OK - to start to fill in last night's list - Dogs. When Bob and I married he had a beautiful and beloved Golden Retriever companion named Poppy. I will always be thankful to that dog for having been Bob's hiking companion and solace during some lonely years. Poppy was not too happy about her man taking on three other females, but she put up with us and learned to live on our turf. As the girls grew up, each got to an age where she wanted a dog of her own and they did get puppies. Poppy never took to the girls; pups- Pirette, the beautiful if not bright Samoyed Pup Joanna had for a short time before the dog was stolen, Gwen, Ruth's Scottie who is now dead almost three years and Lilly, Joanna's sweet big Shepard mix.
Now Bob has Lobo, five year old Sheltie, as his canine companion and Lilly is the arthritic but elegant old lady of dogdom in our family. Last summer KK, at eleven, reached that point where she wanted a puppy more than anything in the world - and she saved her money and got Sammi, a black Australian cow dog mix. Now KK is working with the reality of responsibility for and to a very lively and sweet pup. Lilly doesn't much like KK's athletic, playful Sammi, but is learning to tolerate her as Sammi is learning some manners.
Mostly I'm writing about the dogs because, with their lifetimes shorter than ours, they show us the generations passing. I have pictures of Poppy as a puppy, even though I didn't know her then and remember holding tiny Gwen and Lilly in my lap - soft pups. Lobo too - bringing him back from San Antonio in a towel in my lap the weekend before the World Trade Center fell. I think Ruth was in middle school - having probably a thirteenth birthday the weekend Poppy died. This spring she'll be turning twenty seven. I remember - if not clearly in terms of detail, powerfully in terms of emotion, so many moments in the lifetimes of all of these dogs - moments in our human lifetimes too, of course.
So given that Poppy is long dead, Gwen dead, Lilly elderly - and KK clearly growing up - where am I in my own life cycle? Past half I know - but its so odd. I don't feel "older" in some quantifiable way. I sure don't feel close to my end. But I know human generations turn just as canine generations do - just more slowly.