“…for love is strong as death…” Song of Solomon 8:6
When I was young, I lived in a garden. There was technically a house in that garden, but I wasn’t in it very much other than to eat a few bites or to sleep in a glass-walled sun porch that looked out on — you guessed it — the garden.
This garden was a multi-roomed masterpiece given the generous nature of California weather, the creation of a woman named Daisy who found even the smallish bungalow at its front too much to contend with in her later years and sold it to my parents.
A farmette at the back of the property — full of fruit trees and berries and an English walnut whose branches stretched out over an alley — was nice. But, my favorite space was the “room” closest to the house.
This might have been a function of youthful fear. More likely, it was the flowers. This space was loaded with roses and daisies and was an excellent place to hang out with Bobby, the dog of my childhood, who seemed as interested in following the magical silver trails of snails as I was.
Bobby has long since gone on to that Pantheon of the Good Dog. As has Luki, the scrappy stray who graced my single-lady years, rejecting every date until one young man arrived with such unlikely things like cheddar cheese bits in his pocket. (We will celebrate 27 years of marriage this summer.)
Aldo is also in the pantheon. This astonishingly beautiful dog-child of our newlywed years went everywhere we did, even across a national border. When human babies at long last arrived, he recognized them as the pups they were and responded in kind, carrying about and grooming a tiny pink bear of his own.
And, Miles, too, is now there.
Sweet Miles – the dog of my daughters’ childhood, the dog who once raced to the front of the line when it was time for their evening haircare, the dog who settled onto the couch with a relieved sigh, his head propped on my right hip, when those wilder things finally went to bed. The dog who would absolutely have hated their imminent fledging.
His season, like our daughters’ childhood, is gone. Suddenly gone. But, there is a garden in back of our home that both Aldo and Miles loved in turn. It’s full of daisies and ants, birds and chipmunks, the occasional silvery trail of snail.
Someday, there will be another dog there. The dog of our empty nest. But, for now, I like to think of Miles in that space, sunning on the deck with his snout nestled in a crook of the railing. I can almost see him still.