2920 Days With Leonard

Beloved is your name,
and it becomes more slippery to find words for this tradition, begun on a whimsical heart impulse during our first year.

This dog-heart love has sunk below all recognisable mapping.

I am lost to loving you, and have given up trying to translate, name, make a poem or a love song that could ever do justice to this.

Last year, I failed to make a mark.

It would have been 2555 days with Leonard… I was lost to my own heart, and cannot go anywhere near what matters most in those moments. The triumph of dark and lonely these days, is the thread that still somehow binds me to home… I don’t feel it, but the dust of me knows it.

Weird huh. And, I still can’t write from there. 
A horrible place, yet part of my home address.

You are always here.
Fragility is home ground.
We all live here in the fragile of uncertainty.

You, dear Leonard, like your namesake, have helped me bend and yield to that simple, true thing… we hang by threads of light, threads of prayers, maybe even threads of freedom.

If I have to lose you in this little life of mine, don’t anyone make a whisper or a speck of reference to dog-love being less than human love. Just don’t, or do… what do I know about what, if, when, who… but I know this, if that happens, some well-meaning person will be thrown into a tsunami masterclass in love coming how it comes. As Leonard the man once said: deep, undefended love, comes how it comes, a mother, a man or a woman, a dog, a friend. He invites us to know it when it does, and dive deep, swim in gratitude.

I swim in the gratitude for each of these days.

2920 days equals 8 years, and on this morning 8 years ago, I woke early, triple checked everything was ready to receive and welcome you home, cuddled Bebe (the then 4 legged panther) and went to Watford on the train to meet my buddy Fern. We drove into Cambridgeshire and found the slightly David Lynch type small holding, with the cluster of sheds with puppies… not a no holds barred puppy farm by any means, Kennel Club registered and all that, but for sure not home bred. A puppy business, and you, little Leonard spent your formative weeks inside this small space with your siblings and mum.

It still kind of breaks my heart.
It left you with a few issues concerning overwhelm. 
Your way of expressing: this is all too much was to sit down. Just stop. I learned to wait with you. Sometimes a very short walk took a very long time, but I stayed and talked nonsense in a reassuring tone, knowing if I picked you up and carried you through the overwhelm it would set up a shape… I knew you needed staying with not rescuing.

You have and do teach me love, loving, being loved… being loved and trusted by a non-human being is gift beyond measure. You have taken me, not only to my capacity (again beyond any kind of measure) to love, but the accountability of such an arrangement. I am your safe, and you need me to be reliable, constant, to hear you when subtle patterns emerge that need attention, to allow you the freedom to be fully yourself, whilst standing steady, unwavering, and falling more deeply in love with all you are.

I love that you have a life that is your own without me, and that I get glimpses of it via WhatsApp video. As my back started to break down leaving me more crippled, less able to give you the miles that you need each day, the angels sent Daniella. We now have an extended Familia… Dani, Rodriguez, and soon to be born Pedro. They love you; we love them… it is not mechanistic dog care, of which there is a lot in London. Dogs are very on trend, especially particular breeds, so there are many slick services going through the motions, with zero dog empathy.

You were the beginning of Dani and Rodriguez opening The Dog Heart Hotel. We are all heart kin.

As I tap away, early morning happening outside the window, you snore by my side. You are the only being, apart from a tiny girl that with her mother, became a family of three for a few short years. Precisely the spot-on right amount of time, though we/I would have argued that for a while… anyway, apart from the tiny AM, you have been the only bed co-habitee that hasn’t taken my capacity to breathe hostage.

I love hearing you snuffle and snore.
I love that you are here in the night when I wake often, from pain, needing to pee, weird and disturbing dreams. You are just here.

Here is where you are.

Being me, one who has always felt the strong pull out of this not easy to be an embodied human in the human world, and having clear views on not hanging in for old, old. 

Well, in the infinite tender and simple of having made it home to the place where home and light always was/is, I now know when I go, I will be exiting from presence, from awake, from here. It matters. Who knew the centre of my little life would be a pilgrimage to my own home address, the place where so much simple just is, and though it ain’t easy there is ease, and peace.

I say all this because in an ideal world, in my lightly held plans and longings, I die before you. I get to let go of everything with your warm, breathing body close to mine. 

That is my longing.
It may roll like that and it may not.
Death, love and birth, all so braided into the groundswell, the nature of things.

As Leonard the Man sings:
May everyone live
May everyone die
Hello, my love
And my love, goodbye

My words run out.
It is not my best writing, but it is all I’ve got to mark the wheel turning us around again.

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