Of dewdrops, lakes, and diamonds

Two one-year dates of remembrance recently came by—and went on into the chapters of the past.
We wait disquieted for this to happen every time a loved one dies. Those first 365 days are a new, unfamiliar landscape where old ways tug and buck at the reality of making peace with the loneliness of missing the one who is gone.
Sometimes in those first 12 months, we forget things have changed and pick up the phone on a Friday morning to ask if we could come over for lunch—and sink inside once more when our soul reminds us we can’t do that anymore.
Or we go to the door and accidentally call the dog who does not come by, long since departed.
March 10 marked one year since my dog “Griffon” was run over and killed at the driveway of the home we owned in the Devlin countryside.
I thought about him all day.
I thought about his dedication, the funny jokes told of the unsung chewer of ice cube trays and couches, and the regal dog who would rest himself prone on a winter snowbank and quietly observe his country world.
I loved him to bits, yet always was convinced he was a very simple-minded animal and that he’d passed those witless genes to “Cash.”
I was sure of it.
Then on the evening of March 10, I heard a strange racket as I drove in the yard in a helter-skelter rush after a trip to town. As I stopped the truck and got out, “Cash”—on three legs—limped from in front of the truck.
For the love of Pete, I’d just ran over my own dog on the same day one year ago when a hit-and-run driver had killed “Griffon.” I was nearly sick to my stomach.
Luckily though, “Cash” was all right. No lost limbs, no broken bones, and no lost love for a very penitent owner.
If that incidence of coincidence didn’t include an intervention from a certain smart doggie in heaven about the need to slow down in life—and what happens when you don’t—then I don’t know a thing.
Henry David Thoreau once wrote “Perfect sincerity and transparency make a great part of beauty, as in dewdrops, lakes, and diamonds.”
The quote reminds me of my grandmother, who is missed.
One evening last month, Pete and I were in the quiet of the farmhouse living room enjoying a pause in our conversation about the subtle changes we had made to the house since we moved in last August.
“I wonder what Grandma would think?” Pete queried.
I didn’t tell him at the time, but there have been routine moments when I ponder that very thought.
Early in the afternoon of March 23, 2006 after my grandmother passed away at the hospital, I returned here to her home with my mother.
When I walked in, the familiar warm scent of Grandma’s house convinced me she was still here and would appear momentarily from her bedroom doorway.
Her life light remained even as we left and locked the door. But the next time I came by, it was gone.
In the seven months since Pete and I purchased this glorious old farmhouse, there have been several times when I’ve arrived home from work and walked into the porch to find a familiar warm scent lingering there—and I am moved to believe my visitor on shore leave from that far away place has come by to check on things.
Those soul-filled hints of my grandmother’s presence don’t happen as often anymore. Perhaps it’s because she has moved on to more important tasks in God’s house like quilting and taking long buggy rides with Grandpa.
Maybe it’s because she’s okay with how things are down here. I’d like to think so.
I, too, have moved on and have stepped over the threshold of accountability to a place where I can be a lantern to the past and know that it’s still okay to forge my own path.
Living here with grace has taught me that.

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