Thursday, January 25, 2007

sorrow and fear

Nyima did not come home with us today after our late afternoon walk. We had set off around 5pm, and did one of the regular short routes, this time to the back corner, past the earth ship meadow. I was wearing gumboots, because of the mud, and decided to wade home in the creek. Nyima crossed to the other bank, doing her independent thing. Milo cris-crossed, wanting to stay close. I lost track of Gypsy, but knew she would not stray.
My plan soon proved foolish, the creek is deepened by winter snow, and I quickly had 2 wet feet, icy cold. I climbed back up to the meadow, to be joined by Milo and Gypsy. The last thing I saw of Nyima, she was running along the hill behind the corral, barking. It is not so unusual for her to do this, and I have learned that fear does not help. I used to try and run after her, now I realize I have to let it go. Instead, I pray.
I pottered around in the yard with evening tasks– wood to be brought in, a short game with Milo….Gypsy hovered, wide-eyed, for her dinner. Regularly, I went to the back gate and called.
As night began to sheath the sky, my concern increased. I drove to the corral and called again; sometimes she will come to the car. The air was garlanded with sounds, as my ears searched for her. Was that the creek, or the tinkle of her collar? I went back home, alone.
I made 3 bowls of dinner, as always, but it seemed so strange to feed only two. Her absence filled the kitchen. The others sensed my anxiety, I think. They had a short raucous game together, but that, too, felt odd.
At about seven, I returned to the corral. Fortunately, the moon is half-full, and the landscape mutely visible. More rustling in the trees, but nothing. As you know, we have javalina here, and how many times have locals told me they can kill a dog. Not to mention the mountain lions recently heard close by.
My prayers increased in intensity, I felt so helpless. My feet, still in wet socks in the gumboots, were freezing, but that seemed so inconsequential. Again and again, I went to the gate, went towards the barn, called, looked, prayed; sorrow, hope and fear a potent mix in my mind. She has a thick coat, she will not freeze overnight. She will come home soon. She has a new tag on her collar, with my number. She is lying, her body torn and in pain, alone. I will stay up all night for her in prayer. What if she never comes back.
As my posts have perhaps relayed, the last months have held some difficult times for me, and even recently the days have not been smooth. Tonight that crystallised with Nyima’s absence, and I broke, sobbing with anguish. And I thought of every mother who lives constantly with this edge of sorrow and fear, all the people searching for those who are missing. All the beings who are lost and alone. And the thousands of families with sons and daughters fighting the war – any war – who must exist on this razored seesaw every moment, every day.
To be honest, my sobs were a mix of prayer and an overwhelming sense that I am not effective. Sometimes it all seems so hard, and I see so little movement or change. And how can I make a difference for many, when I cannot protect even one. The path I am on is precious beyond measure, I know this to the depths of my heart, and ultimately it is simple: requiring only compassion beyond self. But tonight I again recognized how excruciatingly challenging it also is, simply to be that which I am. My heart was ripped open for Nyima, and the fear that she was gone from my life.
At about 8 o’clock I went out again, and this time my ears rang true. She was at the front gate, waiting, icicles hanging from her belly, a little weary. I clutched her and wept, and thanked Tara and Guru Rinpoche for being my prayer and its response.
After eating, she got on the couch – her space to sleep. I sat beside her and stroked the silken softness of her coat. Milo joined us, as frequently happens in the evening, and settled on the other side of me, and then – for the very first time – Gypsy came over and asked to be included. I made her a little space and she jumped up next to me. All of us, together on the small couch, in the warmth of our home. Gypsy stood for a few minutes, Nyima nestled at her feet, then she bent and gently placed her nose to her sister’s, and gave a brief wag of her tail, before jumping off and back to her bed. I know we were all relieved that she had some home, safely.
And I wish this, from the depths of my heart, for every being lost, and for those that search for the missing. Or who anxiously wait, not knowing. Yet the essence of my prayer is that we all will swiftly discover we are neither alone nor apart, we cannot truly be lost. We may experience the anguish of sorrow and fear, as I did so deeply tonight, but within and beyond that is a ribbon of compassion, joy and certainty that binds me to you, and them to us.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Kunzang,

I was in tears and thinking of your anguish long before I finally reached the part where Nyima appeared at the gate! I'm sure your prayers were heard and Nyima kept safe to come back to her home and companions. You certainly have been going through many moments of turmoil. Be strong, stay well, be safe.

Love, Mary

Tooky said...

Oh, Kunzang,

It took me a while to recover from reading this post! I am SO thankful Nyima made it back to safety. Please keep all of yourselves safe and well!

Love, Tooky

kunzang said...

Many thanks to you both. A hard night, but shedding a waterfall of tears can wash away so much.
love, Kunzang