Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Exclamation Point!

I approached dog sitting in a relatively sophomoric way... a little overconfident and under experienced. I knew this the first time the old girl (16) wouldn't go out in the morning and gave me a vacant, obdurate look when I gave her a bowl of food. She had no intention of getting her nose dirty in something that I so impudently put in front of her with such lofty expectations.
It took a lot of love to exchange energy. Of course, the impetus for change.
The essential beauty of this exchange is exactly what it is. Dog could be man's greatest teacher.
Not only for the principle of exchange, but also for the ability to hang out in lucid consciousness.

Tacumshe is an old dog. 16 years with the mountains and the rivers. Her eyes are opaque now, and her pelvic girdle quivers with uncertainty. A few days ago I was running with the other dog Kina, across a field. After some time, I ran back to Tacumshe to ensure that she didn't feel any jealousy. The moment I stopped running, she took off across the field with a look of shockingly obvious youthfulness. She lasted about 7 or 8 jovial leaps and bounds until her eyes glazed over, the inertia of age blanketed her and you could almost hear the sigh of exhaustion escaping her mouth. We stopped together and she put her head in my hand with her eyes downcast and I could tell she was smiling. She limped to the house, ever in the present moment. Untouched by her inevitable fate. Happy to have a few seconds of play.
Now we sit together in silent conversation often.
I had an idea of what dog walking should be like. I let Kina (the other dog with the shiny black coat) out of the house and set off thinking... I am dog walking now and we are going to go to the river and then the bridge and then...
Kina had no idea of my destination nor did she care. It took me a few times of stopping impatiently for her, to recognize that the stopping was really the dog walking. All Kina wanted to do was smell the many scents and move leisurely. I began to stop and observe. I could notice if the river was moving faster than the wind. I could take a deep breath and turn my head up to the metallic peaks and let my eyes feast on the immensity of the scape around me. I could notice that the sky and the earth give generously all the time. Kina knows this because she puts her head up in the air and the wind whispers it to her.
When I practice in the house the dogs make their way over to me from wherever they are and situate themselves on either side of me like protective Cherubins. They fall asleep to the sound of my breathing and I dance to the rhythm of theirs.

I took on a house and dog sitting job for all of May to help pay for the teacher training in Boulder, so I may become a dog lover and settle down to raise one of my own.
Or maybe not.
But it certainly has felt like the exclamation point in my day to play with two dogs!
While the meditation feels like the comma, and looking into my boyfriend's eyes the pause ...

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