I was on my computer with the large screen and happened to look closely at this photo, my favorite of my sweet Sophie, gone since New Year’s Eve. I noticed something I don’t think I had before; as I studied the image I realized that there was a reflection of me in Sophie’s eye. I caught my breath and felt one of those heart tugs, missing my girl. This was something special, a gift of love from Sophie.
Sophie was always totally focused on me, following me everywhere I went, wanting nothing more than to be with her human. I often wondered what she was thinking as she gazed intently at me, and I’ve decided it was just pure love emanating from her being at all times. I’ve never known a more truly gentle and loving dog. I think of that meme that says something like ‘I want to be the person my dog thinks I am.’ That’s it exactly- she only saw the good in me and the love just radiated from her soulful eyes.
Sophie sat at my feet as I learned one of the most challenging pieces I’ve ever played, Black Dog by composer Scott McAllister, a wonderfully wild piece in which the clarinet is supposed to rock out, sounding like an electric guitar. It is tradition to wear a spiked dog collar in performance, and I decided to go all the way with the character. I dedicated the final performance this past Thursday to my own black dog, wearing her tags on my collar. There is a section that is beautifully melodic, soaring up to a sustained high Ab. At that moment on stage I lifted my bell into the air and sang through my clarinet with all my heart, I love you, Sophie, I miss you. Thank you. I swear I felt her with me.
This has been a very full couple of weeks; losing Sophie, starting a new semester, traveling to Tampa to present at a conference and do a recruiting event, performing Black Dog twice with our Wind Symphony- the final performance being at the Alabama Music Educators Conference- rehearsing for an upcoming Chamber Trio recital next week, and just a lot of other ‘stuff’. I have very much felt like a candle burning at both ends, something I do on a regular basis. Marley enjoying the top deck view…
I enjoy being busy, but it takes its toll on me if I don’t make the time to recharge at home in the peace of Chez Gainey. It finally caught up with me this morning; we woke up before 5am as we do each Saturday morning to prepare for Dan’s early yoga class at the Y. Usually I spring out of bed; this morning I felt like lead and couldn’t make myself crawl out from under the cozy covers for quite a while. I finally got up, took care of the animals, and had a little breakfast. A rainy, dreary day…
At that point I knew I needed to listen to my body and allow myself what Dan and I call a ‘do-over’ morning, one in which you crawl back to bed for a while and start the day again. That’s just what I did. As Dan left to teach his class he kissed me goodbye and said with a bit of yoga humor, “Nama-stayed in bed!” I love my man.
Marley joined me for some quiet time in bed listening to the sound of the pouring rain and gentle thunder. While I miss being at yoga, I’m glad that I listened to my body and took this time to rest and recharge- something I’m trying to be wise enough to do more often. One day at a time.