“If you go slowly enough, six or seven months is an eternity—if you let it be—if you forget old things, and learn new ones. Even a week can last forever.”
Rick Bass, Winter

"In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."
Albert Camus

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Part II, Day 69: A Photo Montage Intermission

photo by Tara Freeman, Zoe and me in my writing and meditation studio

Zoe in her favorite bunker, under the deck, watching the house

in trillium season, May of 2012, there was also phlox

Zoe and me in trillium season, photo by Kerry Grant

Zoe looking wolfy in May

Zoe at the entrance to the woods, trillium season, 2012

Zoe's meditation post
 I thought at first this photo was by Tara Freeman, but in fact I took it in early March when we were driving to do a walk with Cooper
photo by Tara Freeman of Zoe and me
I kept seeing this version of Zoe again, this exact face, in the last 10 days of her life
photo by Karen Strauss

photo by Karen Strauss
photo by Tara Freeman

photo by Tara Freeman

photo by Tara Freeman

photo by Tara Freeman

photo by Tara Freeman
Zoe and me having a chat, photo by Tara Freeman

Zoe and me in May, 2012, photo by Kelly Prime

Zoe in front of Chenonceau, the Loire Valley, France, May, 2010
Zoe at her meditation post on my balcony

resting on her funky day bed, a ripped up old sleeping bag of our kids', in my studio

We lived for these moments when she would roll on her back and let us pat her belly

Zoe in winter, her favorite season, after first major snowstorm of 2012
February 12, 2012
Zoe in the French Alps, late May, 2010

I have more posts to write, gentle reader, but today I wanted to share the photo montage I keep seeing in my head as I try to come to terms with both my grief for my beloved Zoe and my gratitude for the beautiful days we've shared together, up to the very end.  

The other day in an e-mail a friend quoted me from an early post when I said that sorrow's soft underbelly is made of the memories of the beloved that give us joy.  (I think I said this more succinctly the first time!)  These are a few of them in pictorial form.  I have more coming soon, and more stories.

Thank you so much for reading and for sharing your own stories about love, mortality, dogs, and more.



  1. Sometimes I think, when I am out walking in the woods, about the small creatures, the birds in particular, who live every minute exactly as who they are and then stop, leaving here (if they do really leave, if any of us do) without ego or attachment (at least, as I imagine/feel they do). And I think, I would like to lay down at the end as simply and quietly as a bird or a spider. Our fellow non-human beings have so much to share with us and tell us, and I am so proud of you, Nat, for being one of the real listeners. The photos in this post are beautiful and heartbreaking. Those eyes!! The one of her in 2012 trillium season standing on the path, looking back at the camera, is my favorite. I checked in this morning for my "winter with Zoe" post, and when I got to the caption about "the last ten days" my heart froze.I didn't even know Zoe, not really, but I'm sitting here crying anyway. You let us know her because of your beautiful blog.
    The day I had to take my sweet cat Max to the vet because a blockage prevented her from getting her breath and there was nothing more we could do, I remember seeing my tears fall on her soft tortoise-shell fur, and thinking, it's right and good that these tears honor her good heart and soul. Later on I was able to just celebrate her life with me--the time as a kitten she leaped onto the table and square into my bowl of hot lentil soup, and leaped out again just as fast, scattering food everywhere--I don't know who was more surprised! How she used to sit on my chest when I was reading in bed before sleeping, and purr right into my heart. Little things like that, from the first day at the animal shelter when your eyes light on the one and you know, all the way to the end. So many of us humans have had this experience, of seeking out those furry companions, caring for them, sharing life with them, and walking with them right to the end. I think Zoe was tremendously fortunate to be part of your family. I thought as I was deciding to comment, "but I don't know what to say..." But then I knew that in some ways it does not matter. I just want to reach out to you and let you know I'm thinking of you. No particular wisdom or comfort, just here I am with my kleenex box, along with, I am sure, many of your other readers.

  2. Dear Anne, What an exquisite comment--worthy of being its own post--about listening to the creatures, domesticated and otherwise, "who live every minute exactly as who they are and then stop, leaving here (if they do really leave, if any of us do) without ego or attachment . . ." That's it, really. So we have to listen. And celebrate their lives, like Max as a kitten leaping into the lentil soup bowl, and purring into your heart. Thank you so much for writing today. Thank you, thank you.

  3. Beautiful photos, and a lovely comment from Anne. I'm just listening to the two of you. My favorite photo is of Zoe on the quilt, with her paw to the left, by Tara Freeman. She is sharing her spirit with all of us in that photo.

  4. My son, Toby Keller, met you and Zoe at Chautauqua Institute and he told me your story and I have been reading your blogs since then. Zoe was a beautiful dog! We are so blessed by our dogs and the love, companionship and fun they bring into our lives!

    1. Dear Dawn, Thank you so much for reading and for writing me this message. I'm honored. Toby's a great writer and a kind spirit and please wish him my very best.