This time in-between, for me, is one of reflection, a time of note writing or even a phone call just to say, “I am thinking of you.” Being thoughtful and having compassion for all sentient beings is peace on earth regardless of the season.
I remind myself of that every year but this year, the memory of Thanksgiving of 2012 with beagle Cooper James loomed large. Longtime readers of this blog may remember our adventures together.
Mine is a mostly vegetarian home for I am mostly Buddhist. Yet, in 2012, I could not let go of the thought—even through meditation—that I needed to purchase a fresh turkey for Thanksgiving.
As is often the way with these nagging thoughts, it was not about a mostly vegetarian/Buddhist human purchasing a turkey. It was about canine Cooper being on turkey watch, his personal aroma therapy.
It would take me two years to make the connection.
Cooper was curious about life, always willing to explore, yet he had a respect for boundaries, especially when it came to human food. He had learned treats come from behavior that humans like.
He was a master of canine kitchen behavior; always, he waited until I left the room. I was grateful for the way Cooper kept the floor clean–I hated sweeping and mopping floors more than any other chores–Cooper seemed born to both.
Thus, Cooper on turkey watch was at a respectable distance from the oven door but in full view of every possible angle of the kitchen. He quickly mastered the timing of turkey basting. His low, beagle keen was within minutes of the timer’s announcement.
From afar, he watched in complete contentment as I basted the turkey. It was as if he loved the aroma of anticipation as much as the turkey he knew would come his way. Cooper was in the moment, and it was one of his best.
Food was Cooper’s first love. I never minded playing second fiddle. He was not greedy in the way he ate or how much he consumed. For a beagle, he was remarkably patient.
He simply got through moments as they were presented to him, no matter how familiar or beloved the scent. He met each one as if it were for the first time. He lived with an enthusiasm I have not met again.
The aroma of life is heady in itself for life is a banquet, and we need not starve ourselves with conditions or certain ways to partake of it. It need not always be set up like a Thanksgiving dinner eaten off plates used once a year.
The zest of life is in each new moment we have, whether it is the aroma or the actual bite of turkey, there need not be conditions or expectations. We need merely experience the joy of the moment.
Cooper had an unconditional love for living life unconditionally. I do my best to remember this on all the days of these years I live without him.
His last Thanksgiving was that November 22, 2012, the year that some believed the world would never begin as all others had. As an ever-present, sentient being, one day or forever were the same to Cooper. His presence on this planet ended on the last day of 2012.
I do think of Cooper on New Year’s Eve but it is on Thanksgiving that the heady scent of Cooper’s memory wafts through my mind. And yes, there is the aroma of roasting turkey.
A Kindness Note for All Seasons: The awesome August McLaughlin is hosting the first #SparkleFriday kindness event on November 28, Black Friday. Check out her blog post or RSVP the Facebook event page.