The ground steams, dries, bakes, cracks: too hot for sunny patch, I take Gilgamesh to the lake where an enormously pregnant woman lacking control over both her existing toddler and her unneutered adult pit bull spread and splay across the silence in a litter of chaos and stuff.
The dog has the intensity of focus common to pits, which Gilly has learned to ignore, and the inclination to test dominance common to unneutered dogs, which at twelve, Gilly can no longer protect himself against: his hips and knees collapse when he wheels his hind end away from attempts to hump, his wrists collapse when he tries to prance away from neck-pressing.
The dog means no harm, though he’s headed for it, poorly trained: he’s young, testing his world, and inexplicably, inexcusably intact in a world where thousands of him are killed each day.
The woman is performing yoga as her screaming toddler chases Gilly and her dog tries to mount him. I tell her he’s nervous with small children and I don’t want the baby to get knocked down: she protects the girl, I protect Gilly and remove the obsessive pit, who is left to his own devices and disasters waiting to happen.
The child is cute, all gold and curled glee. The dog is cute, all muscle and bonehead. They share the specificity and vividness of every loved being.
None of us mean any harm. We are each exceptional.
Up the shore, we find a pile of rocks.
As usual, I am thinking about overpopulation, gears grinding ever-harder in entanglements, in struggle for space, in Istanbul parks full of tear gas, in that lovely, out of control toddler who also deserves this pristine lake, in her mother who just wants a family, like every other, into the billions now, in deserts forced to golf greens watered by decreasing snowmelt in diverted and shrinking rivers, in even a lush Northeast drying up, in throwing rock after rock into cool water rapidly warming.
Gilgamesh chases each pebble with infinite, slow joy. Stiffening. Gears winding down.
As usual, I am thinking about elegy.