Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Satori Walking the Dog

I was walking the dog the other evening and everything that had been filling my mind emptied. With profound lightness, I found myself doing nothing, absolutely nothing, but walking the dog. She strained against the leash, then hesitated, then sniffed the ground, then walked nicely by my side, then stopped dead in her tracks and rolled in the grass. It was me, the dog, the leash, the sidewalk, the grass, the smell of grass, my steps, my breathing, her panting, her pink tongue bobbing in rhythm with her breathing, the heat and humidity, the occasional car passing by, and that was all.

This did not last long. Other thoughts intruded. The dog needs a bath. Reality shows are more artificial than scripted shows. Those who inveigh against a public option for health care very likely have an elderly parent on Medicare, but these folks seem oblivious to the irony. And what if they lost their job - how would they pay for health care then? I should go to the Myrtle Beach Marathon web site and sign up. Why do my kids consistently leave the lights on after they leave the room? Why does it take only minutes for a tidy room to look like a cyclone blew through after my kids get home from school? When am I going to put to paper that Runner's World piece that I've been writing in my head for about for two years now? I need to get together with an old friend for lunch. When will the dog stop chewing on everything?

I enjoy walking the dog, but I am stressed by the responsibilities of being a parent to the dog. I have less formal responsibility at my current job than at my previous one, but I have a lot more to do, and what I do is a lot more rewarding. My father is gone, but his presence has never been stronger. I am learning a lot, but I don't think that I know very much. I am older, but I have never felt fitter. Most nights I sleep soundly, and I probably should get more sleep. I have reached a healthy weight, and I wonder whether I should try to lose more. I love my kids more than words can ever express, and some times I feel like disowning them. My wife and I have been together for over 23 years, and we continue to discover new things about one another.

I have found it pointless to whine about the unfair things that happen, or to rail against the obdurate opposition to common sense and empirical evidence that some individuals evince. Arbitrarily bad things happen despite our best efforts to guard against them. Rather than be paralyzed by an unwelcome or unpleasant events, I try to embrace them, deal with them, and move on. I often fall short though.

A thunderclap under the clear blue sky.

No comments: