sol·stice [sol-stis, sohl-]
1. Astronomy. a.either of the two times a year when the sun is at its greatest distance from the celestial equator: about June 21, when the sun reaches its northernmost point on the celestial sphere, or about December 22, when it reaches its southernmost point. Compare summer solstice, winter solstice.
b.either of the two points in the ecliptic farthest from the equator.
2. A furthest or culminating point; a turning point.
Yesterday was the second anniversary of Murphy's passing and for me it has proven pivotal. On the walk I often pushed myself physically almost to yet at times past the point of punishment. I sustained a knee injury years ago and there were nights in our tent after a rigorous stretch of road, the pain would radiate so intensely I couldn't sleep, not even for a second. But when he morning came, I'd decamp and pack up the boys and get back on the road.
And I have exacted the same standard on myself emotionally and with the same fervor. A lot of people I know don't, as feeling extreme sadness frightens them. The second Murphy was diagnosed in 2010 just weeks after the completion of the walk, I already knew I was on the downward slope of a different kind of journey. But I was unafraid for myself.
You see, in the two years since, some people ask me, "Why do you let it hurt you so much?" Perhaps the only answer I have, the only one that makes sense to me is, "It is my way of honoring him."
And that I have.
I was at the Farmer's Market yesterday cooking up some Tex-Mex Tatties and since it fell on this anniversary, the Chef's Special was the Murphy Tattie. And that the origin of his name is Irish, the inspiration was my interpretation of Banger and Mash. It was a huge hit.
One customer came up and I was launching into a story about how the Tattie was named after the dog I lost to cancer was....
"WAIT!", he interrupted. "You mean THIS has dog meat in it????"
The smart ass me kicked into high gear. "Yeah, I said casually. I've had Murphy in a freezer for two years just waiting to use his meat for this recipe."
Everyone one in the crowd burst into laughter.
Given all that I have born witness to, I suppose it should be of no surprise that the week of the solstice is also the anniversary of so many triumphs and tragedies.
It was a good, good day and not for one second did sadness set in.
Thank you Murphy for giving me the strength to love and hurt and the strength to endure...
Postscripts to Tish: Thank you for planting the white rose bush in honor of Murphy and the photo of the budding blossom yesterday.