Zeus on the doorstep.

19 August 2013 § Leave a comment

“Come on, Zeus,” said the woman. “Let’s go.”

An ancient canine energy stood at the front door of the pop-up camper, glazed eyes looking through the door. Not at me, I thought. Somewhere far beyond me. Maybe for him the camper and I weren’t there, yet something made him stop.

“Sometimes he refuses to move until he’s seen,” said the woman, whose useless leash hung limp from her hand.

“I see you, buddy; do you see me?” I asked Zeus, slowly moving my hand toward his nose. He did not move his head, or any part of his massive Shepherd/Golden Retriever body, but accepted my attention. I massaged behind his ear and felt the years of his loyalty peaking through the bone atop his head.

He continued to gaze into the camper, our Burning Man home, psychedelic lights and all, set up in a down-home Portland neighborhood. An anomaly? A threat to his decades of leashed walks down Southeast 13th, this pink and purple welcome mat set upon the grass?

I did not bend to meet his eyes; we both stood tall and as proud as we could in the moment, and his woman patiently watched our interaction, made no move to pull the god dog away. Her behavior was for me a sign of true companionship, of an intimate knowing of her friend whose twilight was passing quickly.

“Have a good life,” I said to the dog, who, like the tiger Richard Parker, did not look back at me before he walked out of my life forever. We had had our time, like he’d had his, and I was no threat to him.

As if out of respect, the woman looked me in the eye before she led him (or he led her?) home. “Thank you for your affection,” she said warmly.





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