A few days ago, at a little after noon on March 25, 2019, my old friend and companion Deacon closed his eyes for the last time and left this physical plane for whatever lies beyond, if anything. In the scheme of things it was alright, because in dog terms, at least, Deacon was immensely old, somewhere between eighteen and twenty years of age. I’ll never know this number exactly because he came to me third-hand, and the details of his early life have been lost to the mists of time.

His passing was not unexpected, as he had been in declining health for quite some time. Sure there were little rebounds now and again, but the general downward trend was undeniable. In a small way Deacon’s departure was a blessing, as it usually is when the thing you have long fearfully anticipated finally arrives, and the crushing dread born of uncertainty is at last put to rest.

Deacon had all of the traits you want in a companion: keen intelligence, loyalty, sociability, playfulness, protectiveness, pride, an unwillingness to suffer fools, a certain toughness. He would have made an excellent human. His passing leaves a large void in my modest little life at a vulnerable time, and as major changes are wont to do, has focused my thinking.

Deacon was with me for thirteen years, seven months, and twenty nine days. In that time the world has changed a great deal, and so have I. When I first met Deacon the blush of youth was still upon me, if faintly. But it has since fled, and I now am inescapably old. The mirror, painfully honest, does not lie.

The ground shifts beneath my feet. With every passing day this or that piece of the hometown I have known and loved for more than a half century is erased, and yet another marker of my existence disappears into the void. Time and change hurtle forward at a pace increasingly beyond my ability, or willingness, to adapt. I feel now as though a stranger in my own home, plagued by an acrid, ever-deepening sense of permanent dislocation.

Consider this a first draft. In due time, when the grief has subsided sufficiently, I will compose a proper tribute. Until then: Rest easy my old friend. And keep your eyes peeled; I’ll likely be along before you know it.



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