In the morning, we go out to run errands, and when we get home and I open the door leading from the garage into the laundry room, I expect to see my tiny dog Murphy waiting to greet me. Every time I get ready to go out, I pause, asking myself if I need to bring him. When I’m in the bathroom, I expect to hear him sniffing around outside the door or, more likely, to be in there with me. My arms and lap feel empty without him. I miss that little Yorkie so much. The sense of loss is always there, just under the surface.
After lunch, we grab our cameras, hop in the car, and drive just to see what we can see. I wish I was an accomplished enough writer to adequately describe how I feel when I’m on the wide-open prairie. My breathing slows and deepens as memories of those whose DNA I share—and those who are family through adoption—stories I’ve been told and others I only imagine, begin to percolate at my core, grounding me. At the same time, the endless sky, more beautiful than anything I’ve ever seen, invites my imagination to take flight. The wind whispers “you belong here.”
“Stop here. Pull over,” I say.
Then, I step out of the car, stand on the icy road and, as the wind whips my hair and the flaps of my open jacket, lift my camera to capture an image. I turn, and in each direction take another photo. I might feel small in the middle of all this openness, but instead, I feel rooted. This is my home.
Later, Gerry putters in the garage putting together shelving and organizing things while I chop vegetables and put supper. Maya wanders around in the kitchen thinking it’s time for her dinner. I wish my tiny boy, Murphy, was joining in the effort to convince me but, of course, he’s not. He’s here in my heart and I glance over at the photograph of him I put on a shelf in the living room beside one of Chelsea, our first Yorkie who also left us too soon, and, smile.
This day, like so many others, is a paradox. The prairie, a healing balm.