In memory of a special soul
“Chispa”
August 2019

 

She always was a car dog.

My trailblazing, cabrio loving adventure puppy.

By day and by choice, she lived mostly in the foot well, with her water bowl and a shoe.

The car was always open. My rugged cabrio, fit for an (adventure) queen. A parasol wedged against the handbrake to keep her cool.

Or in dawn adventure mode, riding pillion…

enthroned, up high….

surfing on my open convertible hood as I drove ‘stapvoets’ hugging the mountain curves, for our morning hike.

A four legged, jumbo eared hero in my rear view mirror, as we played our happy song 

Her gargantuan ears streaming in the wind. She had the balance of a circus artiste. 

Chispa the circus dog. Todo siempre bien.

She always was a car dog

Adventure ready, with one shoe in her possession.

I spent several precious years retrieving shoes from field and valley

Announcing my lateness, with ” …. I had to go looking for my shoe”….  

After a while I gave up

The state of “One Shoed-ness” evolved into a state  of “Permanent Bare Footed-ness”

I have more than once had to explain to the Guardia Civil in the village

with the sort of assuredness that is impossible to argue with

¡Señor! I NEVER drive with shoes (con los ochos vendados//with blindfolds on my feet)

I once travelled, accidentally, all the way to Holland barefoot. 

I had a lot of explaining to do, especially on the NL side. 

She won hearts and exceptions in the face of authority. 

She taught me to feel the love, hold my head up high and keep on adventuring.

That no matter how formal the arena, how official the (uni)form

Nothing trumps Vibe, self deportment and certainty. 

Hondje komt altijd mee.

Todo Siempre Bien.

The shoe? Chispa’s symbol of going somewhere. Progression, adventure, transition, human readiness. And heart achingly. Togetherness.

I didn’t know then, how much I would miss searching for my missing shoe nor how jarring two shoes together would look.

I didn’t know then that both the search and the shoe would become a personal metaphor for moving towards.

Towards what? 

Only Chispa and I will ever know.

Hondje komt altijd mee.

She always was a car dog. 

She travelled to every party, every restaurant, every retreat and every beach…always the gracious guest. 

She reassured even the most fearful. 

A natural born healer.

Hondje komt mee. Altijd.

She always was a car dog. 

Always there to remind me, with head slightly cocked, of the preciousness of life. We-don’t-do drink-n-drive. 

Always there to curl up with me, under a majestic algarroba tree until I’d slept off a cocktail too many. 

Always one ear cocked and with a lexicon of growls which only I knew how to decipher, should I need to.

Always there.

Todo siempre bien.

She always was a car dog

Even with the Tesla driving Dutch taxi drivers a No became a Yes

She cracked the toughest of faces.

Hondje komt altijd mee.

She accompanied me on every aeroplane. Every. Single. Flight.

Riding high in the handbag section of the airport trolley – Chispa’s Airport Cabrio. 

She always had a throne.

Scaling escalators two at a time to the tune of “This is the final call”. She always got us there on time. She got closed gates re-opened as a No became a Yes.

Onboard, she was as at home under the seat in front of me, as she was in the footwell of my car.

My ever ready adventure dog.

A dog with air miles as epic as her ears.

And a dog that saved my cliff diving, SUP boarding life more than once with her cocked head, sharp look and lexicon of astute barks. 

She always knew how to warn me and I learned to always listen.

She took great pride in being the children’s guardian. When they were little, even as a puppy, she would warn them and me if they swam to the deep end of the pool. How did she know? She just did.

Todo siempre bien.

Estamos siempre seguros.

Seeing and feeling things previously elusive are a Chispa-given legacy of indescribable preciousness. 

To cock my head and listen to the wind. 

A barometer for knowing if an impending decision, adventure or transaction was in my best interests.

A cocked-headed-ness that traversed borders and knew no distances.

Questions continue to revolve. To some there are answers, “Claro Que Si!” 

And to some, as yet, nothing but a gaping Chispa shaped hole.

That I left her in the loving arms of my experienced neighbour-best-friend to go on a carefully considered mission for family togetherness. 

That I took that flight to Denmark without her. 

We have chickens they said, firmly. 

Out of respect, I didn’t argue that Chispa had never harmed a lifetime of free-roaming chickens

A respect which became a sacrifice of epic proportions. 

