Sunday, July 5, 2009

Canis Major



I love the Icelandic sagas. They are a collection of very plain stories about regular people, mostly farmers, making their lives, having their children, quarreling with the neighbors, etc. The drama is minimal in the sagas, centered mostly around disputes between neighbors who steal each other's livestock.

Longer than the descriptions of the crimes are the detailed stories about how justice is achieved. You could say that the Icelandic sagas are like the Law & Order of 1100 A.D. Once justice is attained, or whenever someone dies or is killed, as Snorri Sturluson, would say, "So-and-so is out of the saga." End of story.

The ancient Greeks were way more into drama. Their myths are screaming with intrigues, interpersonal subterfuges and plots and romance and betrayal. My, my! I think that's why their popularity has endured through all the centuries since they were written down. One of my favorite Greek mythic devices is the bit in which, after a hero dies or when the life of two great friends/lovers/enemies ends, the gods place these characters in the sky; i.e. they become constellations.

I've always wondered if the sagas are ordinary because Iceland itself is so dramatic - volcanoes, ice caps, midnight sun in summer and utter darkness in winter, a nine week growing season - while the Greek myths are uber drama-filled because Greece is a gentle landscape where it's easy to grow food and prosper - where there's more time to act out, in other words. This is a theory I mull over often, though I've not come up with any conclusions.

As for the myth cycle of Reya, well, every day I say to myself, Jake is now out of the saga. Maybe I could place him in the sky as a constellation, at least in a painting. Is that a good idea? What do you think?

26 comments:

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

Ah, but Jake is not really out of the saga. He is just not here in the flesh, but he is here in your thoughts and in the thoughts of everyone who knows exactly who is/was "the gold puppy".
And as for placing Jake in a painting I think it would be wonderful. However he will never leave your heart and you will continue to see him in your mind's eye.
Perhaps you can put a photo of Jake, the Gold Puppy on the sidebar of your blog as a permanent fixture.

Mrsupole said...

No he is not out of the saga, but he may be in the constellations. I have heard that to continue to keep someone your love in your heart after they have passed on, it is best to keep telling stories about them. For many years now things and times that you spent with Jake will still be affecting you. You will think oh this is where Jake and I did this. This is where I took Jake. It would be harder on you to avoid those thoughts, those are special memories and special times that you spent with a very special friend. I would like to think that my daughters and grandchildren will be able to talk about me after I have moved on. I still tell stories about my dad and my grandparents to them. This is how I keep them alive in my heart and it is a great comfort to do this. Plus the stories keep them alive for them. Many beliefs also believe that you should talk about the spirits of the passed people to keep their spirits with us. Being part Native American I believe that this is true. But I also believe it is a healing for your soul to be able to talk about the times together with Jake. Soon the stories will become more enjoyable and happier to tell, that will be when the true healing occurs. We are here for you and we will always love to hear these stories of Jake. Yes you do not need to do them everyday unless you want, but do them when they just happen or you need to do them. We love you and we love Jake. He is in our hearts too.

God bless you and Jake.

Joanne said...

I love the idea of putting Jake into a constellation, and would love to see your painting doing this. It would be amazing. I've often thought of life as a constellation, each person's made up of different people and experiences (and pets) connecting to make the whole life.

Peaches said...

Reya, your photography is equal to a painting. You could have one printed and framed.

ellen abbott said...

I like the constellation Jake.

John Hayes said...

My counselor has really encouraged me to create as a way of dealing with grief-- I think either (or both) of those ideas are really good. The photos today are both so evocative!

spottedwolf said...

Jake will come and go on a constant as it takes time for you to allow.....

You will hear him, smell him, maybe see him in a corner of your eye, and maybe feel him lick your hand.

They stay with us for awhile and then, much as we do, dissipate into the 'collective soul' to be creation again at some other place....but a part of this experience remains because we are all 'each other'.....every man, woman, child, dog, cat, wolf, bird, bush, flower, bug, stone......everything. He can manifest at any point down the road from where you now stand...Reya....from that wonderful metaphor of infinity we call the 'heart'!!!

Jennie said...

Hi Reya,

Maybe today this blog will let me leave a message. I've been reading your blog for a while now. I check in every day or so.

I am sorry to learn of Jake's passing, and yes, he is out of the saga. A constellation is fitting, as is a picture. As is remembering him as he truly was, the good, the wonderful, the frustrating and the bad.

It is time, though, for the Saga of Reya without Jake. It is time.

