Walking with a dog is different than walking with another person. Walk alongside a human friend and generally you will find yourself buried in conversation, walking along at a fast pace, enjoying the sun and wind but perhaps missing small details as the landscape floods by in a swift blur. Such a walk invigorates the body, warms the spirit. It;s good for you; no question. The physical heart beats rapidly, blood flows; it’s good exercise, but walk with a dog, the pace slows, the sky settles, the land leaps up, and suddenly the world has a sharper focus. The familiar becomes the strange.
What was yesterday just the Church of Light with its crown of spiky thorns, an Oakland landmark more at home with its towering glass faced neighbors suddenly becomes a part of the lake, an earth fountain allied to the waterspout before it, spilling light on all who pass.
You can, of course, walk rapidly and determinedly with a dog. Why not? They will trot happily along with you as you jog because they like to please, but if left to their own devices, they’ll stop every fifteen feet to examine a tree stump or a light post. Dogs walk for pleasure not for 'health'; when they run they prefer to run full out, and when they walk they explore every inch of the path. Following scent trails, they bury their noses for many long minutes in mysterious odors trapped in grasses or hidden beneath bushes, and if there’s no enticing aroma nearby, they’ll bark at squirrels, leap at birds, and pause to greet any passing dog. I have learned to appreciate my own little dog's active engagement with the world. My preferred method of walking with Earnest-the-Importance-of-Being-Earnest is to stop when he stops. Then, when he is busy analyzing some stain on a tree stump, I breathe and look about, find my moment while he finds his. His curiosity permits mine. While he is earnestly seeking, I can be honestly looking. It works.
Life's Hard, Make art.
So says the winged angel
with his crown of lights
and his body of focus,
arrows to the ground
Look down, look
down to earth.
When I did looked down, I noticed the tiny white daisies that cover the lawn at this time of year, and the red-painted bolts securing the light pole to its concrete foundation. I wondered about the person who had sat on the ground near the daisies, watching the geese on the lake while painting each bolt with great care. I should imagine she (and it was a 'she,' I'm think . . . do men carry nail polish in pockets?) used the entire bottle of fir-engine red nailpolish to paint the two red bolts. She must have; the other bolts were rusted grey. How long did it take?
I love this piece of art created by at least five anonymous artists collaborating with one another at different moments on different days. Community birthing.
Our world is our art. Our life our brush.
Life's Hard, Make Art.