Tuesday, April 1, 2014

In Dog Years

My dog and I, almost 10 years ago, walking into the Pacific Ocean. 
Today was my dog Buju's 10th birthday. This is a significant milestone - he's 70 in dog years! I met Buju while walking along the Pacific coast in Costa Rica what seems like several lifetimes ago. My life was very different then; I was 18 and just starting to learn Spanish. I was on my own for my first time, playing violin and waiting tables in a small coastal town. My world was full of uncertainty, a fact which lead to not a small number of missteps.

At 18, I allowed initial gut reactions to guide my decision-making process. This was a process that, although on the one hand had significant drawbacks, on the other hand had glorious and unexpected triumphs. Inviting Buju into my life was definitely one of the triumphant decisions I made because not only have I been able to watch him grow into the great dog that he is, but also because he immediately set about making me into a better person with his humble, unwavering presence.
Inquisitive nose, floppy paws
Together, we have lived 8 degrees off the equator in Costa Rica, in the Arizona desert, and in my native Wisconsin. He has been a steadfast traveling companion, a watchdog over many sad nights filled with tears, and the comic relief in tense moments. He always wants to be near me when I am reading, which gave me the solace and fortitude I needed in the many late nights I spent in preparation for my Masters Exams last year.

His guileless gaze greets me everyday, his intense curiosity forces me to breath fresh air no matter what the weather. And that's Buju: making me better, no matter what the weather.
The art of the nap
I wrote a lot of poetry as an adolescent and into my early 20s. I haven't written anything in a very long time, but I thought in honor of Buju's special day, I'd write a little something dedicated to him...

The cautious tilt of earth
brings you closer to
a season
of shedding.

The lingering flavor of bones –
tiny deaths of squirrels
and memories
of autumn.

The persistent dents of your dreams
pressed onto the aging foam 
of the raft 
on which you drift in sleep.

The kettle in the morning –
Whines before it whistles;
A daily pricking up
of ears.

Your face observing my breakfast
from the rounding
and rounding
of my knee.


  1. Beautiful. A pair and a pairing meant to be.

    1. ...thanks to you he has all those perfectly descriptive nicknames!

  2. Thanks Taiko for this beautiful piece about Buju and the poem honoring him. Here in response is a philosophical bare-bone of a poem that your papa Emile wrote that last year when Emma more than ever was his life-line. xoeva

    Fine Tuning

    I look at my dog
    she looks at me
    everything is clear
    between us

    I look at myself
    in the mirror
    I do not quite
    get the same result

    time has come
    to say
    I know this
    I do not know

    1. This is so moving! Thank you for sharing it with me!! I would love to look at the original!