Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Black Dog in Winter

One doesn't choose the black dog, and the still winter in his wake; he chooses you. He materialized abruptly in the black trees and snow, the summer of my twelfth year. We are not close, the dog and I, but he never wanders far.

Having thought about the dog for decades, I have arrived at no conclusions, and have no thoughts to pass on. Others don't see him, so I seem to speak without reference; even I don't see him, nor can I locate him nor describe his dimensions, or his habits, or his defining characteristics; he barely exists. But he's there, always and omnipresent, patient, loyal, dead and deadly, of infinite mass.

If you don't know what the hell I'm writing about, that's all for the best. I've never written about the black dog, except privately to a very few confidantes, and don't intend to write further about him, at least not here. I want his presence to be a trifling affair, a matter of little concern, a shrug, an occasions for fleeting smiles -- at least that is what I want for this blog, and I think I've been largely successful in keeping him out -- out in the cold with his eyes and his bones.

I mention him now only because I stumbled upon -- inevitably, via the prescient StephenEsque, who seems always to be there, chatting and tossing back a few, wherever I turn up in webspace -- a blog about the dog, and another soul he has chosen. The author writes about her experiences with wit and grace and charm and bravery -- more than which one cannot ask. I'd comment further, but after reading for a bit my sense of emotional disembowelment was such that I stopped reading; I'll explore her archives later. She captures it all with a certain poesy that's perfectly evocative of that ever-waiting thing; yet the flourishes and arabesques of her personality take it far beyond a case history of the self.

If it sounds like your bit of turf (and one hopes that it doesn't), click on. "Black dog" comes from Churchill, and his name is melancholy, and the blog is Searchblog.

We will return to the regularly scheduled clowns tumbling in the rafters shortly.