And rediscovered the night.
And why she won't come in.
I have been full of tears for her, full of sorry-for-myself, full of grieving for an event that has yet to occur, full of prayers, full of everything but seeing this gift of time I still have. Sunday night I went to bed and cried, knowing she will never hop up in that bed next to me again - she is no longer interested; she has found places outside where she'd rather spend her time, and although she wants me near her, she doesn't want it enough to waste what precious moments she has left. If I step outside, she will come to me, wanting her ears rubbed, her back rubbed, wanting to stand next to me, but she seldom follows me in, and when she does, it is usually a short visit.
So Sunday night. In the midst of my tears, I thought she is just outside this wall, and yes, it is midnight, but she is just outside this wall, she is laying in the grass behind Katie's car. Join her. So I did. I took a towel and joined her in the night, made a square pallet on which to sit and joined her, next to the grass, on the driveway. She was up and circling me, rubbing against me, happy, happy that I was out there with her, ending up standing next to me, just standing, touching. Side by side. And I rediscovered the night, the coolness after a daytime of 100+ degrees, the deafening sound of cicadas and what I assume to be tree frogs; I will have to ask. The moonlight. The darkness. The breezes. It was magnificent. When I at last went to bed, I slept like a baby.
Last night I dug out my white & blue striped beach chair, one of those that squoosh together like an umbrella, that hold you cocooned inches off the ground, and found the night again with her. She was perched on the wall of the footbridge that crosses the creek; I nestled as close as I could, and she was down from her spot, circling me again, finding her spot next to my right hand, purring loudly. Again the serenade of seemingly thousands of cicadas, breezes that whispered of yesterday's shower, a half moon bright in the sky behind us. I watched a neighbor across the street switching channels on his tv - impatiently flipping from one station to the next, then, finding nothing, switching the thing off; darkness. A man turned the corner, walking who knows where, talking on his cell phone, totally unaware we were there. Maggie moved closer, and I remembered a photograph taken by the ever-wonderful Michael 4 years ago. I was sick, but I didn't really know it yet - it was springtime, before Easter. Feeling feverish & chilled, I abandoned the couch for the hammock in the back yard, needing the sunshine on my skin, needing the warmth. Maggie was outside & came to me, as she always did when I lay in the hammock, and took her usual spot on the grass below me. When I fell asleep, Michael took a picture of the two of us - I'd forgotten that picture existed; my mother has a copy on her refrigerator. When I see it, I always remember how sick I became, a fever that lasted a month, a couple of stays in the hospital, and I turn away. But now I see Maggie. Coming to me, to be near.
I look back on this blog that was to be about art, and I re-read posts, and it seems that it has been about loss, about letting go, almost from the very beginning. I wonder if I sensed all that when Emmatree was born - if I knew I would need this space to gather myself together. Or is loss just a constant? If I look back, that seems more likely - that life is about birth & beginnings, but just as surely about endings & goodbyes. I feel empty of poetry when I talk about Maggie; it feels as if I used it all up with Mary. I put my fingers over my heart and feel this pain again. Still. This heartache. And I feel I should apologize, should say I'm sorry that there are no flowers here lately - but there is life here. And that means there is also death, and I hate just saying that word, I want to pretty it up, I want to say there are endings, there are passings, I want to say anything but that word, but death is what it is.
This summer will be about Maggie.
I will hold her near.
I will sit with her in the night and watch the stars.