“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours … In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness.” – Walden, Henry David Thoreau
The older I become, the complexities of the world and the demands on my mind and energy become more intolerable. I do not plan to – nor can I afford – to retreat into seclusion of a cabin in the woods. I am neither a Thoreau, Ted Suszynski, nor recluse. But every day, the stress of my job, a world crises of one sort or another, and the increasingly frequent yelling at someone driving erratically or at high-speed make the idea more palatable. I now am more adept at avoiding the controversies surrounding Work, Politics, Religion,Sports & Family: Having made several mis-steps previously and finding the “heartache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to”*, I have allied myself with those who are striving toward a spiritual truth and Promise. The truth I am still learning is that all people – every last one – are definitely complicated and none have attained perfection in this life.
Dogs, on the other hand, are wired with basic stuff. Positives: a food bowl that is regularly filled. Going for walks on a regular schedule. In Dexter’s case, an opportunity to get his neck scratched, bury his nose in a fresh gopher hole, or getting attention from friends and neighbors we encounter on walks. Comet eats often as though he might not get fed ever again; often he tries to crawl into my lap though he is way too big. For both, I am glad that they are well-adjusted and welcoming. The are not ever going to protest, demean, or get their emotions knotted over who is the pack leader. Neither cares a fig about politics, the economy, social media or extremes in the weather.
When my wife or I collapse in the doorway after a particularly brutal day at work and commute, Dexter and Comet are excited. They know that a walk is forthcoming; a walk that is good for Man and dog. And they, like Thoreau know that leaving the world behind for a time is very good for the soul.
*Hamlet, Wm. Shakespeare, http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/36560-to-be-or-not-to-be-that-is-the-question