I dug a hole in the desert this afternoon, a grave for my Golden Retriever, out on the Arizona Strip. She’s been with me a year, her deterioration mild and slow at first and then cruel and rapid this last week of her life.
A foot of topsoil yielded shale thick and barely penetrable, and the effort it took to break it through broke through me. I can usually put things in their place with such a task at hand, deny the permanence and the pain of loss in the business of digging a grave. Despite a break a time or two of emotion, of crying, I thought I was somehow succeeding.
Tonight, though, in my evening ritual of soaking away the day I caught myself anticipating her welcome at the backyard door, and it continued while walking the path to the little pool. I even looked for her.
The autonomy of memory.