Spring has arrived. The sun warms us, the light lasts further into the evening, and the snow is just about gone. It was a rough winter, inside and out. Finding that “invincible summer” Camus wrote of was next to impossible.
Then Lifa was born.
There are those who believe in karma or destiny, and those who believe in mere coincidence. The series of events and signs that led to Lifa becoming part of our pack is hard to dismiss. The most poignant of these was meeting her on the very same day that I first met Casey 11 years before. This happened without planning or even the realization until the day of (thanks to a FB memory). But it felt important once it was discovered. What are the odds? That 11 years TO THE DAY after meeting my Red Queen I would meet yet another spirited redhead and make another connection, having lost my Red Queen. It was a beam of light penetrating my grief that I could not ignore. I couldn’t help but feel that some kind of universal balancing was creating this opportunity. Or that maybe Casey had something to do with it, that beam of light was her illuminating my way out of a dark place. Pointing the way home, as she had done so many times during her life.
So, we welcomed Lifa – whose name is the Icelandic word for “Life” – a week ago and have not been disappointed. She is bold, intelligent, and loving. She is also well ahead of any curve she should be on at 8 weeks. Within days of her arrival, she mastered the stairs to our 2nd floor (all 13) up and down, knew her name, and bonded with Quinn and Piper, forming a new pack that is lifting them out of their sadness and giving them new purpose. Their playing is spontaneous and joyous, though they are also vigilant and protective of their new charge. It means everything to me to see Quinn and Piper re-engage with their world, assume new roles, and become light-hearted again.
It will be a year of firsts, at both ends of the spectrum. Our first year without Casey, our first year with Lifa. We took her on her first hike Sunday. Dwarfed by Quinn and Piper she did not hesitate to run down the trail with them, exploring all the strange new scents and sights that her world has to offer. As with children, having a puppy encourages you to see these things anew yourself, triggering a deep sense of renewal and wonder. Hikes with my pups are where the real bonding takes place, as we share discoveries back and forth, romp and nurture the working partnership that is priceless beyond measure.
It is with deep gratitude and relief that we embrace the coming of spring. Healing a little each day as warmth and color return to the earth, basking in the beauty of a new life in our home. Whatever Lifa and I end up doing together, that journey has just begun and is full of promise.
There will never be another Red Queen, but what we have now is our Shieldmaiden. Wherever we are headed, any road will get us there.