New Age Retrograde 

Promoting my daughter’s little beginner business: New Age Retrograde—Jewelry featuring unique vintage & antique book illustrations. 

Many of these are sold already but you can track down her wares at New Age Retrograde on both IG & FB. 

Go check out her stuff. If you like something claim it quick. 

Custom orders taken & she will hunt for the images you’re looking for. For added “charm” each piece also has a well thought out embellishment hand made in house to compliment each image. 

Every image is hand cut from a vintage or antique book.

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Inspiration? 

What it once was—the black root worming, a snug grub

Skinned from the inner lump of my heart, coal black & whining with sorrow & regret, a childhood agony

I dropped free~freedom came rushing at me

Soul & mind & blood, slick & smooth & flowing river-fast & aching cold, refreshing

How long I wallowed, in the warmth of my own mud, it’s stench restful in its uneasiness 

Then, the freed sparrow of my throat, a small warble, rising in the wind, clean in the sunrise—how sweet, how sweet

Despite all the woes, to rise, finally free. 

Brown Sugar Charlotte 

So, for a week now we’ve been getting to know this little pup. She’s an American Cocker Spaniel & she’s lovely & so very trainable. She’s got striking geeen eyes & she made last week’s terrible decision to put Nysa down more bearable. She didn’t ease the difficulty of the matter but she did prevent us all from feeling dreadfully mopey. Even Roxy lightened up from what is an obvious missing of her life long friend. I’ve never seen a dog miss another dog before. It’s truly heart breaking. Charlotte has already adapted into our lives & I’m certain that after all the things people say about getting or not getting another dog while going through the death phase of an old dog’s life that getting her was the right decision for our family. We can go out and leave Roxy & know she’s not alone. The kids couldn’t help but play with her & laugh despite missing Nysa. We had heard not to make this decision while being so emotional, but we knew we couldn’t leave Roxy without a dog partner. She’s half cocker spaniel & very attached to her people & was very attached to Nysa. I can’t imagine leaving her alone those days where everyone is busy & gone for the day. That would be torture for a dog like her. So, getting her another dog was an emotional decision at an emotional time. But, that didn’t make it a bad decision.

So glad we found a great breeder who breeds responsibly & cares about the welfare of her pups. She’s not registered which makes her less inbred & less likely to develop the health complaints of the breed & her moms (it was a double litter, two moms one stud, both litters raised as one large 15 group with both mothers mothering) were so lovely in disposition that we look forward to having a dog from really good parents. We are on the list for one of next year’s litter too because Roxy will be nine this winter. Knowing how quickly an old dog’s health can decline, we want to make sure we get a bud for Charlotte before Roxy gets too old. 

(Her mom is the brown & white)

You know, as a child, tho I loved my family dog, I would have said I was a ‘cat person.’ I snuggled the cats & loved being in the wood shed watching the kittens play. But the dogs we had were farm dogs; Coon Hounds & an Airdale Terrier. The hounds were obviously hunting dogs. They had their dog houses & were chained, simply because they could truly run away if they got onto a scent. Dash (Treetop Dasher) our most memorable hound, was more like a pet but other than him, the other hounds were working dogs, and some not recommended for kids to be too close to as they were somewhat unpredictable. Jake, the terrier, was a typical terrier. Messy, scruffy, sweet in temperament, but not a cuddly companion dog. He was a rodent hunter for the most part, patrolled the property with enough gusto we felt safe. 

So, having Nysa & Roxy has been my first experience with companion dogs. I didn’t much understand the relationship between people & dogs in that way until recently. Dogs are ridiculously loyal. I always liked the aloofness of cats. That cats require a relationship that can be quite complex & if they decide they don’t like you, oh well, your loss. They just didn’t care. But cats always liked me & I understood their tempered affections. But dogs, my goodness, they have a neediness. But alongside that, comes a loyalty & a trust. If you love a dog, they will LOVE you. They will be happy to see you every moment of their life. When you take them for their final walk to the vet, they will be happy you loved them till that last moment, & that’s all they’ll ever have asked of you. That you be there. You don’t have to do much else for them but be there. That’s a truly stunning gift worth the work of them. 

After all these years, turns out, I’m a dog person. 

And I have learned: Always trust a dog that doesn’t trust a person. Never trust a person that a dog doesn’t trust. Whichever way you want to remember that. 

Nysa seemed to know when I needed her at my feet. How, I’ll never know. But a dog that’s in tune with you is so cool. It is a magical friendship. 

