Looking back through some of the posts here yesterday, I was struck with a curious sort of awareness that this blog has not really turned out to be about what I thought it was going to be about.
I started the blog with the insight that I had learned some things in my time with Benny. Things about life and death, and about that terrible, confusing whirlwind of mania and numbness that is the acute knowledge of both at the same time: grieving. It came to me in the way that insights come — all at once, sourceless, holistic knowing. It was like a light bulb turning on and feeling brilliant, but also, “DUH!” so obvious! How had I been in the dark on this subject for so long?
I was sitting on the couch, staring into space, “thinking” in an aimless way and Benny was barking. And I said to myself,
“Benny is Barking!”
That phrase seemed to pull it all together.
I still haven’t articulated all the things that it meant and means to me. But here’s one:
Benny is barking = Benny is trying to tell me something.
Much of what I’ve delved into here have been things I’ve learned about myself from analyzing my reaction to Benny’s barking and my relationship with Benny and my other animals. Benny and Sophie have stood in as reflections or conduits to aspects of myself that I hadn’t attempted to access in other ways. Looking-glass creatures. Projections of shadow and other unknown, unconscious things. The blog has been an exercise of self exploration through the medium of my relationship with these animals.
So this morning I started thinking about the “relationship” part of that construct. It wasn’t Benny trying to tell me something. It was me trying to know something about myself.
The mechanics of the process: Benny barks. I don’t understand! Benny barks. Benny wants something. Benny is trying to communicate something about himself, his wants, his needs, his emotions state. His insistent attempt to be understood makes me frustrated and unlocks my own desire to be understood, to be understood by myself. To understand myself.
It’s convenient. And I’m prone to introspection anyway. And maybe I’ve actually had some insights. And MAYBE my sharing them has been helpful or at least entertaining (or distracting) to someone else!
But the blog isn’t about grieving or burnout and getting through it, necessarily. It’s about learning to be fully human. Which means acknowledging mystery, playing with symbols and making meaning out of NOISE. And there sure is a lot of it.