Yearning for Magic

Emme This time of year in Napa Valley the landscape is dominated by vines seemingly finished; denuded of leaves, browned and blackened by cold; heaving downward with the weight of the raining season on their canes; apparently dead and done. It's all a head fake toward a spiritual and physical reality that all creatures succumb to. But then the vines return to life in the spring…as though it all never happened. It's magic.

Looking at vines this time of year in Napa with the knowledge that they are merely dormant rather than dead has the potential to mess with the cold, hard, existential teachings of the cycle of life: Those that we love most won't find rebirth and not even the perennial nature of Napa Valley's landscape can overcome this reality.

Yesterday my beautiful Kathy made the courageous and compassionate decision to put down her long time companion, Emmebird, a gorgeous Italian Greyhound of 13 years. Emme's not coming back.

Kathy's gentle, blue-coated Emme with the entitled grin and svelt profile has been a part of my life over the past 20 months every bit as much as Kathy has. Where I found Kathy, I'd find Emmebird. Kathy treated Emme like she did everyone else, with the expectation that if she was loving, engaged and honest with them, they'd return the favor with love and friendship. Emme's reaction to Kathy was predictable. The little, lean and bright Italian Greyhound never missed a chance to let Kathy know she had a friend willing to give and give and give.

The irony (and it makes you shake your head when you hear it) is that Emme died of an enlarged heart. Of course she did. What else could this amazingly loving pup succumb to?

The hard part is walking around a home where Emme was once everywhere and knowing now that it's only her memories that fill up the place now and not her. I used to regularly trip over this little fawn-like, covert creature that seemed always to find a way to know the path I was about to take before I did.

The great fellow travellers and important companions in our lives are not like the vines in the vineyards. They don't return after a rest as the vines do. All the more reason to appreciate all these vines as the source of magic and fantasy that they really are.

I wish Emme was magic.

Posted In: Personal


13 Responses

  1. Samantha Dugan - December 29, 2010

    No, Emme isn’t magic but….her spirit clearly is. Please extend my love to Kathy, I am truly sorry for her loss.

  2. amy - December 29, 2010

    I had to euthanize my almost 15 year old cat on Sunday. I keep reminding myself that the joy she brought us is greater than the pain we feel right now. Hard enough for me, but very rough for the eight year old.

  3. Jen - December 29, 2010

    Beautifully put….. Love to Kathy. Emme was special.

  4. Chanel (South Africa) - December 29, 2010

    I miss the little angel and had the privilege of knowing her in TX for 6 months, she brought so many smiles then to my life..Am thinking of my dear friend Kathy during this time..

  5. Ken Bankston - December 29, 2010

    Sad news! My condolences to Kathy. Thus ends a chapter in the book of life, but though the writers may turn the page toward unwritten chapters beyond, the pages, once written, are forever engraved. They have been illuminated for the last thirteen years by the story of Emmebird, beloved friend and constant companion. Like the stinging intaglio of a tattoo, the mark she leaves is permanent, indelible, individual, unforgettable, but unlike a tatoo it will never fade.

  6. Wendy Day - December 29, 2010

    I wish she was magic too.

  7. Monica - December 29, 2010

    Thanks Tom for being there for Kath and Emmebird…

  8. Marnie - December 30, 2010

    So beautiful Tom. I am drowning right now in my own tears. My heart hurts as my Bailey is my world and I cry at just the thought of losing him. My heart goes out to the both of you during this impossibly hard and emotional time. So happy you can be there for Kathy and she can be there for you. xo

  9. imobiliarias alegrete - December 31, 2010

    I loved…very good

  10. david fish - December 31, 2010

    Tom and Kathy,
    we are saddened to hear of your loss…
    -david & desiree

  11. Vinogirl - January 6, 2011

    That is sad…my thoughts are with you both…I would be lost without both my Vinodogs.

  12. BacchusandBeery - January 9, 2011

    I had a greyhound who lived to be 15, Elle. Best and most elegant dog ever. When my daughter was young she mispronounced greyhound – Greathound…and that is how Elle is still refered to in our house. I’m sorry you lost her but we were lucky to have Greathounds!
    Roger Beery

  13. Kathy - January 14, 2011

    Roger… that is a great comment. You’ve made me smile. I miss my Greathound so very much! Thank you for writing… kathy

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