Aremus

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I collect quotes and snippets of wisdom wherever I find them. This usually results in happy synchronicity, when I rediscover scraps of paper in drawers, pockets, purses, and books, upon which I’ve scrawled sources of inspiration. The words I saved and tucked away months, or even years ago, often so perfectly describe or deepen my current experience that it’s like receiving a perfectly-timed gift from myself.

This morning, as Malarky took a blessed nap, I cleaned out my top desk drawer. I’m addicted to “neat,” but my top desk drawer is like my psychic shadow, where all my secrets are shoved and stored until I confront, assess, and reorder them into a semblance of intentional and meaningful wisdom. Again. This happens only when I can’t actually close the drawer. Again.

Today, I came across a piece of paper that held this sentence: “The Wabanaki Confederacy of Native Americans called their dogs, ‘aremus,’ an honored reference that meant, ‘the one who walks with us.’”

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I have no idea where I first encountered this, or if it’s true, but I love its identification of the way I’ve deeply experienced the companionship of all of my 4-leggeds as we’ve traveled through our days and years together. Their physical and spiritual presence colors my memories, which would be incomplete without them. 

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Malarky is proving to be a “good boy,” who takes to training happily and isn’t shy about exploring and realizing his own personality as well. I conveniently forgot, after 15 years with Riley and Clancy, what a great amount of energy and attention puppies require, but we’ve settled into a fairly reliable rhythm, dancing mainly around the needs of puppy’s bladder, puppy’s need for exercise and play, and puppy’s naptimes. My free time to write, photograph, shop, garden, cook, bathe—you get the picture (but not from my camera)–has diminished greatly, but I know it’s a phase, and a worthy one we trust will result in a healthy, happy companion. Hopefully, when that time arrives, I’ll still be mentally capable of being his companion, because right now I’m not so sure.

I’ve developed a new-found love for Tuesday nights, because that’s when Malarky goes to Puppy Kindergarten with Phillip, and comes home ready to spend most of Wednesday in recovery from all the fun he’s had. Yes! Thank you, God of Puppy-Training!

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He seems to enjoy practicing commands, which is encouraging, but responding to them when one of the cats is approaching is probably the best test for all involved. In casting about for the “gift in all things,” let us say that establishing these feline-canine relationships will strengthen and improve my patience considerably. We’ll leave it at that, for now. (Sit, Malarky…SIT, Malarky…SIT, MALARKY!) I’m supposed to use a high voice when I praise, and a firm voice when I command, and they get mixed up and have even been directed at Phillip, at times. Oh, dear. (But he sits like a charm.)

We’ve been held in the spell of an El Nino weather system for the past two months, which allowed us to set out on a warm, lovely canoe ride last weekend. Malarky seemed to enjoy it, although we kept it brief for his benefit.

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Phillip is great about thinking of little field trips to broaden Malarky’s experience and social skills. We went strolling through a local park filled with effigy mounds a few weekends ago, and he’s accompanied Phillip on weekend remodeling jobs, too.

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He helped us (finally) clean the gardens, on Sunday, and his obvious delight with everything he encounters continues to renew our own delight with life. I’m excited that we might receive several inches of snow tomorrow night. I can’t wait to see Malarky’s reaction when we step outside Saturday morning. Every day, his wonder lifts my heart.

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I’ve been baking for Thanksgiving in fits and starts. Family will be visiting and making merry with us next week, my favorite time of year, and this year we have so many blessings to celebrate!

The last time we gathered was the day before our sweet Riley died, and so the turning from sorrow to joy marks the holidays as especially sweet this year. That, and the “Dina Tates” we harvested this autumn. They are named for a friend who encouraged me to plant potatoes and relish the taste, compared to store-bought spuds. She was absolutely right!

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Yet it feels like we’re traveling into the holiday season with heavier burdens of anxiety, fear, and sadness regarding humanity’s failure to forge lasting, loving relationships. I continue to believe humankind’s currency can be kindness and our common language compassion, but the fires kindling these hopes are dying down, due to the violent and angry choices so many seem to be making. It breaks my heart to see a world of such magical and miraculous potential lack the imagination, energy, and love required to be realized.

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But my darling aremus continues to pull me along into joy, each tiny miracle revealing itself and reminding me that there are mysteries of endless delight to be uncovered every moment. And each time I open a book, a desk drawer, a purse, there are words from another traveler to inspire my journey, while the one who walks with me is at my side kindling fires of hope.

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May hope, grace, gratitude, and compassion bless all your gatherings and partings. May your journeys be safe and your love returned, in abundance. May hope grow and fear depart; may peace live joyfully within your heart. May we dream and then create a new world, fiercely and deeply aware of the great good possible, and believing it’s already being accomplished.