Life ebbs, life flows.
What is remembered, lives.
Peace.

steven said...

i think a constellation is a beautiful thing. and i think jake is still a part of the saga of reya but with a different quality of presence. have a peaceful day. steven

tam said...

You can have a star named after him.

Nancy said...

I like that idea. Constellation Jake. We can all gaze up and say hello to your dear dog. Maybe I need one for Winnie, Lady, and KiKi, too. I always think that when I die, my friends will be there to greet me. Young and frisky, without their ailments, me without mine. We'll just run and play.

e said...

I agree that a Jake painting is a wonderful idea, and I hope you share all the steps involved in that here...

You have so many wonderful photos of Jake, have you ever thought of doing a giant photo collage of him????

Be well...

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

A friend who is a therapist told me after Mike died, that he is with me still, just on another plane. I think that helped me when people said things like "he's watching over you" when I didn't really feel him here at all. I felt and still feel, 2 years later, the most sad when I come home to him not here, or to have that drive home alone after gathering with friends, when Mike drove and I layed back and savored the evening and drink (he was always the designated driver).

Tom said...

And place the constellation Jake out in orbit with Pluto...that will rock all those astronomer's socks off.

Mary Ellen said...

There's no "best practice" here - day to day, Jake's memory or presence will manifest as it does, and you will honor it as you do. And you will find beauty and connection through and beyond the memory. Keep taking excellent care of yourself.

willow said...

Yes, think of him up there with Sirius, the dog star, since he left in the dog days of summer. :^)

debra said...

When our dog, BD (Black Dog) died, it was a clear February night. I looked up in the sky, knowing that there was Constellation BD. One that chased raccoons and ate whatever he wanted.

Reya Mellicker said...

I've been thinking for awhile about the fact that, when someone passes away, they, in some way, become one of my ancestors. They become mythic because they are no longer part of the mundane reality. So I like the idea that Jake is becoming an ancestral figure, out of the mundane saga of everyday life, but still part of the mythology of my life.

The thing about jake, though, is that (since he died) it's dawning on me that he was no ordinary dog coming to live with me as a pet. He is the only dog I've ever had, and likely to be the only dog of my whole life. It was a singular experience.

My roommates and I were sitting on the porch, talking about Jake. We started joking that in a past life he must have been a Vietnam Vet which would explain his fear aggression and especially his sudden rages, so like the flashbacks those guys experience.

We were laughing but then it got quiet on the porch. We all looked at each other. In that moment we understood that this idea is the truth, well, if there is such a thing as past lives, that is.

Jake came to me because I work with dead soldiers. He came to me for healing. As an exchange, he taught me how to be a real healer, reminded me of what I'm capable of.

Having completed our assignments with each other, we are now free to seek our own destinies without each other. I have not felt a single molecule of his energy since he died. He is SO out of the saga.

I will be very surprised if he comes back to visit. I feel like we did what we were supposed to do, but now it's over. It's really over.

Cheryl I'll put a pic of Jake on the sidebar at some point, but not yet. I'm still too sad to see his handsome face here. Is that OK?

Whoa. This is long. Sorry!

Steve said...

Awww, I think Jake definitely deserves his own constellation. :)

But as the others said, he's really not out of the saga. He's part of all of us, now, thanks to your blog -- and our sagas continue, for better or worse!

Chuck Dilmore said...

that's a hard thing...
to lose someone so loving and sweet.

it leaves more
question marks
than clarity... and that's never fair.

but you will find ways
to not only honor him
but to feel him, as well.


touch your heart.
he lives on.
Chuck

Hammer said...

Alternatively, every time you look up and see Orion, just imagine that Orion is wearing a uniform and that Jake's up there somewhere too, barking his head off at him.

lettuce said...

he'd be a great constellation with those long legs and the way he held his tail... what a great thought

Delwyn said...

Reya

I still hear the rattle of Kealia's tag on her collar some days and talk to the depression under the frangipani tree outside my study but other things have slowly come along...now we have the duck visitors arriving regularly ...something they could never have done before...the world moves slowly on...and changes...taking us with it...

Happy days

Tessa said...

Jake will never be out of the saga - and yes, put him there...up there amongst the constellations...and, yes, paint a constellation for him - and for you...and for us, too, please.

Barbara Martin said...

I ditto Willow's comment, and Canis Major is perfect, Reya.

Karen said...

I think a painting about Jake is a great idea!