Two years have passed since Gamba died, but the walks haven’t ended and neither have the life lessons.
Once I got over being bed-ridden and tired of my T-shirts being sopping wet from tears I decided life must go on from the passing of my beloved Gamba. Ok, I’m exaggerating the intensity of the grieving period I had for her death, but it was sad and I do miss her and the memories of the old times of my life that I associate with her.
Fortunately Gamba’s third companion, following Lobster and Coquille, Daisey is still going strong. Though stout and aging herself she still manages the various routes I’ve developed over that past near decade and a half.
Starting on Santa Clara Street and meandering through the parks, the bike path that runs along the train tracks, my old elementary school and the familiar surrounding neighborhoods and then back to home. Time and time again these walks have been a steady constant in my life. Though certain parts of ones life transform drastically there are those routines and habits that can be relied upon to steady ones feet on in turbulent times. These familiar grounds, though sometimes boring and stagnant, can be of great solace when life seems to be turning upside down and falling apart.
My weekly routine on Santa Clara street that includes this dog walk, a little yard work, and visiting with my grandmother are pillars of comfort and stability in what seems to be the ever expanding and changing life around and within me.
Each dog, like each human, has its own personality and nature. Gamba was a natural guard/hunting dog- mostly disinterested in other humans and weary of other dogs. Coquille was much friendlier and timid- rather frightened of strangers but playful with dogs. She also seemed to have a bit of inclination for herding. I remember when she was young her nipping at my heels on occasion; she grew out that habit after she learned people did not enjoy being nibbled on. And Daisy, was disinterested in both humans and other dogs, but deathly loyal to her “pack”. Caroline and I have both noticed her attached nature. She is what would be deemed a, “Comfort dog”. Always nearby and attentive to her owners needs; where you go she goes.
There’s a unique quality of friendship a pet can provide, since there is no verbal communication the entire relationship is built upon affection, attention, and simply spending time together. There is no second guessing of the real intentions in a relationship with a dog; They simply want to be with you, to love you, and for you to love them. If it weren’t for this fact I would be a tad bit embarrassed and sad to admit that next to my own brother Daisy is one of my best friends.
I don’t need a near death experience to have my life flash before my eyes. Rather a series of slow walks with a quiet and still mind provides a perfect canvas for every memory to paint itself across and allow myself to be the witness to my own life. Then to look over at my companion, who I am always grateful to for not speaking and distracting from this experience, and gaze into her eyes and wonder, “What do you feel at this moment?”
Probably the same thing, what a trip and it’s not even over yet; It never is. Now, here’s a treat, let’s do it again next week.
Sixteen years in the making, Kevin Klimczak.