Mark and I have been trying to work out why Arthur has been so over-exuberant of late. For a 7 year old dog, he’s behaving much more like a puppy. He’s feisty and opinionated and very persistent in his pursuit of snacks. He’s a little full on
We wondered that maybe it was down to the new glut of pumpkin puree in his food. (It’s been a bumper year for pumpkins and they have to go somewhere.) Or maybe it’s that he’s on fancy vitamins to help his rickety old joints (because he used to periodically limp, and now he positively trots like that wee deer from the Babycham advert) We’ve not been able to work out what’s going on with him, and then when we were out walking the other night, the thought crossed our mind: Maybe he’s just happy.
I am Arthur’s person. Though it was Lachlan who picked Arthur out at the Rescue, since the moment he placed his furry wee paws in our home, I am his go-to human. He struggled when I was away in the UK, and though it’s possible to catch up with people through Zoom when there’s a distance between you, it’s not at all possible with dogs. Even the chickens had some sense of catch up when they heard my voice on Zoom and came running for snacks (though Genghis did sulk a bit with me when I returned) but for Arthur it was all just confusing and made him more disorientated.
As a result, when I actually did come back home, Arthur was subdued. He was different, remote. I thought he might even have been slightly depressed. A new haircut and a week of almost normality and he was back to himself. And now, he is ridiculously perky and looks younger than he ever did.
It’s been an interesting week for Mark too, as he won second prize for honey at the Annual San Fernando Valley Hive competition. It was completely out of the blue and crazily unexpected. It was a pretty big competition and he’s only been a beekeeper for two years. But he does love his bees and they seem in return to love him - I say that not because other people judge their honey to be spectacular, but because of how improbably restful it is to watch one grown man and 40,000 wee stingy creatures co-exist when he’s checking out their hive.
We got the hive when Russia invaded Ukraine. We felt so fucking powerless and wanted to do something but couldn’t think what we could do. But we knew the world needs bees, so Mark built the hive. We didn’t think about the honey. Only about the desire to do something positive. And that has seemed so incredibly relevant this week.
I’ve found it almost impossible to shake off my feelings of sorrow. I can’t even look at the news. I don’t want to hear smart-suited pundits explain the whos and the wheres. I don’t want to listen to designer-clad Satanic Barbies mouth off on how this is a ‘great opportunity’ for members of any political party. I don’t want to hear it explained or justified, because murdered children of any religion has to be unacceptable. My heart fucking aches for those who are involved. The brazen out-of-the-blue brutality makes me feel sick to my stomach. And I feel as powerless as Arthur.
Trying to find some semblance of understanding, I sat watching Mark with the bees. I considered that though there are some humans who seem to do their very best to destroy all that is good, Nature continues. Though there are plenty of homosapiens who wish to express their dominance over all that is, the moon still decides on the turning of the tides, the sun still controls when the dawn breaks.
Playing God does not make people Gods. They are not immortal. One day their own reckoning will come. They do not exist forever, and I will not give their mania a place in my head. I will mourn for the lives that were taken, not bow down to those who would steal those lives.
I have no answer. No explanation. I am as fucking useless as a dog on a Zoom call. But for those of you in pain, in fear, in grief, in horror, I see you. I think of you. I stand with you. I offer you love.
And in my sorrow and powerlessness, I lean into Nature. The giver and taker of all.
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