The center cannot hold:
I imagine I know just a little how Steve Job's family must be feeling about now.  The huge personality at the center of their lives suddenly gone--it's a  gigawatt shock.  The void is the shock, and the realization that one very outsized personality (and ego) was an enormous driver in your life, determining how you organized your day, and where your time went. 

Our huge personality was a dog, not an entrepreneur, but the void is huge anyway--in some ways more, perhaps--Jobs was probably always at work.  Hoover was always here, and always in my face, always demanding.  After so many years, I didn't realize it.  It was normal.  Now without him, the house seems cavernous, the day drags, time and energy is suddenly and unexpectedly plentiful.  Cuddles wanders around, looking blank and confused.  Me, too. 

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong. 
-- W. H. Auden

What we're missing:
We all seem to be dealing with voids these days, and many of us with far more serious voids than my own--unemployment is devastating families everywhere, people going nuts and shooting up beauty salons, and on and on.  Some voids are unavoidable, others are to an extent self-created. 

Dead Carex creates void:
This engrossing article about the state of things in California containing a character portrait of our former Governor, now sans State office and glamorous wife, illustrates him running red lights on a bicycle, tears running down his face from the wind because he's biking so fast.  We all have voids to fill in different ways.  Hoover was a typical dog and therefore completely sensible:  the only void he ever sought to fill was his stomach.  

Grieving is normal and natural.  Wallowing in grief is a different story.  It does no good for nobody.  I am determined to heal up and move on.  Plants.  I'll think about plants. 

Agaves spines are rather nasty, and they sometimes pup excessively.  Aloes--their only drawback here, really, is the potential for Gall Mite--but that is a fatal condition.  Your whole collection can be infected and wiped out.  

And then there are Yuccas, not so spiny, impervious to gall mite.  rarely (though sometimes!) as beautiful as Aloes or Agaves, but wholly reliable, unfussy, and damned hard to kill.  I got a new one the other day.  Well, not quite a Yucca, but nearly so:  Hesperaloe parviflora 'Perpa' aka 'Brakelights', aka Red Yucca, Hummingbird Yucca.  I can't quite understand why this is not an ultra-common plant in Southern California.  I've seen it maybe once or twice, where I've seen Agaves and Aloes by the thousands.  Not hot enough here?  I'll find out.  

'Brakelights' has a redder flower than the species.

The slim foliage is edged with light-grabbing filaments:

Nice contrast:

The plant I bought had a single emerging spike:

Plenty of space out front on the hot dry south-facing slope for my new plant.  The hummingbirds will have another dining choice besides the Aloes.

Don't wallow!   Courage.  Be your own hurricane, storming on through.  But stop at red lights.


  1. I love that face and smile. You can't help but grieve. Everyone's different, but when my first dog, Annie died, I cried every day for two months. I didn't think I'd ever stop. The house was so empty without her.
    When Yukon died, we had Cookie and having her helped. I'm glad you've got Cuddles to comfort you.

  2. Looking at that face, I would be wallowing, unashamedly.

  3. I saw 'brakelights' for the first time today...at first I thought the color was a trick of the light, so much more vibrant and 'punchy' than the usual. Then once I saw it I had to laugh at how appropriate the name was, gorgeous.

    A few years ago I never would have understood just how devastating the loss of an animal could be. Now that we've got Lila in our lives I totally get it. I saw a picture of her yesterday that was only a couple years old, the change in her was remarkable, she's so grey now! We missed out on so much of her life (adopting her at 7), I value every moment we've got. And hope that the memories will help me through the inevitable void in the future, as I hope they are for you.

  4. Great perspectives... I think Red Yucca (and some other desert species) are not common in your area is because your location on the coastal slopes with your own nurseries, whio ignore suitable plants from the other side of the mountains. Just a matter of that and other like plants being used more, and that will beget more use!

    I wish you luck on that plant - I think you and the hummingbirds will like it.

  5. beautiful post. I'm so sorry to read about the loss of your pups. It's so hard to lose such a special friend, there really are no words. Yes, plants...think about plants. :)

  6. such a poignant post! dogs bring such joy and comfort and havoc and they will break your heart.
    but there is always joy and solace in the garden. the hummers love my brakelight yuccas and the blooming stems last for months!
    hang in there hoover!


Post a Comment

Always interested in your thoughts.

Any comments containing a link to a commercial site with the intent to promote that site will be deleted. Thank you for your understanding on this matter.

Popular Posts