Saturday, October 4, 2008

II (I'm going to assume the dog was male).

Someone once loved a dog in the backwoods of Ohio enough that, upon his death, carved his likeness into a rock and, presumably, laid it to rest there. The Stone Dog sits a short hike away from the family cemetery, stressing the importance of this hundred-years dead dog.
This rock isn't small. It's about as bis as the ottoman I'm propping my feet on now and the dog, who is laying down as if at the edge of his master's bed, is the size of a small lab.
I wonder if, after rounding up sheep, the dog liked to run up the hill to the cemetery to drink at the pond fed by an artisan well. Or maybe he lightheartedly teased chickens or kept children company. And, every once in a while, the dog probably trekked over to the old furnace and searched for unlucky mice.
Whatever he (or possibly she) did during his life, the dog was obviously well loved.
I wonder if, when his owner carved this memory, neighbors found it was frivolous as pet cemeteries are considered today. Maybe they liked it's understated quality and lack of flowery poetry to express how the dog will be missed. Or the owner could've done it in secret as a way to grieve for his friend. Any of those stories would be wonderful to pass from generation to generation; unfortunately, I can only speculate based on the existence of the memorial.

Friday, October 3, 2008

at ease

After my weekend in Ohio, I could turn this post into a reflection on family history, a diatribe on the importance of knowing your legacy, or even a simple story about my (long deceased) great-uncle Jack. I don't think I'm going to do that. I could tell you about finding a rare obituary or the frustration of hearing your name said a dozen times a minute when no one is talking about you.
No. At least, not this time.

You see, in a place where reception is a distant memory, the panic that sets in every time you see that your phone still has no service quickly dissipates into a calm appreciation of the greed of AT&T. The phone gets left behind for the first time in years. The absence of guilt that accompanies you is precious, knowing that it isn't your fault for missing several calls.
The goats on the Fuller farm traversed the hill at the back of the house with as much grace as a goat can possibly exude and certainly more so than me. The fog that typically resides in valleys like that seemed to swallow the wandering goats. The cattle, however, weren't as discreet; in comparison to the goats, their bellows and snorts and plop of manure were gauche and disgusting.
Once the fog lifted and the goats miraculously reappeared in the barn, we traversed their hill with some difficulty to find the Stone Dog.
(to be continued).