I am a sometime artist (although I always think of myself as primarily a writer), and I was rifling through some boxes of prints and stuff today looking for a pen and ink drawing I did of another author some years ago. Didn’t find it, dammit.
But I did find more than I bargained for: some drawings I did of a beloved little Dalmatian of mine, a difficult little d*ck, always cranky, very sensitive. At one time I had five Dalmatians, they “run” in the Langstaff family (in the old days between the horses’ legs under carriages–it goes way back). Anyway, I also had a full brother to him, Booger, who was stone deaf, but hugely beautiful, absolutely stunning. They both lived long and full lives, 17 and 18 years respectively, and both are buried under a Leyland cypress tree I planted long ago on this little farm.
Eddie (in the mandala above) was always a challenge; I felt I had to cheer him up all the time, tell him life wasn’t all that bad. He was the absolute inverse of his larger bro, Boog (down there, on the right, “Booger & A Burger”), who was resolutely sunny and very funny, a real comedian. More than once I ran out into a busy street and interposed myself between oncoming traffic and his sweet self–and he always thought it was hilarious–what a cool trick he had played on me yet again. When would that idiot ever learn?
Well, I never did.
But these two drawings of Eddie brought them both back to me and tonight they both lie planted underneath the cypress tree I planted. I guess I planted everything. Elvis, my big green cursing parrot, is somewhere in there too in an old cigar box, his little bird bones mixed up with–God forfend! Dalmatians! I can still hear him squawking, outraged, indignant at the declasse’ of it all. He hated dogs. Oh how he did and how he derided them. One got perfectly sick of it, all the noise and insults, one day and that was THE END for Elvis.
They all deserved so much better. Convinced me, anyway. Don’t we all, though? Deserve better? Maybe, maybe not. I walk by that tree every day and think of all of them.
For some reason Eddie’s crusty irascible temperament inspired me for years to try to render him through art as peaceful, placid, at home in the world, comfortable. These are a few of my feeble attempts to transform him into a state of bliss.
The love somehow does not seem lost, even though they are gone, having turned into fertilizer at this stage, not gone, still living, as long as we have the memories and vivid sensations of caring so much.