Voids

the most obvious hollow is
the void

time has a hollow
but emptiness in the place
of the something lost
has an ache that time
cannot cure
but it fills & fills
rushing to an ever rising rim
untouching to spill & water beyond

this void always the same distance
from the water’s top to the rim
this hollow of an echo
across the waves
unheard

What Is It About This Kind Of Goodbye? 

Yesterday I made the hardest decision, alongside my husband, that either of us have ever made. We cried, as a family, more than we’ve ever cried. 

Anyone who’s never had a close companion pet & had it age, & inevitably had to make the decision to euthanize knows this is the price you pay for having a pet. It is an experience that was entirely new to both my husband & I & most certainly our kids. It was unarguably the most difficult decision I’ve ever made in my life. But the signs were clear. The dog we had for years known, was nearly unrecognizable in personality. She was still ever-patient & sweet, but for months her mobility had been declining & her overall disposition was depressed. Everyday one more thing seemed to be added to the list of signs that ‘it was time.’ We were hanging on, as people do, because that’s what we are hard wired to do. People hang on until their last breath, most, ever hopeful, ever looking to a better forward than the now. We were designed this way. 

But last week, her eyes started looking at me in a way I’ve never seen before, as if requesting me to put her to death. She could only barely walk around the block, and then, we would feel bad we’d let her, because she needed help up the three steps to the main level of the house. Sunday a strange cough started & so, after all these agonizing weeks going back & forth wondering if it was too soon, we decided, it was not too soon. The next step would be she wouldn’t be able to get in & out to go relieve herself. In my mind, for a dog that had never disrespected our home like that that would be the ultimate dying without dignity. 

So, I phoned around & it turned out, the vet just down the street was the most affordable, which was great because the trips to the groomer to clip her nails every three weeks for the last year since she couldn’t run them down anymore had become nearly impossible. The last time i nearly had to lift the whole of her 70lbs into the truck. So Tuesday, we told the kids Wednesday at 5pm we’d be walking her down to the vet & that was going to be it. We didn’t sugar coat it. We were honest. The girls had a couple guy friends over who shed some tears too, and when everyone had officially said their goodbyes, we walked her down the street. 

We let her stop & sniff as long as she wanted. As it was, she barely could walk the normal paced four minute walk. She tripped up on her one leg a couple times at the snail pace we walked. Her legs had a palsy-like shudder every time she paused. It all confirmed what we were doing. 

We were rather speechless with each other, my husband & I. There was nothing left to say. 

The room felt too small & too big all at once & after bringing her back from being slightly sedated via intravenous, she was dazed already. We sat and held her to see a peace on her face, drug induced as it was, we hadn’t seen since her pre-pain days. The vet came back in and asked if we needed more time. We said it was fine, she could administer the overdose. She did. 

Life is literally a spirit, a breath of God. The moment of death is palpable. It has a weight of ultimate disappearance. Her body was there, but her eyes were full of glass silence that spoke of that breath being completely returned to the Creator. Her soul disappeared. It didn’t hover. It didn’t linger. It simply was gone, as with all death. Only the husk of her lay there & my heart was both relieved & broken. 

We left the room, paid the bill & walked home, empty leash & collar in hand. The decision had been the right one, but never had a good decision been so painful in all my life. 

I can say, I’ve cried when humans have died. But that thing you must do, where you take life from a creature who has loved & trusted you unconditionally, no matter how ‘right’ it is, is so very different than time stealing your loved ones, despite your desire for them to say. The relationship is different & with humans, somehow, we feel, they choose when it is their time unless an accident befalls them. With animals, it seems, they ask us to choose for them. It is the last kindness that is asked of us toward them. It is the largest cost demanded of us for the years of loyalty & companionship, that we not let them suffer beyond reason. 

Nysa was our first true family dog. She lived in my space with me everyday for nearly twelve years. She was there, 3am, in the crushing dark while I consoled crying babies & cried a little myself. She left her hair everywhere while I vacuumed to no end. She ran alongside my kids while we explored the river valley. She went on family road trips & camping trips & fiercely guarded us with all her heart. She snuggled Roxy & mothered abandoned kittens, seven of them & always wanted to simply, be with us. Who else in the world is always happy to just be with us & takes us despite our worst traits even on our worst days than these gifts of our pets. 

So tho yesterday was one of the worst days, it was only one day in what was a beautiful journey I’m so thankful I was on.