Lupine and finding her through time. It is from Winged Migration one of my favorite films about the pure energy of nature and birds. Probably very hard to read but the chorus is : For I know one thing love comes on a wing for tonight I will be by  your side but tomorrow I will fly. I kept feeling each moment we were together was this flight we were taking next to one another for a bit longer and then the time was going to come for her to just fly off as the tumor took over more and more. I continue to see that last morning when she fell into this sleep of exhaustion then her waking and then this sudden poignant look and turning to her and seeing if she wants to go with me to the place where she and I could not go any further. It is like she wanted to just keep traveling until this whole dilemma would end. I know how much I wanted her to be free but not leave. What a tough thing that is, and how much it takes to assist her out of her body and to be left behind in that moment.

Her look was so very beautiful and open and her leaning against my leg that morning before she went up on the hill to make her nest and sleep was an otherness that I am not sure even is maternal. The whole time I felt in unison with her even when she thrashed in the car and the way just a small embrace let me settle her in my lap. There was this sensation of reaching through the dark to grab onto her as she slipped into that place of collapse, and then feeling her breathe, being very still and whispering to let go and simultaneously letting go in myself of wanting her to stay even for a second.

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Raven’s Pond

Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary is a brave endeavor. It is a place where wild captive breed animals are rescued and given a lifetime home after being abused or just not appropriate for pets. But most of all they are not capable of being wild. I met dingos, coyotes, foxes and wolf dogs. Each animal has a story and some very hard; like the coyote that was chained up and left and the chain had to be surgically removed or the wolf dog that someone shot in the face because it was in their neighborhood because someone had abandoned the animal. Angel the coyote now has her own den and coyote neighbors and the lovely blind Shasta has her own roost that she climbs up on and bathes in the sun and both chime in along with the other members of the community when they howl. They open that place in the heart that is wild, sad and tender.

I brought Lupine’s ashes with me to Wild Spirit and took a small bag of them out and carried them to the famous black timber wolf Raven’s pond. He was the first ambassador with the public. He is no longer alive a book about Raven and his Man is a wonderful and touching account of what Raven taught everyone about wolves and the deep and hard won friendship between Leyton Cougar the director of the sanctuary and Raven.

I first met Raven and Leyton when Lupine was a pup and I was impressed with Raven’s size his eyes ,and his straightforward manner of relating to me and the dogs. Now, having lost my own wolf dog I can feel the way the wolf energy is powerful and about what is wild and currently being lost. It is not just Lupine’s death personally that I attribute to this sense of loss but of the wild itself.They are losing ground literally and figuratively in our world.

Driving to and from the sanctuary we pass casinos and fast food stores and trucks carrying goods in large streams along 40, and one wonders what we will do with all this stuff. Once headed down the road to the sanctuary we come into Navajo and Zuni country and some ranching folks and it slows and the momentum of goods being delivered is quieter. There is that odd mix of often poor rural townships that I felt in Gila. I feel it as this teeter tooter of poverty and simplicity.

There was a crisis the morning we arrived at the sanctuary it seems someone may have thrown some poisoned meat over the fence and Brutus, one of the wolves, is waiting for his partner to return after this event. He seemed to have pulled out of of the neurological reactions but she may have not so it is a waiting game. The evening and morning laced into the sky filled howls I am quite sure one resounding voice was Brutus missing his mate, and this feeling of others in the tribe consoling or sharing in the body of feeling this brings to these animals. They are protected and yet they are hated in some of the dogged rural mindsets that demonize these animals.

I think about cows and how much less burger we could do without even if that were the issue, which it is not by a long shot and how much more we could have the breathtaking sound of these animals more alive and present in our mountains and countryside. We want to recreate in the wild but often we do not just want to leave it alone for itself but have to make “use” of everything.

One of the oldest wolves, Contessa ambles and paces while some of the younger wolves with sharp yellow eyes like Rain drift at the back of their enclosure less eager to come up to where I am shooting some pictures. The wolves and wolf dogs and other animals can be adopted for support and the tours educate people about their lives and habits. It is a rough environment with more jobs one can imagine accomplishing but with help, luck and endurance these animals and more to follow with find sanctuary.

I listened to all the voices and howls during the night  as when one would begin and the others join in and when dawn arrived it was powerful. I still hear them like the ocean and feel something comforting and in need of protection. I hear Lupine in their voices and feel her there and here now.

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Going to Meet the Relatives

Tomorrow Lupine’s ashes go on a trip to meet her progenitors; wolves, dingos, fox and coyote at the sanctuary four hours from here. It is a first evening of total wolf audio-rama of their sound at night and morning since we camp close to them, and visit with them at the rescue. They are animals that did not work as pets, and are not able to be pets and rightly so but also they are not able to be in the wild. I am sure Lupine can relate to the experience of traveling both worlds.

I ran into RR Martin who has wolves in his book The Game of Thrones who is a big fan of the wolf sanctuary. Funny I saw him since I sent him the video of Lupine and there he was later in the afternoon in the health food store where I gathered a few things for the trip.

What I find is I do normal and then suddenly I feel her so strongly and find myself heading down the pet aisle again and become aware it is not my path right now.

I worked at the studio today to gather some more footage finish the film about urban gardens and hopefully I can shoot some shots of wolves for future use to at least see what I can do help their work at the rescue as a filmmaker. But Lupine is this underground stream always running, always wetting the earth of my heart and I remain grateful for this and distraught she is not going to be waiting for me to let her sniff around the store parking lot before I drive off with the groceries, one of our many little pleasure adventures in town.

Buddha and Portable Lupi

Driving out to get the ashes we passed the place where my friend Lorna sang a song for Lupine. Pulling into the grounds the dogs begin to bark and the barn where Lupine once was is behind the main building. It is simpler today with the male owner not being there and the woman just pulling the ashes out of the shelf and saying what nice container I found for Lupine.  I looked at the tiny bones, and ashes and nestle them close in the car. The road to distant lands and realm I know nothing about at this time.

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