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Hope is not optimism, which expects things to turn out well, but something rooted in the conviction that there is good worth working for.  ~Seamus Heaney

Hope is the deep orientation of the human soul that can be held at the darkest times.  ~Vaclav Havel

There are stars whose radiance is visible on Earth though they have long been extinct. There are people whose brilliance continues to light the world though they are no longer among the living. These lights are particularly bright when the night is dark. They light the way for humankind.  ~ Hannah Senesh

We can start from where we are, with what we have, and imagine and work for the healings that are necessary. But we must begin by giving up any idea that we can bring about these healings without fundamental changes in the way we think and live. We face a choice that is starkly simple: we must change or be changed. If we fail to change for the better, then we will be changed for the worse.  ~ Wendell Berry, Sex, Economy, Freedom and Community

There is no way to peace. Peace is the way. ~A.J. Muste

If planetary peace seems beyond our reach, recall: Miracles are natural when we rely on the Source of All to carry our burdens with us. Then, even peace is possible. ~ Nan Merrill with Barbara Taylor, Peace Planet: Light for Our World

It may sound trite, but using the weapons of the enemy, no matter how good one’s intentions, makes one the enemy.  ~ Charles de Lint

You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.  ~ G. K. Chesterton

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.  ~ Albert Einstein

Gratitude is so close to the bone of life, pure and true, that it instantly stops the rational mind, and all its planning and plotting. That kind of letting go is fiercely threatening. I mean, where might such gratitude end? ~ Regina Sara Ryan

No culture has yet solved the dilemma each has faced with the growth of a conscious mind: how to live a moral and compassionate existence when one is fully aware of the blood, the horror inherent in all life, when one finds darkness not only in one’s own culture, but within oneself…If there is a stage at which an individual life becomes truly adult, it must be when one grasps the irony in its unfolding and accepts the responsibility for a life lived in the midst of such paradox. There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.  ~ Barry Lopez (excerpted from Arctic Dreams)

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11 thoughts on “Aremus

  1. My dear Kitty, these are very hard days for me, and I have been unable to communicate in the ways I’m used to, because of heartbreak and sadness. This post reached me in a very personal way… your tale of first steps and the education of he who walks with us, and the beautiful quotes you found that celebrate and illuminate the path to peace. Thank you so much for these words, when I do not trust my lips to offer any words of my own. Thank you for your bravery and your youth, and your love. much appreciated.

  2. Oh, my dear friend, I have been holding you so tenderly and close in my heart…how I wish you could visit and sit at my table, and walk with us…in our imaginations, we can do this. I know, too, that your Nechama is a very blessed companion, and that you have family and friends who are present and loving…may the truth of all these who love you, and all you love, overwhelm your rising sadness and heal your heartbreak. Sometimes, all we have is our response. Let it be joy, while it may. I do send my love and will keep it flowing, unimpeded, to your heart.

  3. Oh…I loved those quotes, especially the last one. Yes, we have to keep on muddling through life, clinging to whatever morals we can hang onto….accepting that there are no answers to some questions, or at least, no answers that we can understand.
    “The one that walks with us.” How beautiful, I too always need to travel with a dog!
    I’m sorry, but I was laughing throughout most of this post….it sure is a culture shock rearing a puppy after so many years of having grown up, well behaved dogs…..I bet you love Tuesday evenings!!! I’d love them too….as for the different voices and using the wrong one on Philip….that had me laughing out loud!!! Priceless stuff….only wish I was there to witness it all. I must say, at time I only have one voice for my three and hubs, and that’s irate!!!
    I’ve been looking forward to seeing how Malarky has grown, and HOW he’s grown already!!! Gosh, what a darling! How lovely to see him in the boat. He’s developing just as Annie did, they even have the same curly tail!
    A beautiful post, as always….how I love visiting here!!! You hang on in there girl, hopefully you’ll have more time soon….only about eighteen months to go!!! xxx

    • We’ve been laughing a lot, too…what else is there to do in the face of such outrageous delight? Although, as Phillip says, when I get tired, I get cranky, so there’s that, too. (I speak irate fluently.)

      Mostly fun, and I although I don’t remember all of this upheaval with Riley and Clancy’s baby days, I do recall how very quickly it passes…I agree with you, it seems like he’s growing every day, right before my eyes!

      We’ve been so happy with our DinaTates…quite a gift, since we thought the tornado had ended that adventure for this year. Will look forward to sharing with our family on Thanksgiving.

      I really couldn’t do this well without the support of dear ones who have been through it, so thank you sooooo much, Dina! Sending love and hugs. xxoo

  4. You picked a winner Kitty! Malarky is such a sweet being and such a beautiful face! I hope he brings you much love and a mended heart. Love to see his pictures. It will be fun to follow his growth over time. Thanks for sharing. Best to you my friend and enjoy your wonderful holidays and fill them with love 🙂 VK ❤

  5. I think Clancy and Riley picked Malarky out for us. 🙂 He’s a sweetie, all right.

    Blessings to your gatherings, too, VK; I hope you’ll be surrounded by great love–and delicious treats–this season, and that peace will grace your heart with it sweet, sweet gifts. I hold your joy in my heart.

  6. A beautiful post, Kitty. I love having a word, aremus, to represent the value of those who walk with us. I treasure my sweet Angel Eyes every day and value her presence on our journey together. Actually, I had a dream a few months before she came into my life, that I was climbing a long steep rocky mountain path and there was a dog at my side, accompanying me on the journey. And so when it came to making a decision to let a dog into my life, it was the dream that encouraged me to do so. And so she really is the “one who walks beside me” – thank you for sharing this reflection.

    • What a wonderful story, Lynn! I love that your dream led to Angel Eyes joining your family. I always feel so “accompanied” by my 4-leggeds, as though we’re in continual communication and awareness of each other, without human words being exchanged…Blessings to you and your Angel!

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