Sunday, August 8, 2004

Camping was great. We went with four other families. I had a fabulous time. Fallen Leaf Lake was just like I remembered it... although I used to think the hills were bigger and harder to climb, and the rock in the lake was farther from shore. So I guess growing up changes perceptions like that. Heh. But it was so much fun... seeing "the lagoon," "the dam-bridge," "the rock," and everything. A duck bit my toe while I was lying on the beach playing with Kate and Luke. The water was cold but I swam some anyway. We played lots of card games. I slept outside under the stars with lots of little kids. I washed my hair in freezing cold water one morning. I canoed and kayaked around the lake every day. I explored the trails back behind the lagoon with Cleo and Lane. I sat with Henry on the stump of a tree over a hundred years old, partly submerged in the water near the lagoon. He told me that dragonflies have a lifespan of just 24 hours. Kate and Luke tickled my feet and climbed all over me. We played I Doubt It and Nerts and Speed and Spit. I rode my bike around the campground with Cleo and Henry. We roasted marshmellows, and I made a perfect one for Larkin. Dad flipped pancakes one morning like he used to when he worked at Aunt Jemimah's at Disneyland. He's a great pancake cook. I sat on the beach and my nose and toes got a bit sunburned.

There were a few difficult things... there is a 17-year-old girl living at our house right now, and her wonderful family came... I love her siblings and her parents, but she doesn't treat them particularly well at all, and I spent a lot of time breaking up arguments, trying to prevent squabbles, and soothing hurt feelings.

Sometimes I felt like I ended up babysitting a lot of little children, but I loved it anyway. I had a fabulous time.

And I want to marry Henry someday. He is perhaps the nicest, handsomest, bravest, and most generous boy I've ever known. But I am going back to college this fall, while he is staying in Nevada County and starting long division.

While I was on vacation, my newspaper published my article. (The picture is bad, though; is my nose really that big?) And when I arrived home from vacation, there was a message from a guy who read the article and wanted to talk to me. I called him back today, and it was a pretty funny conversation.

Tuesday, August 3, 2004

Sadie: A Good Dog

c. 1988 - August 3, 2004

The best and most beautiful dog a family could ever own.

Monday, August 2, 2004

Our dog Sadie is dying right now.

She's very old... over a hundred years old in dog years... so I've watched her getting older, slower, and more frail all summer, and I've known that she would die soon. But still... I'm really sad. About a week ago I sat beside her and brushed her coat for a long time, talking to her, stroking her head. I brushed, and she licked my arm, and I was sad because I knew she'd die soon. But now she really is dying, and she can't even get up anymore. We're having her put to sleep tomorrow. I'm really sad. She's a part of so many of my childhood memories... I love Sadie, I really do. She's been a good dog. Today I've been lifting her head so she can drink her water. She has the softest, sweetest, prettiest head of any dog in the world. I love to stroke the top of her head, between her soft black ears.

A conversation I had with a friend about a week ago (before I even knew that she would die this soon) has helped me somewhat; otherwise, I think I would feel more badly than I do about having her put to sleep. I asked him what is I suppose a weird question: why is it that euthanasia is a horrible thing for people, but it's okay to put animals to sleep? Maybe the answer is obvious, maybe it's a silly question, but I just wanted to be sure, you know? So I asked him what he thought about this. Because I was worried that Sadie was or would soon be in pain, and I didn't want that for her, but I don't think it's okay to put elderly or terminally ill people out of their pain. So I needed to think about it. And Joel said, "I think the difference might be that human souls continue on after death, and as such, living through a painful experience could benefit the person and those around them, whereas with an animal, it will just be in pain longer."

I had never thought of that. It made a lot of sense to me. I don't know what to think about souls, though. There really isn't Biblical support or anything for the souls of animals enduring past death, and I can't imagine snakes and mosquitos and beetles in Heaven, but... it's Sadie's soul that animates her, that puts the shine behind her dark eyes, and makes her alive... can it really just slip away and be gone, forever? Can something-ness turn into nothing-ness? Will there be animals on the New Earth?

I wish old age could be a nicer thing. Many aspects of it probably are nice, but the frailty of the body failing in old age isn't nice, and it's sad for those who love that person, too. And while probably less so, it's sad with animals, too.