Saturday, January 3, 2009
I wrote twice after Gus died about Comet-specific things, investing in his life, rather than playing it cool, as a way of thanking Gus for all of his lessons in joy. And Comet obliged by being quite silly. But now...now, it’s been a couple of weeks since Gus died. We picked up his ashes from the veterinary hospital, and they’re sitting in a lovely sealed wooden box on the bookshelf, waiting to be scattered someplace he loved.
Photographing Comet has become the art of capturing his expressions, since every stride of a run offers the whole range of canine emotion from snarly to droopy. My favorites are the ones, like this one, that defy easy anthropomorphism. He’s certainly not angry or in pursuit of some poor prey; he’s just bringing a stick that he picked up and thought I would like when I whistled for him. I think the closest English, my impoverished mistress, can come to describing him is as fiercely happy.
The real Comet is one part noble and one part dopey, with plenty of other stuff thrown in, but it’s not the dopiness that sums him up here; it’s the motion. He lives life without a break. Even when he sleeps, he dreams running jungle dreams. When he waits, it’s with an anticipation of motion so strong that it’s a kind of motion itself.
So how could one watch him, photograph him, and reflect on him and stay frozen in grief?