Green Frog Cafe

"Living in nature, listening to the rain, Green Frog Cafe, that's where I want to be. The hemlocks are green, the creek is tricklin, there's geese on the pond, the forest sighs. Green Frog Cafe that's where I want to be, home of my soul, spirit of the mountains." Ruminations of Rhona McMahan

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Sophie of the Mountains, December 24, 1989 - July 23, 2004

Sophie left me during our morning walk at Paddy Mountain last Friday.  Those walks were probably one of the greatest joys she had.  I know that this was always true for me.  We would walk through the forest along the border of Bald Eagle State Forest, with Sophie and Kiva ranging out into the forest chasing down the fascinating smells.  There must be the scent of deer, raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, possum, porcupine, bear, and even the proverbial  Pennsylvania Mountain lions.  We walked along last Friday, with Sophie even taking a few running steps now and then, walking in her skewed to the side way, frail and shaky but still doing the things she did all her life.  I took my mind off her for a moment, and when I looked again she was gone.  I searched for her, I whistled the special whistle to which she always came, I called her name, I sang "I had a dog her name was "Mule," I barked for her, but still there was no sign of her.  Chelsea and I searched for hours, but still no Sophie.  I think she just went off to die by herself. 

I hate it when dogs die.  Why can't they live as long as humans so we do not have to go through these recurrent times of sadness.  When Sophie's predecessor "Sheba" died I mourned her for years.  She was a hard act for Sophie to follow, but Sophie never really followed her.  Sophie had papers as a Labrador Retriever, but she would never retrieve, and she seemed to hate to swim, although she did seem to love to wade.  On the other hand, at the most improbable moments she would jump in and swim along right beside me for a few moments, and then head back to shore so that she could wade some more. 

Sophie was rather eccentric, with a mind of her own.  Once when she ran away as a puppy in North Merrick we were writing posters to put out on telephone poles to find her.  Sara suggested that we put on the poster "loves brie," since Sophie always was a cheese loving dog. 

Sophie was with me through tough days in my life.  Days when old friends forsook me and made it a policy to unfeelingly hurt me every chance they got.  They did not care to know who I was, but preferred to attack me for not being who they wanted me to be.  This is what we know as "Christian Love."  Sophie just plodded along beside me,  paying everything no mind.

I came to feel that Sophie was sort of my familiar.  I worked hard to understand her, although she seemed to know what I was doing and thinking with no effort whatsoever.  When I was sick she lay beside me to comfort me.  If someone threatened me she stood in front of me  snarling to protect me.  She let me play with her velvet soft ears.  She endured long hot trips in the car, and she put up with less than attentive care at times.

As Sophie aged I observed her physical decline as a model of the process all mammals go through.  Dogs can teach a lot about tolerance and acceptance, about not letting things which cannot be changed bother you.

It has been strange to walk through the old dog walking haunts of the South South Slope with Kiva in these days since Sophie has been gone.  I have been so accustomed to being with "Blackie" and "Brownie" in a tandem for so long that having just Kiva makes me feel unbalanced.  I have favored Sophie over Kiva in some ways, so now he gets his day.  He certainly makes it easier to deal with Sophie's absence.

Once again I think of how my mother told me that "what you expect to happen in life never does."  I have been worried about how to get Sophie out to Paddy Mountain for burial.   Now it turns out that Sophie has spontaneously died at Paddy Mountain on her own.  I will think of her every time I go there, but burial will not be an issue at all.  Oh well. 


Post a Comment

<< Home