Posted tagged ‘Queequeg’

under the pines

March 2, 2023

Most of our trips to Roundrock are for fun and games and foolishness, but sometimes we have grimmer tasks.

On Monday my wife and I buried her dog, Queequeg, under the pines in our forest. Queequeg was nearly 15 years old, which put him in his golden years but wasn’t exceedingly old for a small dog. Queequeg was a Pomeranian. He’d been getting slower and would breathe heavily after he climbed the stairs and such, but he didn’t show any overt signs of infirmity. On the night he died, he had been chasing his ball and accepting treats and wagging his tail only an hour before. And then he laid down and went to sleep and didn’t wake. It seemed to be a painless death.

I’ve buried two other dogs (and a rabbit) out in my forest. The dirt under the pines is good, with no rocks, so that’s where we put Queequeg. I stopped at the hardware store in town and got a Beware of Dog sign that I placed over his head after I put him in the hole I dug. I can’t throw dirt on my dogs’ faces. We also put his two favorite toys and a dog biscuit with him. After that I partially filled the hole and then placed a large stone in it. My hope is that this will thwart any scavengers. Then I finished filling the hole and placed a flat sandstone rock atop it. I intend to return to etch his initial in the stone. My wife dug up some daffodils from our dog Max’s grave and planted them beside the new one.

Queequeg was named not for the tattooed harpooner in Moby-Dick but another Pomeranian that appeared in an episode of The X Files years ago. Although Flike is four times his size, Queequeg was always the alpha between them.

In the early mornings we had a routine. I would go downstairs to fetch my tea, and Queequeg would greet me. I would let him outside, and when he came in, he got a treat. He tried to modify this by skipping the going outside part, and sometimes he got his way. It’s odd going downstairs now in the early morning and not seeing him asleep by the door.

A puppy and a process

February 3, 2009

We have a new puppy in the house. He’s a little Pomeranian with the fearsome name of Queequeg. Right now he spends his nights sequestered in the kitchen, and when I make my early risings to write in the adjoining dining room, the light and noise from my activities inevitably wake him, bringing a playful, furry interruption to my otherwise unbroken solitude. And this brings me to Hemingway.

Hemingway’s sparse style has fallen into disrepute in recent years, and I’m all for that. There are anecdotes of his writing process, though, that are instructive. Supposedly, he wrote while standing, using the top of an old refrigerator as his desk. He was also supposed to have removed all other furniture and ornamentation from his writing room (just as he had from his writing). He did not want to be bothered by any distraction.

I don’t know if any of this is true (or more likely, if it was consistently true), but with the new puppy in the house, I’ve begun a little writing space experiment.

Normally when I write in the early morning, I have the lights on in the room. Often I am transcribing notes from paper to computer, so I need the light to read. With Queequeg just down the hall, though, I’ve dimmed the room lights to just bright enough to read by, which it seems is not bright enough to wake a pup. So far, so good.

What I’ve found in addition, though, is that I have been able to concentrate much better without all of the ambient light. My eye is not drawn to the potted plant dying in the corner. I don’t see the magazines and other papers scattered on the other end of the table. My thoughts don’t drift to other parts of the house because I am less conscious of them when they are dark. And so on.

I don’t know how well this will work or if I’ll keep it up, but I suppose as long as Queequeg is sleeping just down the hall, I can give it a try.