Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Paw Prints On a Purple Bench

I painted the bench in my hallway this week. I painted it purple. A deep dark elderberry color that makes me happy when I look at it. I put the finishing touches on it yesterday. The bench sits under the window looking out onto my driveway. The bench was made from wide pieces of polished wood that in a former life was part of a shelf system that used to hang on the wall of my bedroom and was full of books. I am a recycler by nature. 

I am learning to let go of things, but I save things like wooden shelves. You never know when they will come in handy. They call it "upcycling" nowadays and it's very trendy. I guess I'm ahead of my time.

Jordy, my sweet brindle Pitbull Lab mix often perched there on his hind legs, watching for cars pulling in, and was always there, paws up on the bench, head, practically out the window, when he heard my car pull in. I got mad the first time I found him there, one deep scratch marring the newly polished wood. I sanded the spot but it never was the same. 

My stomach would tighten with anxiety over my bench every time I saw that goofy face looking out the window from his spot when I pulled in from anywhere. The one deep groove became a series of grooved patterns, the bench, pretty much ruined. And then one day I decided to cherish the fact that my dog was waiting for me, and wood was wood. Who cared, really?

And now my brindle boy is gone, lying beneath the tree in my yard that blooms pink in the spring. The tree is about twenty feet high now, but was a sapling, a mere six inches when I got it as a gift for joining the Arbor Society. Jordy might have been a tiny puppy when I planted that tree. Like the tree, he grew strong and broad and eventually mature. But trees live longer than dogs, and he now lies under its broad green leaves, next to its roots.

I don't know why I didn't take a picture, and I regret it now, but the other night I went to admire my new purple bench and looked down at the place where Jordy's scratches are now purple scratches, and there I saw what looked like a paw print. I swear. I tilted my head to the side and discovered two tiny cat prints as well. I have two cats, so that's no surprise, but above the cat prints I know I saw a big print. A dog's paw print. I'm telling you. I called my daughter down and she confirmed it. I should have kept it. I didn't. But I know it was Jordy stopping by to let me know he's still here.