for every dog
Sitting in my car in traffic, I’m lost in different stories in my head: what was and how I failed, what may be and how I may fail. These stories keep rising up, like bones that won’t stay buried. Again and again. Suddenly I hear a voice, clear as day, say sharply Honey baby, look around you! So I do and to my left I see a big dog sitting in the passenger seat of the car beside me, watching me from his open window. He’s nut-brown with every-which-way fur, bright-eyed. Something in his expression makes me nod to him and he immediately nods back, obliging as only a dog can be. He keeps his steady gaze on me while the wind roughs his cowlicks. I smile at him tentatively; he pulls back his lips and grins widely. He won’t look away and I find that I can’t. What does this dog want anyway? I wonder, and as soon as the question forms in my head, he leans out the window, closes his eyes and sniffs the air. His wet black nose quivers ecstatically. I realize, as if waking from a trance, that it’s a beautiful day — I close my eyes, lean out and smell the clean air too. The moment stretches mystical-long. I think of nothing but the sweet Now. When I open my eyes, the car with the dog has gone ahead; the traffic is moving again. I can see him up in the distance, his head hanging out the window, looking back. He is still grinning. So am I. As I drive on, I’m thinking I’ll take a walk when I get home, the cool wind in my hair. Maybe I’ll find a stick, long and smooth. I’ll throw it — there is no wrong way — and watch it effortlessly arc in flight. Again and again.