Hondje komt niet mee.

That I extricated myself from the giddy banal feckless-ness of Lego-Land some 3000 kilometers away from her…

Because of a tremendous sense of urgency to go to the hire car. That I searched high and low amongst 8 rollercoaster rides, for the person who had the key. “I have to go to the car, I said.” Todo Bien. I just have to go to the car”…

That I walked, at speed, a couple of kilometers in freak-heat conditions to answer that call of urgency.

That the sense of fore-boding when I opened the car doors, 3000 kilometers away, would overwhelm me as I ran to open all the hire car doors and boot. 

A Deadly Heat, I thought. Deadly.

“If Chispa was in this car…. ” Stop thought. 

Cars must always be open. Estamos siempre seguros. Viva el cabrio!! 

That the antidote to that foreboding was to get into the car with all the doors open, allow the wind to rush through, close my eyes and play our Happy Song 3 times. Togetherness…

To see and feel the previously un-seeable and un-feelable is Chispa’s great legacy to me. 

That even in my physical absence I could be energetically present in her passing. Love without borders, that knows no distance.

That she called me to be with her

Bids an acknowledgement both solemn and joyful, that all forms of life are intertwined. 

That we are not separate from each other

And that all we need do, is listen and feel.

15 minutes later, I returned to Lego-Land. 

An hour later, I got the hysterical phone call. 

Dear neighbour friend could never have known.

The stealth with which my flappy eared little puppy dog 

Could move

Into a car’s footwell. 

Un-noticed.

Dear neighbour friend could never have known

that her policy of always leaving the car door wedged open

Was by some freak of nature, fallible.

Questions continue to wake me

Was it the wind? 

What force of nature could bring about this catastrophic end? 

(Only Chispa will ever know).

Is this gone-ness real? But I just heard her.

If I had tuned in even further, would I have made a call to ask how Chispa was doing, perhaps preventing the tragedy?

Will the choreographies of standing to one side when I open a door (Chispa gaat altijd eerst) or of  lifting my forearms when I sit down so she could jump onto my lap, or of listening for her ear flapping signal of awake-ness from my early meditation, slowly leave me? 

That Chispa took her last breath in my neighbours arms… did she hold out by some depth of resilience, reaching for connection, for comfort in her transition? 

Has Chispa really left me? I swear I just saw the shadow of her ears by moonlight.

Will I ever feel safe again, in my hobo field-sleeping-mouldy-dutch-artist-studio adventures by night?

Is the deep sadness a projection of self in order to confirm my human-ness? A safety measure in itself by way of please-tell-me-I’m-human?

She was there at 2am, in the owl’s call as the gulf of torment enveloped me under a wide Danish sky that terrible night. 

There in the wings of the insistent ladybird on the tribute flowers I gathered with my son, the following sleep deprived morning.

There as I staggered through the dark, at 2am, fresh off a delayed flight, in the middle of a Saharan dust storm, searching for her grave. 

(I’ve learned to pay attention at 2am.)

“Right at the back of the second field”, dear neighbour-friend had said, “Up over the old wall, where the plough can’t reach”. 

Even with my LED head-torch I couldn’t find her. 

I stumbled and fell as the age old wall collapsed. Guttural surrender.

And right there, in the dusty farrows…

I thought I was tripping on lack of sleep/travel/grief. It took quite a while to believe it was there.

The rarest of creatures.

Pre-historic, an ancient of the animal world. 

Renowned for their ability to avoid human sight or aim.

I turned off my torch, thinking I’d blinded it into motionless-ness. 

It did not leave. I knew, by feeling, that it intended to stay a while, with me.

So still, centimeters from my face, save for it’s expansive breast rising and falling, just like Chispa’s.

Breathing. Simply Being. Todo siempre bien. It stayed with me. Eternity.

And as I looked up, in one straight line, directly ahead, a pile of rocks with flowers atop and a never-seen-before shoe, accidentally dug from the earth at the time and spot of burial. One single, ancient, ibicenco shoe.

The rocks were warm. I curled up, felt her soft body resonating next to me and whispered all of the said and all of the unsaid.

We spent the night together. 

A night which never ceased.

She always was a car dog. 

Hondje komt altijd mee. 

spotify:track:476JcJ3TpAuCOlGdCmomGm