Paula LabrotBy Paula Labrot

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF PAULA LABROT Honey was my mom’s most loving dog.
This week, Mike Cheney helped me dig a grave for my mom’s 14-year-old dog, Honey, her most loving dog who slept on her bed every night for 14 years. It was hard going; we’ve buried a lot of animals over the years and we’re running out of room (archaeologists of the future will ponder) and we had to jackhammer into solid rock on the edge of our pet cemetery. When we finished, we put her in the grave wrapped in a quilt and said goodbye and covered her over...and her time, physically here with us officially came to an end. The world always feels so empty when we lose the people and animals that have given so much meaning and value to our lives. We lose not only our present but mourn the loss of an entire future, at least one more day that we envisioned with that person or animal friend in it.
Oak tree seedling on Tux’s grave.
As I was thinking about this, I noticed that on the grave next to Honey’s (Tux, the cutest little fat body, black-and-white-socked cat that ever was), there were two little baby oak trees that have sprouted. Even at that tiny height, I know the roots have begun to pass deeper than Tux is buried, and so he is already part of that little tree.

I told my mom, “You know, in another ten years, Tux will be looking in your bedroom window again.” Just for a second, looking at that little sprouted oak tree, I thought I could see Shiva dancing on his mountaintops; the continuous process of destruction and rebirth, the universe being annihilated and recreated anew in every moment.

It was comforting to see that even the most banal, material parts of us never truly end; our matter is conserved; it cannot be destroyed, merely change its form. Those are pearls that were his eyes. Our crude matter has an infinite, glorious destiny conferred on it by physics, and so does the energy flowing through us every moment we are alive. I’ve seen enough dead bodies to see when a living combination of matter and energy is now only matter. The luminous parts of us pass under Shiva’s feet the same as our material bodies...and both parts of us, thank you physics, go on forever.

We will suffer a sea change into something rich and strange, become the thousand winds that blow, fly a starship across the universe, divide, and simply be a single drop of rain.
And we will remain.
Paula Labrot

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April 02, 2021

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