Sunflower seedlings were to
grow five feet tall
along the back of my garden.
Seeds planted indoors in early spring and
carefully transplanted when the ground warmed,
took root and
grew stronger and taller every day.
And then my dog died.
She, who was part terrier and
very good at patrolling the perimeter of our yard,
keeping at bay any animals who might think of
taking up residence or even stopping by for a visit.
She, who chased away every squirrel, cat, rabbit and bird.
She, who barked at the occasional opossum.
In the days after her death,
squirrels were the first to take tentative steps across the lawn.
They were soon joined by birds digging for worms, and
then a baby rabbit appeared.
Every morning, she peeked out from under the salvia,
nibbling on the dried grass attached to overturned clods of dirt.
And then, sitting on her haunches,
she nibbled the leaves of my young sunflowers.
How well she looks after herself,
finding what she needs to be nourished,
showing me the way.