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Tessa Poster Shot 12-26-2015March 6 — Today, my wife, Joy, and I hiked the Divisidero Trail where I last hiked with our dog, Tessa.  Every time I looked up I imagined her standing just before the next turn in the trail waiting for me, as she always did.

Pardon me for going on like this.

{I wrote this post four weeks ago, while still in deep grief over the loss of my favorite hiking companion and friend, my dog Tessa.  It was too early for me to face the rest of the process of preparing the post.  I just couldn’t go through my catalog of photos of her.  Now that I’ve read it again, I’m ready. So, here is what I wrote back then.}

The Eastern idea of samsara has given me some comfort ever since Tessa left us last Monday.  Hadn’t she too been through the cycle of birth and death, in other incarnations?

I liked to think that maybe she was the reincarnation of past pets of mine, beginning with my earliest, my dog Mickey, who left me when I was eight, and on through other pets, each of which had better and more loving dispositions, until the perfection in Tessa.

If so, Tessa now would surely be released from samsara and moved on into dog heaven, beyond the edge of the cosmos.


The Great Beyond

These verses in the Bhagavad Gita are the heart of the Vedic teaching.

There are two aspects of Nature:  the perishable and the imperishable.  All of this world belongs to the former, the unchanging element belongs to the latter.


But beyond these there is the Supreme Eternal.


Divisdero Trail (28)
Tessa was always waiting for me at every turn of the trail.


And “. . . there is the Supreme Eternal.”

We know the perishable side of Nature — dying flowers, bugs, birds, thoughts — and yes Tessa. Nature’s imperishable includes its laws — gravity, electro-magnetism, light and dark energy and so on.

The Vedas have it that the essence of all reality is satchitananda, ‘being, consciousness, bliss.’ And everything is contented in its natural state.

That is reality’s being, its existence.

Then, beyond all this, there is something, and not nothing, that underlies the whole universe — The Supreme Eternal.

That Supreme Eternal is as Dante speaks of it at the very end of Paradiso in his Divine Comedy.

My vision was greater than our speech, which fails at such a sight, and memory fails at such an assault.

In its depths I saw in-gathered, and bound by Love into one volume, all things that are scattered through the universe, substance and accident and their relations, as if joined in such a manner that what I speak of is One simplicity of Light.

That Supreme Eternal is where perfected souls retire when they are released from the cycle of birth and death.  They reside there eternally and never need ever become incarnate again.

Tess on her Watchdog rock
Tessa stood watch at her Guard-Dog Rock to protect our home.  She is buried next to the rock.



Tessa's Decorated Grave
We bring back a rock from every hike we take to encircle her grave with them.


After several hikes on trails so familiar to Tessa, hard as it is, Joy and I have now become willing to accept that Tessa was far too perfect to reincarnate again; and not to expect our next dog will be another Tessa.

So, in our true love for Tessa, we pray for her peace and  joy in that Supreme Eternal “great beyond.”

We are now starting fresh on our search for our next hiking companion — guided by our love for our dear, sweet, lovable friend Tessa.  And to keep our love for her ever irreplaceable in our hearts.

Farewell, dearest friend.  We love you so, so much!



One Response

  1. Katie
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    This is a nice tribute to a wonderful companion. I do believe that her spirit lives on.

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