Lying on our great room floor with Blender, I pull his head to mine and smell the musty incense of dust and fur that I’ve waken to each morning for a decade. Our vet tightens a tourniquet around his leg, inserts a needle and his lumbering, ragged breath falls still. I cry until my tears soak his soft, silk ears.
In a valley in western china there’s a rumble, a rising fear, and in the settling snow a friend lies in state like a glacier king, surrounded by the ruins of the mountain that fell down around him. A world away my phone rings. A voice cracks. “He’s gone,” she cries.
From this airplane I see a creek bed like a beetle’s track in the tidy geometry of Colorado’s farm country. No telling when it last flowed, or why it dried up. Though the water is gone, the memory of it remains in the channel it carved. Our house, half empty now, is filled with the spirit of our forever-gone friends: Climbing packs and old ropes still sparkling with Joshua Tree dust from our time with Jonny there; the flame in our wood stove a whisper from the earth to which we gave our gentle hound.
Some evening when our eyes are drier you’ll haul out the big cutting board and slice limes into new moons. I’ll walk to the cabinet, the worn wood floor cool as clay beneath my feet, and uncork our best tequila. We’ll soften our throats and talk, not about what we’ve lost, but about what we loved.