|August 1, 2003 - July 24, 2012|
Belle brought a finely tuned structure to our household; we timed her walks around her needs, but those walks helped us to get in touch with parts of the outside world and our inner world that we might have missed without her. She always kept an eye on where we were. Her herding instincts were strong and she watched our lives with interest and concern. But I think it was her kindness that let her love us. And I know it was our kindness for her - that allowed us to let her go. It was difficult and necessary. But her herding instincts remained intact even at the end. She raised her head and counted her people before she relaxed that last time.
I am reminded of the second to last stanza of Naomi Shihab Nye's poem. "Kindness" and I truly hope and pray that she won't mind if I use it here.
"Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice catches the thread of all sorrowsand you see the size of the cloth."
And this picture is one of my favorites.
Sweet Belle on a lovely spring afternoon when she felt better. This is how I will remember her best. This was our Belle.
Jan Bowman’s work has appeared in Roanoke Review, Big Muddy, Broadkill Review, Trajectory, Third Wednesday, Minimus, Buffalo Spree (97), Folio, The Potomac Review, Musings, Potato Eyes, and others. She won the 2012 Roanoke Review Prize for Fiction. Her stories have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best American Short Stories and a story was a finalist in the “So To Speak” Fiction Contest. She is working on two collections of short stories and currently shopping for a publisher for a completed story collection. She has nonfiction work pending publication in Spring 2013 Issues of Trajectory and Pen-in-Hand. She writes a weekly blog of “Reflections” on the writing life and posts regular interviews with writers and publishers. Learn more at:
Website – www.janbowmanwriter.com
Blogsite – http://janbowmanwriter.blogspot.com