One artist's journey: Trying to live a creative life with grace, grit, gratitude...and a border collie.
(or perhaps I should say: greys, grit and gratitude)

20 March 2014

Wake Up Call

Ten years ago today a little Lightbulbhead went out.  The little Italian Greyhound that followed my every step for eighteen years crossed over.

Since then I have had many remarkable dreams of him...as if he wants to remind me that, one way or another, he is still around.

Over the past couple of weeks, people in three different states have, independently, spoke of their memories of the Gig (aka Litebulbhead).  

In Denver, at the fabulous Meininger's art store:  Pat, when meeting Newt said "you would bring in that miniature greyhound, Giggy"  (It had been at least 12 years since Gig had been in the store…and  probably more than 20 since he was a regular).

At another art store in Santa Fe, the Artisan:  while meeting Newt, T-Bird suddenly exclaimed:  "You had 'Litebulbhead!"  She  recounted his visit to Meiningers when she worked there…wearing his 'wolf' costume (that was nearly twenty years ago!).

Then, a few days later on FB, when a former collector of my pen and ink work of dogs was searching for me…another long lost collector, Linda, chimed in from Tennessee.  She posted a pic of a drawing I did many years ago of her Giant Schnauzer "Jezi" with this comment "Jezi and Lyn's Italian greyhound used to play together at shows and Lyn took pictures of Jezi play bowing to Mr Gig…"

These are people who only met the Gig once or twice…so I find it rather poetic that these encounters came in the days approaching the tenth anniversary of his death…which is today, the first day of Spring.  Perhaps Gig is trying to tell me something…

This path we walk is fraught with twists and turns…and along the way we touch countless others…often without even realizing it.  One can only wonder how many times in the course of your life that your kind word brought a lift to another's spirit…or, sadly, how many times a thoughtless barb has crushed another.

If a wee dog can spark fond memories in passing acquaintances a decade after his death…what then are the memories left in the wake of our own paths?

I cannot honestly say that all of my encounters have left pleasant memories…but I can hope that I have more often left good over bad.  Life has taught me, sometimes the hard way, to look with an open mind and a loving heart.  

As time passes, I am certainly more and more purposely mindful of TRYING to leave a happy wake (even though, being human, I do still trip up more than I'd care to).

Like people, dogs evolve throughout their life.  The puppy that starts its life with us is very different than the old dog we say goodbye to.

When a friend recently commented that her aging dog no longer looked like the young dog she KNEW, I thought of how many times I looked at younger photos of my elderly Italian greyhound and thought "that is not the dog I KNOW".  

If the eyes of our aging pets "look" different to us…possibly it is because they SEE differently than in years before.  

Giggy/Litebulbhead was always amazingly intelligent…but he became wiser with every year of his life.  Those eyes looked at me with such intensity sometimes…such love…even when I had let him (or myself) down.

It is said that the eyes are the mirror to the soul…and, like us, our old dogs' souls have seen so many things.  Not just happiness…but pain, anguish, grief…

UNlike us, their aging eyes still look with boundless hope, infinite forgiveness and unconditional love…even when they know the darkest parts of our flawed human souls.  

My animals are a treasure to me not because I dislike humans…quite the opposite, actually.  They are precious, in part, because they teach me to be a better human and always remind me to keep working on my wake…

Litebulbhead, my little Sensei…thank you for bringing so much light and happiness to so many people (including me).