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A Soul-Searching Weekend

I've been down in the muck for a couple of months now, ever since my sweet Nara pup started to show signs of illness. Even then I had hoped and prayed for a few more years with her by my side. Someone else had other plans for her, and Nara said her goodbyes with a wagging tail and bright eyes filled with love.

This last weekend I went for one of our favorite walks, a peaceful walk of four miles that she hadn't been able to enjoy since she became sick. I haven't been able to go back since she left, feeling somehow disloyal to her because I was still here to enjoy it. She loved to go for a dip in the river and meet up with other dogs who happened upon us. Most of the time we had the trail to ourselves.

I returned because I knew it's what she'd want. I took pictures, basked in the sunlight, and listened to the rushing river wend its way through the valley and into Flathead Lake.

I finished a poem, contemplated life and work, but mostly I sat by the river, enjoyed a long walk, and remembered all the many blessings that have touched my life, especially in the darkest times. I didn't realize how much I needed this balm for the soul, to remember the happy moments instead of the final sad days. I needed to remember that I love writing, because I'll admit, the past few weeks I've thought otherwise.

I enjoy regular email communication with a friend who lives back east, a friend I haven't seen in seventeen years but still we keep in touch, and we've both been quite maudlin, though for different reasons. I enjoyed the company, though it wasn't good for either of us to continue on as we were. I wanted to feel sad because somehow it made me feel better, in my own twisted logic. When I started to think about taking a break from writing, giving up on something I love, I knew I'd hit a really low point. Sadness can do that to a person.

Walking along the river again, listening to nature's quiet wisdom, I felt Nara with me and knew she'd never really left. I sat on our favorite rock, took out my notebook and pen, and wrote. The rush of love and hope brought me great peace, more than I'd been able to find elsewhere. As I wrote, I once again found joy in doing what I love. The floodgates opened, a new story emerged, and the block in my writer's imagination crumbled. Her love is a gift that has given time and time again, and as I walked home, she was there beside me.

A New Angel

A new angel ascended to the heavens,

Welcomed by celestial sunshine.

Her pain forever forgotten,

Old friends forever remembered.

The wind carries her spirit,

The sky glitters with her star,

The mountains remember her footprints,

The heavens rejoice in her homecoming.

I whisper her name,

And warmth fills the empty room.

Our souls touch beyond time,

And comfort overflows the void she left behind.

She’ll frolic and dream and play,

Gazing beyond the grassy knolls.

With her wait two friends,

Their paw prints etched upon our hearts.

When at last, our eyes meet

Across the bridge of colors and dreams,

Our hearts will rejoice to unite again

And run free together in the fields of paradise.

—MK McClintock


In memory of Nara “McClintock”

Best Friend & Four-Legged Companion

August 2009 – April 2017


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