had a dream last night...
I had a dream last
night (Yes, I really did)...
I went to a fair
in the British countryside. It wasn't a carnival type of fair, but the
kind of fair that I've heard they have in the countryside there, where
the farmers bring their animals for sale.
I sat at a little
bistro-sized, round, white table, and presently, an old man came and
seated himself across from me. He was a very proper gentleman, wearing
a dark tweed coat and a woolen cap. He was very old and bent, and he
walked with a cane, but still lean and fairly fit for his advanced age.
His eyes were grey, but clouded with age. He looked me in the eye and
proceeded to tell me about a pup that he had for me.. a favorite pup
from a long line of his breeding. I protested softly that I did not
want a pup and was not looking, but he continued as if he hadn't heard
me and began to tell me about the mother of this pup, and her mother
before that. Both favorite working dogs of his. I guessed that he had
Border Collies and that he had likely kept them from his youth.
I was troubled
because I could see that this was important to him, but it had no significance
to me at all. I just didn't want a pup. I love dogs, but I don't have
any and I certainly wasn't looking for one. Then the old man bent forward,
and he took my hand. His hand felt bony and cold, and his cool, grey
eyes were clouded with cataracts. But there was no mistaking the keen
look in his eyes, or the tears that had began to form in them. There
was urgency and insistence from his quarter and he would not take "no"
for an answer.. He wanted me to take this pup, from his own lineage,
to keep. I didn't know what to say, and I worried that I would not even
be worthy or capable of the trust and responsibility that he was putting
on me. If he was entrusting the remnant of his bloodline to my care,
how would I find a suitable mate for this pup?
Then someone to
my left placed a big, black and white pup, about three months old, into
my arms. As the pup began to squirm and tried to lick my face, my attention
was drawn away from the old man momentarily. When I looked back, he
had gone...and I was still holding the pup.
And that was the
end of the dream...
I awoke then, and
it was 3:30 AM, an hour when I am never awake. My husband was awake,
too, but lying still. I told him I had awakened from a dream, and when
he asked what it was about, I hesitated to tell him, but after struggling
with my feelings a bit, I did share it with him. He said nothing. But
in the silence, I knew that he understood. We both fell back to sleep.
When my grandmother
was old, she gave me a very old mantleclock. It was a small clock, cast
from an unknown metal and gold-leafed. It was very ornate, a fascinating
piece featuring two winged griffons. The clock itself was held up between
their upraised wings.
was poor. She had inherited a home from her sister, with fine furnishings,
but she never had much money and scrimped to get by. If not for the
untimely death of her sister, who had married well and inherited some
property, my grandmother and grandfather would have been destitute.
She and grandfather had come to California to raise walnuts many years
earlier but they were wiped out in the Great Depression years. She guarded
her few possessions zealously, and to her, anything like this clock
was a priceless treasure.
It happened one
day that I went to her home with my mother, and on this occasion, grandmother
presented this clock to my mother to keep from then on. Mom (still acting
out in rebellion from her upbringing, I suppose) rejected the offering
in a pretty cruel fashion, referring to this heirloom as a "piece
of junk". I could see that grandmother was crushed, and I stepped
forward to save the moment. I said, "Grandmother, I would like
to have the clock!". With not another word, she handed it to me.
I knew that grandmother
was trying to say something when she offered that clock, and I understood
the meaning right away. She was saying, "I know I will not be here
forever, and I want to pass something precious on to you, before I am
gone." My mother, still harboring some sort of anger, missed the
meaning and spoiled a rare moment. But for me, it was a time in my young
life when I stood tall and did the right thing. I was only 11 years
old then, and now, some 42 years later, I still have that clock. It
is still prized, along with the memory of my grandmother.
myself a breeder once, and I understand a certain feeling that many
breeders have of wanting to share something that they love, something
precious, with the world, even after we have gone on from this life.
And even if our humble offerings seem frivolous or unimportant to others
who don't understand, nevertheless, it is precious to us because it
was a focal point of our lives, and perhaps all or most of that which
many of us had to call our own. It is precious because it is life, patent
and unique in it's genetic inheritance and characteristics. Just like
our own children and family, or the other creatures that share our world,
our dogs and other domestic animals represent the only form of immortality
that we know on this earth.. Life, which with good fortune and care,
truly may not die.
that the animal rights people would consider that loving animals is
also about supporting and caring about the other people who love them
also. But I suspect that their form of love is far more selfish and
strident in nature.
I am reminded of
the story of Solomon in the Old Testament... This king was also a judge
over Israel and presided over all sorts of disagreements. He prayed
to G_d (God) for wisdom, so that he would be fit to judge his people.
And it was given to him, because he was widely renknowned and his wisdom
One day Solomon
was brought the matter of two women who both argued that they were the
real mother of one baby. Neither would desist in their claim. But Solomon
knew exactly what to do.. He ordered that if neither woman would surrender
their claim, that the infant should be cut in two with the sword, and
one half given to each of the claimants. One woman, not disuaded, insisted
upon her claim, and the other capitulated and relinquished her claim
to the other. At this point, Solomon knew which was the true mother,
because only one woman loved the child enough to give up her claim so
that it might live, and that woman was the real mother! Whereupon, the
child was awarded to the true mother, the one who would have given her
child up to spare it's life.
think that this is a good allegory for our situation with animal rights
activists. They insist that they have the right to decide what is good
for animals, even if their purposes are secretly selfish and their means
and motives are spiteful, hateful and arrogant. Even if the animals,
as a whole, will be hurt and killed, they insist and argue for the right
to control them and their future. They are like that perverse woman
who pretended to motherhood in Solomon's court so long ago.