Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Appreciation (38) …Poppy died today

Appreciation (38) …Poppy died today
Torrey Orton
Oct. 4, 2011
There's an absence here today

I keep expecting to see him in his usual haunts – before the dining room radiator, on our bed, beside the pond in a corner outside Jane's study. I have never known, or just forgotten, the absence of a presence in this way. It began early yesterday when I looked in the early half-light for him near the radiator and couldn't see him. He had shrunk it seemed, though on closer view was laid out in a relaxed, balanced array - head to the heater and back legs and tail fanning away from it on his two ply sleeping pad. And lifeless, already stiffening by 6AM.

Or is it the presence of absence that's happening? He howled his way into death earlier that night, already having lost much of his locomotion when his back legs failed under him as they had been threatening to do for a couple of months. He had woken about 2am and struggled around a bit and we went to see him and then left again and ½ hour later he set off one, the last it turned out, of his trademark howlings. This mimics with convincing similarity the roar of a lion, even to the pose of the head thrust forward and down a bit which gives throat to the sound - ouaagh, repeated on a rising crescendo of pace and volume, to tail off in a couple of fading breaths. Altogether, about 8 calls.

This performance was almost always elicited by emptiness, by rooms in which he found himself unexpectedly (?) alone. Audible in the street, neighbours say. This was his last alone, throated with the fullness of his late ageing self. Just to write it brings tears for me. Such a roar! He also beset the garden at times after meals as if some latent memory of a long not present competitor arose to take the meal off him.

We finally buried him the next day a few feet away and just as far down as his predecessor Moon's resting place in the enclosure outside the bathroom - like her, wrapped in plastic and topped with a rose and a sprinkle of white wine and tears. Later will come the azalea above.

Before that had already come the clean-up, especially of bowls. He had three flash water bowls of distinguished design: one outside the back door, two inside - one by the eating space in the kitchen and the other near the heater in the dining room. They supported his mild struggle with failing kidneys over the last two years. He, however, sought often the pleasure of more natural containers – pot plant saucers' remnant traces or the pond's more prodigious offerings – passing by the flash without a nod.

He was just 18 and been with us 12 years or so, after a neighbour offered him …his many other virtues can be found here.

Here's potted Poppy in his youth, always a good fit for a tight spot.

No comments:

Post a Comment