Xena, My Senior Citizen
at Age 12 1/2
We humans have a lot to learn from dogs. That wasn't terribly profound, but then, how can I say "they're smarter than us" without getting slammed with negative comments?
By living day to day, in the moment, as Cesar Millan puts it, dogs don't dwell on what's to come. They don't think about death or illness or worry about proper etiquette for their next party. They just enjoy each moment as it comes. If only we could live our lives this way.
Only recently have I come to terms with something in the death department: cremation. I used to think I wanted to be buried beneath a shady tree overlooking a meadow. Oh, how unrealistic that was. Have you visited any graveyards lately? You're not likely to find the oak tree and meadow you dreamt about these days, and if you do, you'll have to pay a premium to get it.
What got me thinking was the land our graveyards take up and how it should be handled in the future when the space is needed. I read an article about cities that have moved ancient, Indian burial grounds, and how this had to be handled according to the beliefs and desires of the ancestors. We certainly do make death a complicated thing, don't we?
After a beautiful day spent sailing on the Gulf of Mexico, spreading the ashes of an uncle and mother-in-law, I got to thinking. What a gorgeous setting that was for a burial. The sun was shining and the waves lapped quietly against the side of the sailboat. Family and friends caught up on each others' lives as we quietly skimmed along the calm water. It was then and there that I realized my dream of the oak tree and meadow view was to be replaced with an ocean sunset.
Meanwhile, I'm trying to take lessons from Xena, who at nearly 13, is teaching me a lot about taking my age less seriously. She still greets our visitors with a gift of a sock, whenever the doorbell rings, and enjoys a walk, a dog park outing, or a car ride. Any activity or destination will do, as long as she is with me. There's a lesson in there. Value your family, take your end in stride and give yourself back to the earth in a green manner, leaving the land to the living. Was that profound enough?
Xena Heads to Greet a Visitor
After Grabbing Her Trademark Gift