Monday, May 14, 2012

The Private Life of Jade

jade asleep Sometimes when I bike home from lunch, if I come in through the back door, I see him asleep on his dog bed.  He no longer can hear me come in, so I sneak through the computer room and stand watching him resting peacefully for a few minutes, completely unaware that I am there.  Though he is still able, it is somehow no longer worth the effort to get up on the couch, so I know I will always find him here.

I hold still and silent, holding my own breath.  I watch him breathe, see his eyes closed tight, imagine him dreaming of younger days of chasing tennis balls and diving into lakes.

I can’t bring myself to disturb him yet, so I go back through the house and quietly let the younger four dogs out into the yard.  Then I proceed through the kitchen, trying to not make any sudden sounds, but trying to make some noise to alert him.  I softly call out “I’m home, Jade.”

Usually by this time he has sensed my arrival, and is on his feet stretching, welcoming me home as if he’s known all along I was here.  I don’t let on that I know differently. 

We join the others outside.  After he makes the rounds, sometimes, like yesterday, he will be feeling peppy and will take off trotting proudly with a soccer ball that he stole from Maebe, even though nobody steals toys from Maebe.  Or, more often, he will find a good stick to chew on and sprawl out in whatever sunbeam he can find in our shady yard. 

I feel both happy and sad watching him in these moments of private mid-day slumber, my glimpses of life into Jade’s world.  It is peaceful and sweet, and I treasure that he is with us and in good health.  It is also melancholy, reminding me that like all of us, he is aging and his senses aren’t what they used to be, and it often leaves me with a sense of sorrow. 

Maybe he isn’t dreaming of tennis balls and swimming.  Maybe all he has ever asked for is a comfy place to rest until we return each day and a sunbeam to bask in.  Maybe it is our own discomfort with aging, with change, with what we fear, that is making me sad.  Maybe his golden years are restful and complete and he doesn’t spend time wishing for what used to be or dreading what is to come.

Either way, in these moments he is as beautiful and as precious as he has ever been to me. 

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