I was standing on my Amish neighbor’s porch to get some eggs. The corn in the fields around us was just starting to shoot tassels. The first cutting of hay was down and the jewel of the woods, the black cap raspberry was getting ripe. This was the first time I saw LaVina sit down from her work indicating that I might sit down too.
We had a few pleasant exchanges of what might be considered boring, small talk by outsiders, but really is a way for country folk to size someone up to see how far the conversation might go. After a pause La Vina said , “We lost a dog.” It took me a while to remember, “Oh the old mother dog?” I wasn’t sure it had a name. “Yes it went missing a week or so ago. It was odd that it didn’t come home. It always kept close by us. (It was a shepherd dog) We thought maybe the coyotes got it. She wasn’t getting around so well. Then Rudy (LaVina’s son) was out mowing hay and caught the smell of something dead. He brought the horses to a stop, got off the mower and walked over to some brush along the fenceline at the far corner of our property. There was Trixie lying there. There didn’t look like anything wrong with her. Nothing had got to her. Apparently she decided to go off knowing her time had come.”
There was a tinge of sadness in LaVina’s voice. But even more so I felt a certain surrender that comes from seeing enough of the coming and going of life. Seen enough to know better then to fight it. To say there is this place out there on the far corner, on the edge of what we know that we get called to again and again. It’s out there that we die to old things to make way for new things. From out there comes the call to adventure. To come to the edge of your comfort zone.
The old dog went out to meet the host of the edge. A place she knew she had to go so as to not be a burden to others and to give herself over to whatever comes next. “Rudy said she just laid there under the brush and had the look of peace on her face.” Then LaVina got up and went back to her work.