I started out this week writing about “the worst week of my life”, but thought wiser of that. In my life, it’s tempting fate: you think that was bad? Our darling Harika has gone on to doggie heaven: yes, she is no longer suffering, and for that I am grateful. But my heart is truly broken.
From the Book "Harika Rules"
I can actually feel an ache in my chest, and what seems like an abyss below that. Serious reflection is taking place this week, and more than a few tears. But face it, Harika and Blair and I have had a near-idyllic 14 years, with very few days apart from each other. She, and we, lived on 3 continents during that time, swam in three seas and many rivers, ate at great restaurants, visited wonderful places and people. She grounded us and we swept her away. It was an ideal relationship. She slowed me down enough to see the illuminated pathway. All my prayers were answered.
In that pool beneath my broken heart is a wellspring of new ideas. When I get through my weeping phase, I will set the world afire with new art. Right now, I am making a sculpture/memorial/urn for Harika’s ashes. It is a serious terra cotta piece, which will be fired, like her.
Painting a Black Dog
I hate being at home, here in Rocca Malatina, Harika’s retirement home. We have been trying to keep busy, to keep our mind off of our loss (it’s hard to cry while driving and navigating). We have been walking down by the Panaro River, and we actually go for the same silly walks aound the neighborhood we did with H. I went swimming at our swimming hole Thursday, where we are contemplating ash placement if the monument I am building in terra cotta doesn’t work out.
Comfy in the Luxembourg Gardens
Friday we drove to Bolzano, near the Austrian border, to see the Ice Man, Otzi. He’s over 5,000 years old and was found in the Alps at the Italian/Austrian border in 1991. People thought they had just stumbled on a deceased hiker, but really he fell down eons ago. He is amazingly well preserved, frozen and damp. He resides in a glass enclosure which is kept to temperature and misted from time to time. The most exciting thing about the exhibit (it’s a whole museum all for Otzi!) is all the things he was carrying 5000 years ago, still intact. His fur hat (wolf); his leggings (again, skin); his fur jacket and reeded raincoat; his bow and arrows, quiver and tips; his hunting knife. He had a birch basket lined with maple leaves in which he carried a smoldering ember to light a fire (no, it went out). He had tree fungi with him, used to treat maladies – he may have been a shaman. They could even tell what his last meal was (ibex)! We ate tripe parmigiana and fried seafood for lunch, ourselves.
Another dog? Who knows (we’ll name him or her Otzi)? We would like to travel, but it’s hardly the time for that. I guess we’ll just keep our eyes and ears open for what is in store. She was really good at that.
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