Life After Death

I was in bed with the flu, listening to a lullaby of raindrops and nightingales while staring out the window watching moon lit clouds glide over the mountain top. But the sound of screeching tires  and a frantic yelp of pain shattered the ambient night. There was a moment of stunned silence before all the dogs in Loutraki  howled in unison –  singing a sad, sad lament.

“Something terrible has happened,” I thought as I closed my eyes and fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.

The Ancient Greeks believed in the existence of a soul. They called it the psyche, which they correlated as a breath.

The moment the body exhaled its last breath, the psyche left the body. Hermes would guide the psyche to the shores of the Acheron river where the ferry keeper would collect a coin from the passenger before taking him or her to the entrance of Hades, the underworld.

There they would face great judgment. Had they lived a virtuous life? Had they done evil or good?

My neighbors searched for a week before finding our dog’s broken body on the side of a back road. In their anguish they gave the unknown driver a personality and everyday he/she became less human and more demonic. “He was drunk, he did it on purpose! Speeding Athenian! Foreigner!”

I nodded patiently, waiting for their anger to pass. However what they did not know was that my thoughts were equally angry at both them and myself.

Why did we let her live outside? Why didn’t we build a fence to keep her from wandering into dangerous situations?

However, I did not say anything because we already had this conversation.

“Lock them up? Barbaric! They are free animals. They choose!”

My neighbors and I look sadly at one another and walk away. We both know we are right and both know we are wrong.

Meanwhile a circular patch of flattened grass where Boo Boo used to sleep was now open and exposed; dragging our hearts down its void.

Had they done evil or good? The psyches fate was decided by three judges in Hades.

If the soul had lived a pure life, they would continue to the Elysian Fields, a gorgeous and peaceful realm where the Sun always shone.

However if the soul was evil and consciously brought pain to those around them, they would be shown to Tartarus, a dreadful pit of agony and horror.

There were also in-between realms. The Asphodel Fields for those whose wrongs equaled their goodness. And the Fields of Punishment for those whose wrongs were not severe enough for Tartarus.

Something woke me up.

I went to the balcony and there was a gentle rain, strong smell of earth and young herbs. Somewhere far off in the Cypress trees a pair gionis birds were singing a single sweet note back forth. I peered down from the balcony and something in the grass caught my eye. I ventured downstairs with a flashlight.

There lying comfortably in Boo Boo’s patch of grass was another dog.

When a car passed, he wagged his tail a little too eagerly but then looked confused when they didn’t stop.
With a heavy heart I realized somebody had dropped him off.

I checked for a collar but there was none.  I brought him some food and water but he wasn’t interested.  Atlitis and  the other local strays ventured over and I feared they would fight with the newcomer. However they surprised me by laying down next to him.

For awhile we sat there in the misty rain –  I thinking about what to do and the dogs staring into one another eyes and  probably doing what Plato once suggested dogs do: philosophize.

In the morning he escaped but a month later I found him. All skin and bones being fed by a man who didn’t have the heart to leave him.

He took him home.

Now the circular patch of ungrowing grass is an earthly tribute to a psyche now chasing the winds of the Elysian Fields where the most virtuous of souls reside.


The romantic in me believes in life after death.

The intuitive in me feels my soul, my breath, my psyche.

The scientific part of me believes all of this comes from our stomach, our so-called the second brain.

Conclusion: Something much more fabulous is going on, something immensely beyond comprehension.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: