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.
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.
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.
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
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.