The First People of North America often regard wolves as guides and teachers. Believe me, after this loss, I am open for instruction. Juneau was given a new trail into the circle of life, and I am trying to find my way through difficult terrain. The margins of life grew a Romeo. He kept vigil near us humans. Juneau answered his invitation. Many 4-leggeds and 2-leggeds vigiled him back. A tribute to the power of Romeo's cross-species flirting was the pattern of leftover dancing paw prints after a play session with several dogs. Each winter day created a series of these roundabouts. The arrival of boot prints in the snow showed us humans catching a second finding of playful wonder as huge prints pranced with pet prints.
And now in retrospect, we are given a third finding. Thanks to poet Richard Wilbur, whose poems remind us that so many wonders can move us into further findings like the 80,000 sparkling things that appear after we acknowledge how little we know or see. And in the largest view, all of these Romeo circles of dance and prance melt into seven years of lake, soil, salmon and raven tease. And presente: here now, always now, the prance and dance is in us. And together, here today, we weave a blanket to catch our tears, and then perhaps to do a blanket toss of all our tears high into the forest air for new vision and for healing some losses and sad things, including the 80,000 sparkles of life from the Gulf of Mexico, Haiti, Iraq and Afghanistan and their special circle of life dances.
Romeo brought playfulness and being open to new and special relationships. I will honor him by seeking wider points of view that melt me into what is good and true, give me a larger sense of family and remind me that all our relations are always nearby, wisdom is available, collective stress and blood pressures can be eased and we can do no better in our lifetimes than to demonstrate kind regard for the earth and all her creatures, ourselves included.
What else helps with this loss? Last month's memorial was a perfect gift. Joel, Harry, Nick, Tina and John balanced on glacier rocks and told Romeo stories that hung some new lights in my heart. And for me, that helps with the anger. True as another poet, Hafiz, says, "Anger sinks the boat." These Romeo stories, in the sweetest way, float our boats and demonstrate a rising tide of respect for all creatures.