How little endures

Do you still not know how little endures?

Fling the nothing you are grasping

out into the spaces we breathe.

Maybe the birds

will feel in their flight

how the air has expanded.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

The first thing I did last night upon arriving home from work was, as usual, to feed the cats. Conspicuously absent, as she had been that morning, was Flo. Something didn’t feel right…she’s usually the one waiting in the drive when I pull up. When I took Belle, my Pomeranian, outside, I decided to look around…and saw something laying near the house under a Needlepoint Holly. It was Flo…curled up peacefully…but with eyes fixed in a distant gaze. I’m not quite sure what happened to her…no evidence of foul play…just ‘gone’ from this world.

I picked her up…carried her into the woods…and buried her the best I could. There’s been no rain lately, and the ground wouldn’t give in to the old shovel that I brought along. I gently laid her at the base of a sweet gum…heaped a pile of dried up leaves over her…and then covered it with some dried up branches. It set me thinking…about this little wild beast that had showed up on my doorstep about a year ago, with her sister Eddie…both tiny kittens. What was her world like for that brief span of time…what wonders did she see that I haven’t seen…and will probably never see from her particular point of view? What did she think of me when she rubbed her head against my leg when I sat on the porch…purring like she was in seventh heaven? Did I reciprocate…giving her the attention she deserved? Or did I just dismiss her as some cute little animal?

Death is surely a puzzle…a serious issue…and it’s very hard to grasp the significance of it all. It brings to mind some lines from Annie Dillard’s book, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

“In the Koran, Allah asks, “The heaven and the earth and all in between, thinkest thou I made them in jest?

There’s something deadly serious going on here…something that we need to pay attention to. Something that deserves our attention…because it only endures for a very brief time.


There’s an uneasy stillness in the air this evening…broken only by the strange call of the cicadas, and an occasional crow letting everyone else know that something’s up. There are giants roaming the neighborhood tonight. Days such as this…hot and humid…tend to give birth in the afternoon to convective thunderstorms. I first heard their approach from inside the house…then went out onto the porch to get a first row seat. They were probably a few miles away, but I could see them lumbering towards the east…their still sunlit tops growing visibly into the upper reaches of the troposphere…billowing against the deep blue sky of the early evening…every now and then, emitting a low rumbling of caution.