No Endings


No Endings


          Standing in the silent lovely grounds of Soul Winds on one of the cooling evenings we have been having a bit too early, I began to notice the endings of all that I'd appreciated so much during the summer. The bee balm, the pink mallow, the luxurious fullness of trees, the butterflies and hummingbirds - for weeks they had filled my eyes with a particular joy, and on this evening I saw the fading, just as it began.

          The end of summer is full of a peculiar sadness, just as the end of winter holds a definite joy. Yet - we go through this, year after year after year - and it's as if we somehow forget the cycle when each experience arises. Standing there, I had the thought "nothing ever ends," and remembered the theme of Mordecai Richler's story of Duddy Kravitz: "death ends a life, but not a relationship." This would be true of our relationship with the earth, with her cycles, on which our living depends.

          But I had another, more poignant lesson in "no endings" a few weeks ago. On the early morning walk down Old Mill Rd., our dog Kai raced off toward something in the grass, not an unusual occurrence. By the time we caught up to her, a young wounded rabbit was trying desperately to hop away from her, with little success. Joan quickly took Kai away, and I pursued the rabbit, who was crying in pain when I reached her. Slowly I wrapped her in my jacket, and laid her on my beating heart, holding her wounded leg very tenderly. We thought that she might have been hit by a car.

          Almost as soon as I snuggled her on my chest, she settled peacefully, her ears and head just emerging from the jacket-wrap, her feet securely in my hands, her eyes searching my face. I was a kilometer from home. I walked slowly, trying not to jolt her. I will never forget the feeling of tender vulnerability she gave to me on that walk - the utter privilege of holding her and giving her safety, the certainty of some deep visceral connection that I am only just learning to experience with animals, all animals. They are the primal wise ones, and I have everything to learn from them.

          Reaching home, Joan prepared the cat carrier with hay, lettuce, carrots and water while I held her. We placed her as gently as we could on the hay, and then in a shady place outside. We checked her every hour that day; twice she turned herself, and tried the lettuce. But by five o'clock, she was gone. She stretched out in perfect rabbit form, and gave in to the internal injuries we suspected, but we could not determine their extent, and wanted to give her a chance.

          We were bereft, as if she'd lived with us a long time. We took her in our arms and thanked her. We took awhile to determine what we should do with her. Then I remembered the young fisher I'd encountered several times in a bend of the river where I go for utter solitude and to write. She was part of the cycle; so was he. In the early dark, we took her, still warm, and laid her on a rock close to where I encounter him. In the morning, she was gone - back into the life cycle of which we are all a part.

          There are no endings.