The Black Dog of Joy
"We're in this together, the wild, the domestic, the wormy, the laughing ones and the weepers, black dogs and Buddhas....all of us dancing in the stream of everything."
from Trauma Farm by Brian Brett
I am a small inconsequential speck in the vastness of the universe. I am united with every single other organism on the planet. I am insignificant, and a part of Everything, in the selfsame moment, which keeps me humble, and feeling connected to the All That Is, at one and the same time. I gaze at the mystery of the night sky and I know, somewhere up there, is my path Home, through the clouds into another world, where I will journey one day. The mourning dove sings to me in the evening, and the hummingbirds dive-bomb the feeder as twilight falls. In the morning, the horse's whicker in the fields and the blue jay's call at the seed stump serenade my waking, and I step out to breathe in lake-scent and willow, which brings me full circle, from my earliest rememberings to Now, and I am, in fast-forward, that round-eyed child and this faded-eyed crone, and every age in between. Tell me that Heaven will be as beautiful as this planet and I will set aside all fear. Tell me there will be an ocean, and ancient cedar, and dogs. Yes, let there be dogs and I will not fight those final breaths. A neurosurgeon, a scientist who had no faith in anything unproven, died to the world for seven days, and when he finally woke, he said he had visited heaven. What made my heart leap is that he saw dogs there, leaping and running joyously with the people. I always believed dogs would be there, but now I know it. I will see my boy again. That big black wolf will run joyously to meet me and we will tumble together with the force of our reunion, as he used to throw himself upon me after every absence. And then we will point our noses towards the nearest sea, and walk again, as we did for so long....as I have not been able to do since he's been gone. "Black dogs and Buddhas"........yes, that will be my heaven and, meanwhile, the thought of it comforts my sojourn here, the thought of all that joy, just waiting for me up ahead, in a country I have not yet walked through, yet feel I know so well, so often have I read stories brought back by those who have briefly left this world, and then returned. For me, Heaven is a big black laughing dog.
Kids,I just finished reading Trauma Farm, whose wonderful quote inspired my prose poem. And then began Proof of Heaven, A Neurosurgeon's Journey Into the Afterlife, by Eben Alexander, M.D., whose tale of seeing dogs joyously leaping in the heavenly realms made my heart go pitter-pat.