I have been quiet for a while with words. Lupine remains fully in view with everything I do. It is fine and it is difficult. The passing of time and the end of an era is always stark but the work and life itself is meant to be digested and assimilated and back into the body and heart of life and myself.
I heard from friends that Lupi’s ashes were taken to the Gila where we used to live and my friend’s husband brought and elk bone that Lupine eagerly looked forward too when she saw him and they brought some flowers and launched her ashes down the Gila.
The book that I am reading by Martin Prechtel describes a set of rituals for grief and praise; The Smell of Rain on Dust. It is remarkable how I have gone through these various aspects he talks about with Lupine at death and now with her ashes. He mentions the ocean as a last place to visit with a grief friend and I will do that in California and have dear friends that will accompany me at that time. I trust that will be possible for Lupine and myself.
I am letting death inform life, grief inform praise each day with Lupine and life.
Lupine died today a month ago at 11:00am against her will. I feel her fight and energy to live. Today I am sitting on the toilet in the bathroom and right in front of my nose there is this yellow jacket buzzing to be let out. It flies up and away from my face to the mirror and looks at its reflection curiously. I climb up on the sink, and put it in a glass and take it outside to the wisteria in bloom next door.
When I go to my computer there is a note from my friend up in Paonia that he has set Lupi’s ashes into Minnesota Creek in Apple Valley in Paonia where she was a pup and I first found her just outside of town mixed in with horses leaning into me when I arrived, wolf dog parents, and cattle in the distance. I think about the trepidations I held at that time given her wild sense and overly bitty nature as a pup that eventually turned into a scar under my eye. I could tell she was a force to be reckoned with but I kept choosing her. One other time I thought it might be best to stay with my partner when we split up but that faded and when we moved I drove to the south from the north and she rode with me close to my chest like velcro in the car the whole ten hour drive through the Colorado mountains and pass.
What a good thing she was full of something so vital I could always find it and I still do in the clear air ,and the flowers and sensing her rebirth in this season, and feel that time in fall during her puppy entry to life. Her bite that one the time was fear and not some attack but it was a close call for my eyesight. I have her mark and we are related like blood sisters.
I saw this sign on my evening walk last night and looked over to the path against the fence we would zip out to early within the complex where we have been living and happy to feel maybe she is out there with the coyotes winding up at dusk.
Very windy today and it feels good to get up in the mountains to the creek I went to towards the end of Lupine’s life and leave some ashes. It is a simple walk from the car to a picnic area and beyond to the Little Tesuque that runs along the road.
I do not know why but often Lupine would want to cross the main road and go over to the steep hillside. Maybe she sensed deer or it just looked more wild to her but we sat by the creek and she drank the cool water and perked up whenever we came to this spot, and eventually would eat in the car. Sometimes it took most of the day before she ate but I would sigh a relief, and be in a better mood when she did.
I have an inch or so left of the ashes in her heart jar and want those to go to the ocean with me when I journey there this summer. I have been able to spread her ashes and bits of bone within a month of her death to lovely places we have shared. It feels very good to do this on this earth and water she walked on so vividly and energetically and fiercely.
Time does not heal but gratefulness and peace with life’s rhythm only causes suffering when I resist it. I feel it is such a shock to have such a close friend die, a partner, who is an expression of joy and unconditional heart just vanish as one’s companion. I think I am always going to be someone who fights what is rather then makes peace with letting go.
I mailed off two more packets of ashes today. One is going to Paonia, Colorado and a friend will take them to the creek where Lupine played as a pup and the area she was born. The other packet will go to the Gila River where Lupine really grew up, swam and played with Dancer dog and we hadencounters with wild pigs and ring tail cats and the works.
I stand in line at the post office and people are there with piles of things to mail and it seems a long time but I just take in the day. I worked at the office and before I went there I went on a long walk on the urban trail.
It is so odd to help with projects at work, and never be invited into the projects itself when it is taped to watch. Work is a two man band and that is how it is and other old friends that are men and probably more skilled. I certainly have asked. Most projects with native peoples here is a contained community but I hear about the visit to the old photographer Lee Marmon they went out to meet with about use of photos that are amazing that capture the rituals and the life which was strong before any of us lived here but it seems I cannot even be a fly on a wall.
I know it is not about me but it is the system here and the private way these folks work in their lives, and I need to say I am tired of solo. I know how much Lupine and I created our own adventures and so I feel that absence even more strongly when I am around work. I feel lonely.
This is Paonia and where Lupi was a pup and this is the Gila River where she spent some of her early adolescence and her ashes will fly into the creek and the river of both of these places and I am grateful.
On the way to Taos there is a stop at the bridge over the Rio Grande and ashes are tossed into the river as the water glistens. It is a spot where Lupine and I walked to the shore each time we traveled north, and where I filmed the yellow leaves in the fall.
When arriving in Taos I ask my friends to take the little bag of ashes I have left of Lupine to one of the creek hikes she and Tanto took together.
It was lovely to open my email on the way home, and find a photo from my friend in Santa Cruz of a blue Lupine flower she wants to arrive for Easter. I feel in Taos how very closed down I am until I pet Tanto. I cannot seem to cope with people much or groups, and suck at small talk but enjoy playing in the sandbox with their little grandchild.
I feel the departure from our journey as Lupine and I took different paths. Today I pulled an animal card, and it is it the Heron which is considered a birth from the ashes so today her ashes fly free in one more spot this Easter, and will in another with my friends and their dog. It is part of her creek and river paths through her life and mine.
Using my friend’s photo I layered the lovely forsythia I found on my walk on top of Lupine. She can be with the flowers. Everything has burst into blossom in the last couple of days around town. The adobe offsets the white, pink and yellow blossoms and the wind has not scattered the flowers to the ground. Each day something speaks to me of her life and of my life. Each day I find what is beautiful in our lives.
When Lupine and I moved here we did this together and pioneered our own place. As I drive through town I realize how much we started from scratch and moved every bit of our home into place
We found all our walks, all our places to shop, explore, get lost in and find our way home. I created a solid life for Lupine and she had place. They say that we are their place, and where ever we go they find place because we are there or with them. I find that true now for me each day that Lupi and I found place and without her it is like being rudderless. I continue to take her with me with a mat she had in the back seat and her jar of ashes that I leave in various spots along the way we loved to be.
I drive by an empty lot and feel how she and I walked through that spot and ran into the loose dog or else we made our little forays in various open spaces before going to the editing studio, and even there we walked behind the studio and she loved going down by the wash filled this fall with cottonwood leaves of bright yellow. There is not a spot in Santa Fe that is not about what we did. I feel how I know something about our life and so it is a way to connect with her.
Even at dinner last night with some new people a friend introduced us too I felt her at the table or waiting in the car for me. I was relieved to be back to the car with her with her mat and with her ashes like a hungry lover that wants to be with who they love.
She mirrors my whole life maybe because I was alone, had no family and really no friends here I would spend time with, and when I got to know other people, a few, it was with her and rarely did much where she could not be with me or not that far away to get back to her.
I want to go off on an adventure with her and I am so glad she was in my car so much so that when I do I feel her there. I guess I will be one of those people stuck in this time warp but it is okay because it feels present, it feels not my imagination but actual and palpable.
I love this photo of Lupine a friend Jenya from NDT took while she sat in the arena. She is all fluff and roll and attentive, present. I so value the manner of each animal not as a personality often giving you their identity but just presence and a quality that is Lupine-ness.