Right. Lake Tahoe, one of the key songs on Kate Bush’s recent 50 Words for Snow album. Starts as a ghost story, warning people not to swim in the lake but only to look; they might see a woman in Victorian clothes, who clearly drowned when she was out looking for her dog Snowflake. Then we switch to the point of view of the dog, who’s old now and can’t move very well, but dreams of running along beaches and through fields and woods looking for her, and then dreams that he comes home and she’s waiting for him with a bone and a biscuit and lots of love.
This story has been bothering me to a ridiculous degree. Initially it seemed terribly sad; she’s dead, and the dog was left alone, missing her. Then I thought, yes, but what’s the alternative? She died searching for her pet, and actually Snowflake wasn’t that bothered and just got on with his life? That would be really sad. But then it occurred to me what an anthropocentric attitude that was: I would prefer that the dog lived out his life in sadness, rather than finding a new life with a new family that might love him just as much, just so that the death of an imaginary person wouldn’t be too pointless?
I don’t think Kate Bush hates dogs, but I suspect she may love them only insofar as they are sufficiently loyal and human-dependent. Of course, my view may be affected by the fact that I live with four cats who love me insofar as I am sufficiently loyal and cat-dependent, and produce ample supplies of chicken on demand.
It also occurs to me that it may all be a metaphor – for ‘dog’ read ‘husband’ – but that’s for another day.