Monday, August 06, 2007

How do I miss thee? Let me count the ways...

One of my favourite poems, back in grade eleven English, was this one by Elizabeth Barrett Browning:
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise,
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints -I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! -and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
Just as there is more than one way to love a person, there is more than one way to miss a person. There are also many ways to miss one's dog, when he has died an untimely death:

I miss you Toby, when I get up in the morning and I look down at the foot of my bed, to make sure I don't step on you, but you are not there.

I miss you Toby, when food gets spilled on the floor and my first instinct is to call you over to eat it, but you are not there.

I miss you Toby, when I still find stray dog hairs in the onions, or in the corners of the stairs.

I miss you Toby when I find your favourite toy outside.

I miss you Toby, when I walk past the hole you dug under the porch steps to keep cool in the summer.

I miss you Toby, when I come home and there is noone to greet me at the door.

I miss you Toby, when I go to close the door so the dog can't get out, but there no longer is a dog.

My hand itches to pet your head. But there is no head to pat.

My voice aches to call you over to the car to come get Papa at the bus, but you are gone.

I would not have thought it possible to miss a dog so much. But I think something happens when you live with a dog. An inside dog is not the same as an outdoor only dog. I think some of our humanity rubs off on an indoor dog. In the same way that a child will go wild, never learn to walk on 2 legs or speak if left to itself for the first years of it's life, thus becoming little more than an "animal", a dog, if constantly stimulated by humans, will become more than a dog, will take on a personality, will understand (if not be able to speak) many words. These dogs seem to have a kind of "sub-soul" Not a soul as humans have, but something close to it. What happens then? Do we ever see them again in Heaven or on a new Earth?