I can still see it: rain peppering an inscrutable sea. Clouds rolling through the pines on grey mountains, the light milky, if it came at all.
Eleven years ago, I moved to a very remote and troubled town in Canada’s broken wilderness and tried to make sense of the fragile truce between human fear and those wild creatures trying to live alongside us. I have more words about that, but for another time, perhaps.
Through all the travel, drama and rain, a small German shepherd was beside me: the most irrepressible, opinionated and original creature in the forest. Chiara made me laugh, often, nearly drove me out of my mind a few times too, and was a reassuring presence on dark days. After we returned to England, my mother adopted her, and that bond forged in wild forests resurfaced in the gentler landscapes of the Surrey Hills.
Chiara left us this week. I will miss her zeal, her humour and her friendship. She was, simply, unique. The memories are powerful. And now I will cherish rain, for it reminds me of her.
I sketched this when I realised that she was dying. It is how I want to remember her.
It has been raining here, too, off and on.
Time rolls on. Summer is almost here.