Part of the after-dinner routine is to take our doggie, Willow, out for a bathroom break and a bit of exercise. There's a park behind our development with an open, grassy field, which makes for a perfect site for off-leash fun. There weren't any soccer or softball practices tonight, and so Willow and I went to that empty field so she could run unfettered -- and run she did.
Willow was tired after several sprints after a good throwing stick, chasing it up and down the field; and so we came to a pause next to the stick after she found it. Willow lay down in the cool grass and commenced an easy, contented gnawing on the stick. I stood there for a moment looking at her and, after noticing a brief but intense flicker of distracted, hurried anxiety from within -- an automatic "we have to get going!" response -- I decided to sit right down in the grass next to her.
In an instant, and all of a sudden, my world changed.
I noticed -- no, I saw -- the trees that ring the field. I saw their branches waving gently in the breeze. I saw the clear, muted blue of the evening sky above us. I felt the soft, cool grass underneath, and noticed how comfortable I felt sitting there on it. I felt it in my hands, and gently tugged on a handful of it -- not so hard as to pull it out, but rather to feel its strength and vitality. I breathed. I blinked.
I noticed I was more or less facing one particular tree across the field. I took in its green deciduous leaves. I traced the space between it and myself. A metaphor occurred to me. An affirmation arose. The tree could be a destination. It is my intention to remain awake and alive for each step of my walk across the field to that tree. Once there, I will acknowledge my journey and my arrival. I will then choose another destination and proceed; or, absent that immediate transition, I will sit at the foot of my new station and wait for a destination to occur to me.
I laughed easily and quietly.
Willow lay there, absorbed in her gnawing conquest of the throwing stick. I gave her a few pats on the back, and gently combed out some loose fur with my hands. I watched it flutter away in the breeze.
For those moments, I was there. I was real, and the world was real.
We stood up. I gathered the stick, and clipped her leash back onto her collar. We started our walk back home across the field. I found another stick. Willow convinced me to throw it to her a few times. I stashed the sticks in a place where we could easily find them again. For next time. We came home.
Goodnight, and thank you for reading.