Heading into the back yard with the intention of a walking meditation I see the dirt of the yard, the dark green of the loquat leaves, looking bluish and yellow in the shade and sun, there is the illusion that nothing has changed. The sun is out (fucking San Diego and its insistently fine weather), the raised vegetable beds are flourishing and there are leaves still on the peach and chinese lantern trees; San Diego, home to ambiguous divisions between seasons. But walking slowly, Rudy’s grave visible 20 yards off, I know its simply not true. Another grey hair on my mother’s head, another few leaves on the pepper plant, the abundance of peaches crept stealthily inside in spite of San Diego’s mockery of winter. Change is as afoot as I. As I put one foot in front of the other, Rugby, the three legged pitbull puppy from next door climbs through a broken slat in the fence that Grace made in one of her Houdini-like escape efforts. He comes up behind me and pushes a wet red rubber chew toy against my ankles. Softly persistent he is actually throwing off my balance, and getting dirty puppy slobber all over my perfectly good intentions of a focused meditation, and I can’t help but laugh. Rugby’s left side is more muscular to compensate for the tiny ill-formed limb that is curled beneath his right shoulder. He still acts like puppy, runs all over full of energy and love, bounds around with the other dogs, just falls and slides onto his chin when his weight gets in front of that left paw. Sitting in the adirondack chair under the pepper tree near Rudy’s grave with a cup of tea, I’ve absolutely given up on meditation with the persistent wet rubber toy torture interrupting every time. He wants a tug of war. It goes like this; he cutely and slightly off-balanced hops over to me with a toy, or branch, or stick, whatever, rubs it on me until I take hold and then he pulls me out of my seat and all over, or I pull back and, about evenly matched we do this until one of us gets bored, its always me. Rudy’s grave in front of me I now feel the easing of time, one irreplaceable love, and a new, but different, love evoked in my heart today. Not to replace, just a simple reminder perhaps that love itself isn’t buried along with that which we love when it passes away. A different love, a different relationship, a different face to adore, nonetheless it is that set of unique qualities which each manifestation takes that fills me, personally, with awe for the source of it all, that from which each face springs. I was told, and I believe it is true, that it is not detachment from others but detachment from ourselves that we pursue to find the center of our true selves. In this context we mourn our loves lost but we also recognize that the object of our affection was never ours to begin with. Now he’s literally eating a stick and trying to use his little nub to get leverage, impossibly cute. Absolutely ridiculous.