An ending marked a beginning of sorts last weekend.
We’ve lost pets before, but until last week, we’d never buried one in our yard, because we’d never lived anywhere I considered permanent, and I didn’t want to leave anybody behind in a place I knew I wasn’t planning to stay.
Last Saturday, I buried Lillian in the garden and installed a new raised bed above her grave.
As I worked, it struck me that Lil’s grave was a tangible confirmation of what I’d wanted to believe when we moved in last year: We are home. We are settled. We are staying.
After stumbling across an interesting Twitter thread this week, I figured out just what to plant in Lil’s flowerbed.
Sage is readily available here in New Mexico, but apparently it’s hard to find in some areas, and some wild varieties are threatened by overharvesting, so a woman posted a thread listing other herbs suitable for cleansing a space of evil spirits, negative energies, and the like. I’m not certain such entities exist or such ceremonies are necessary, but I am certain that if something gives you peace of mind, and it isn’t hurting anybody, it’s worth doing.
I thought about how easy it is to grow sage here in the high desert (I’ve got a big, healthy plant in the garden right now) and how important it is to feel safe.
Lillian rarely felt safe. When we adopted her, she was a nervous little dog who showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Loud, angry voices terrified her, so I made a concerted effort to stabilize my moods and remain as calm as possible. I didn’t always succeed, but I definitely became more aware of my tone and temper as I tried to reassure my frightened little friend.
Reading that thread, I realized I could honor Lil by using her garden to grow the sort of calming, healing herbs that might help someone else feel safe. I made an offer to my Twitter followers that I also make to you: If there is a particular variety of sage or other herb you need to put your mind at ease, tell me what it is, and I’ll try to grow it for you.