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Ashes, Fall


A dog is a dog, and a bad one isn’t worth spit; but you get a good one and they’re like a member of the family.

About a year ago I lost one of the best dogs a person could ever have. He died of cancer on my birthday during a trip to the North Carolina mountains. My wife and I had him cremated, and his ashes have sat in Tampa, Florida since that time.

Florida is not a befitting location, however, for he was born and always has been a mountain dog. Last week we returned to the Fall air and decorated mountains of North Carolina to spend time with good friends from Charleston, South Carolina. We brought the ashes with us for the sole purpose of returning him to his proper place.

The headwaters of the Chattooga River have long been a place of solace for my family, and it was here that we decided to say our final goodbyes. The ashes were released to the river and swirled around in a fast moving eddy until they slowly dissipated and eventually disappeared. I pictured him filling up pot holes and bouncing over pebbles as he flowed swiftly downstream. My hope is that he made it all the way to Section 4 before finally succumbing to a sandbank.

This kind of heady stuff gets one thinking about how they’d like to go. A settled grave or a more mobile mausoleum? Hopefully we have a long while to think about that question. Until then, the picture above was taken as a reminder of that Fall day we poured out his ashes.