verge (vʉrj)
the edge, brink, or margin (of something): also used figuratively the verge of the forest, on the verge of hysteria

to tend or incline (to or toward)
to be in the process of change or transition into something else; pass gradually (into) dawn verging into daylight

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Cody showed up in the doorway as a gift.  I don't mean that he is mine--I only met him once.  But he came quietly and left me the gift of abiding companionship.

It had been a strenuous journey.  Exhaustive trips to doctors and hospitals were now over, but inwardly the effort had intensified. In the last few days, my ear had become fixated on Diane's breath, and each inhale was noted and evaluated.  Each exhale was noted and evaluated.  Each single breath was its own accomplished performance and each commanded attention.  I wondered at what point the breaths had become voluntary.  What was impelling each new inhale--the body or the soul?

By early Saturday morning, her fatigue was beyond relief.  I sat on her window seat wrapped in a blanket, staring at the bed rail, fixated on the breath. Hers, then mine.  How separate they were. After years of meditation on the breath, never had I experienced such a sense of now-ness.  The next breath didn't yet exist, and the last one had gone by.  I was struck that I could sit so intimately close to her and yet do nothing to shatter the loneliness of her work. Powerlessness.

As I sat listening to Diane, two women appeared at the door and asked if my friend would like a visit from a dog therapist.  Diane was not able to respond, but I certainly could and I gratefully accepted their offer.  I was utterly delighted by the surprise of this unexpected visitor!  A dog!  A dog! I hustled out into the living room where I met Cody, a very sweet young Shtizu who skipped introductions and immediately began his work.  I sat on the floor, still wrapped in my blanket, while he wrapped himself around my ankles and feet. For an hour I silently kneaded his ears, belly, and back.  Without any sign of boredom or fatigue, he patiently worked with me while I played.  He took his work in stride--he seemed to effortlessly shoulder the weight of my fatigue.  His eyes were bright.  Unafraid.

After our visit, I was at a loss as to how I could thank him.  How does a human being say thank you to a dog? Did he know what it meant to me?  Did he understand how he had soothed me? Humbled by his skill,  I trusted he already understood.  His companionship had shattered the loneliness of my work and with that, I resumed my perch.

No comments:

Post a Comment