There's a rather large, rather old, but very sweet hound dog in my kitchen right now. She's making sloppy slobbering noises as she eats her dinner, pushing the thin tin bowl that contains her kibble plus two scoops of wet food and some warm water (to make 'gravy') around the kitchen floor. This long legged, floppy-eared, all-nose invasion is a temporary situation. I'm just keeping her around for a few days while her real mom handles some family situations. We're still figuring things out, Sadie and me. I'm a little awkward and nervous and Sadie, well, Sadie is infinitely patient.
Having Sadie here reminds me of what it must be like to bring a new baby home only I'm sure a new baby is 10,000 times more work and anxiety. Still, there are new routines to learn and new languages/signals to figure out. When she perks up her ears and wags her tail, that must mean she's happy, right? Or does she want something? If so, what? Does she need to pee? Did I remember to give her her morning pills? Not another walk, surely.
It's really good but also really challenging to bring something wild into your life, something which pushes its needs right up there with your own. Someone else besides yourself to take care of, whose daily requirements are different than your own and so will force you into new territory not of your own choosing. Someone to make 'gravy' for and to take long, follow-your-nose walks with at 5:30 a.m. where you discover secrets about your neighborhood only known at that hour. Someone for whom you stuff narrow blue plastic sleeves from the NYT into your coat pocket only to pull them out, one by one, at the grocery check out in search of your wallet. Someone who has probably gotten more treats in the past two days than her mom gives her in an entire week. ("Good girl, Sadie!")
So all this is to say that instead of visions of sunbeams on the polished wood tables and gentle reminders to pay attention and appreciate the moment, today's weekend meditation is being interrupted by stray pieces of kibble crunching underfoot. It's tripping over a tangle of leashes hanging from the doorknob. It's a little blurry due to the fact that someone barfed all over the couch last night which, since this took place in a small studio apartment, did not go unnoticed.
Any shred of equanimity I had is, for the moment, blown to bits. The only drop of wisdom I can mange at this point is that in this life, you have to sit before you can eat your treat.
(Image credits: Dana Velden)