You know that time of day, the brief window of time where the Sun settles just a little lower in the sky, and bathes the pavement, the leaves, you, and me in a soft, lazy, golden hue. And as the Sun sinks lower into her pillows of clouds, so do we. You can tell the time of day by that smell, the smell of sunlight and ever so slightly damp grass. Even if you close your eyes and hold your nose, you can even tell the time of day just by the sound.
Step outside, you’ll hear the gentle melody of the windchimes as someone opens their front door, the distant chattering and laughter of children, and the gravelly rumble of a car heading home at a lazy speed. In between the evening hours of five and eight, as if the whole universe simultaneously lets out one long sigh, a swell of parents, neighbors, and schoolchildren, all make their way back into the arms of their home.
It’s during this time of day that I love to take my dog out for a walk through our small, quiet neighborhood.
We both take the time to soak up every sight, sound, and smell of the world which has turned into a painting right before our very eyes. The sound of rocks beneath our feet, both my and my dog’s rhythmic panting, and the soft shuffling sound of my clothes as they occasionally brush past each other.
Besides an occasional pause as I wait for my dog to claim (or reclaim) yet another piece of territory to add to his already vast empire sprinkled throughout my town, the random unidentifiable object resting ominously along the side of the road, or the fleeting “hullo” mumbled between passing strangers, nothing really happens during our daily thirty minute walk. However, in our days filled with “something”s happening every minute, it’s liberating to experience “nothing”, to step away from the constant hum of the world around us.
As funny and odd as it sounds, to place myself in the mindset of my dog was one of the best things I’ve ever done.
As I pass mailbox after mailbox throughout my walk, all of my concerns seem to disappear, sent off to some far off, distant land until all I’m left thinking about is the world of gold which embraces me and whether or not my dog is about to eat something strange off the street. No, Louie, don’t lick that weird stain on the street. It’s almost as if during these moments, I can brush off my day to day cares and concerns, shrugging them off like a coat with the simple words, “C’est la vie”, “that’s life”.
If this seems idealistic and sappy, well, it is. I mean, it’s not like taking a walk one day is going to cure all of your problems.
But what’s wrong with indulging every so often in a little sappiness and idealism? To think of the troubles which barge in seconds after Life enters your doorway as simple and passing, even if only for a few minutes: what’s wrong with that? For a brief moment, instead of trying to detangle this impossibly complex web where our life and the lives around us mingle, try taking everything at its face value without digging for the hidden meaning, the other possible explanations.
Like my dog, let us briefly relish in the things we call, (or are used to calling) trivial and naive.
If there’s something we want to accomplish, something new we’d like to try, let us dream unreservedly. If there’s someone we love, let us love unreservedly. If we hold pain in our hearts, let us, for this moment, just grieve. And if we are presented with food, hugs, chew toys, and belly rubs…oops, too far?
As terribly cliche and hopelessly idealistic as this all is, I hope this semi-pasagietta serves as a time for indulgence, healing, preparing us to return to the maze that has no answer with an open mind, clear eyes, and hands ready to reach out to another’s.
Tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, and the day after that, you and I will face a lot of things, whether they be good, bad, or somewhere in between. Somewhere in between one day and the next, whether it be through a stroll through your neighborhood or simply opening a window to let the air in, let’s take a moment to partake in the wisdom of dogs.
Also published on Medium.