Walking Without the Dog
I’m back to walking again. For a few months after Ace left us, I just couldn’t. Sometimes I used the weather as an excuse. But really, I just didn’t want to run into all those people I would run into and they would be asking where he was etc. I didn’t want to be crying on the sidewalk.
Several pounds gained later, I knew it was time to get out there again. So I’ve been trying. Even though the whole time I feel like I’ve forgotten something at home. That huge feeling of missing.
Some days, it just makes me sad. Which is okay.
I was reading this Hafiz poem which tells me so:
I think I just want to be sad today, the way many
are in this world. True, God rides in my pocket,
as He does in yours.
Yes, I could lift Him out and look upon various
realms of light and know great happiness. Maybe
I will do that tomorrow.
The ocean has moods. Have you not seen how its
colour can change, and the waves’ force and heights
And anyway, it’s possible to be simultaneously sad and content. Happy in some areas, sad in others. All at once.
This next poem also by Hafiz, is really speaking to me these days:
If It Is Not Too Dark
Go for a walk, if is not too dark.
Get some fresh air, try to smile.
Say something kind
To a safe looking stranger, if one happens by.
Always exercise your heart’s knowing.
You might well attempt something real
along this path:
Take your spouse, lover in your arms
The way you did when you first met.
Let tenderness pour from you eyes
The way the sun gazes warmly on the earth.
Play a game with some children.
Extend yourself to a friend.
Sing a few ribald songs to your pets and plants—
Why not let them get drunk and wild!
Every rung we've climbed on evolution's ladder.
Whisper, "I love you! I love you!"
To the whole mad world.
Let's stop reading about God—
We will never understand Him.
Jump to your feet, and wave your fists,
Threaten and warn the whole Universe.
That your heart can no longer live
Without real love!
It’s thanks to the dog that when I’m out walking I know so many people that I can say hello to. I know where the blossoms will hang over the fence. I know what time the light makes it over the big houses and onto the back path.
A lot of people have asked us if we’re going to get another pup. But so far we think not. It feels right, this decision, but also lonely. However. We’ve decided that we need to plan a trip. And look, even Rumi agrees.
Planning a Great Trip
There is nothing wrong in looking forward
Your heart might get excited and hit a better stride.
More colour could come to your cheeks, and
you might even.....meet someone there!
With all this talk of being present in some
spiritual dens, don’t let that deter you from
planning a great trip.
Because the thing is, yes, I do just want to be happy with what I’ve got. I know, as Rumi has also said:
“The mystery does not get clearer by repeating the question,
nor is it bought with going to amazing places.
Until you’ve kept your eyes
and your wanting still for fifty years,
you don’t begin to cross over from confusion.”
I miss my walks with Ace. The pure joy of him, the way dogs show us how to be present, completely in the moment with happiness and curiosity. I miss the spring in his step when it was time for his walk– no matter what the weather. When we would get back to our yard after the walk, I would let him off his leash and he would run to the open back gate and through, and do a couple of goofy twirls because once in he knew he would get a biscuit. I want to remember his enthusiasm and happiness at receiving a small treat. He didn’t want much. A walk in any weather, the good smells of nature, and a bit of encouragement and praise from time to time. He was the kind of dog that ran around and said, “I love you!” to the whole world.
Dogs, as is often said, really are pure.