Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Winter. Is. Coming. October 4, 2014

I’ve heard people talking about it for days. It started with something so tiny that popped up all over people’s (not-so) Smartphones. A glimmer of something that glitters but is not gold around here. A snowflake showed up on the forecast for today, and people were not happy to see it.

Being that it is so early in October, most of us Wisconsinites aren’t quite ready for the snowy white stuff. Except for me, that is! I suppose it might have something to do with the fact that I have nothing to do with the cleanup of it, nor the navigation through it. I get to enjoy it for what it is. And to me it is beautiful. Playing in the snow

So (please don’t tell everyone else in the state of Wisconsin I said this, but) I was actually the slightest bit disappointed when the snowflake on the forecast didn’t happen in my neck of the woods. There were some minor snow showers in other parts of the state, and (believe me) people were pretty upset about it. But not here.

All the weather-related pandemonium of the last few days did get me to thinking, though, about the inevitable winter that awaits us. It’s just around the corner. It was a frigid 40 degrees today around here, and while that is nothing compared to the subzero temperatures of this past January and February, it felt pretty darned cold. That is what I don’t look forward to about winter.

But there are a lot of good things to think about too. Like (gasp!) the snow, for me at least. And the cuddling – I love the cuddling. And the Christmas music and the lights and the traditions and all the extra time with extended family during the holiday season. And this year will be extra special because dear baby Carter will turn one whole year old.

So yes, winter is indeed coming as sure as I know my name is Wiley. And while I might be in the minority of those around me, I am more than okay with that. Warmth. From the ground up, it’s found in more than the what the forecast says. It’s found in our lives, in our minds, and in our hearts.

 

Defeat Meets Victory December 9, 2013

I looked into the eyes of evil today. It wasn’t pretty. There I was, face to face, nose to nose, with my arch nemesis otherwise known as Demon Dog. I could feel his breath on my face as his terrifying bark tore through the air. Worst of all, I could see the look in his eyes. It chilled me to my core. (Or maybe that was the frigid -10 degree wind chill).

What do you think?I’m not sure how it happened actually. One minute I was on my lead (which generally separates us by at least 20 feet) and the next I was not. So I seized the opportunity and ran myself right back to that fence. I don’t know what took over me. It’s like I lost all sense of self control. I shamelessly ignored the voices in my heart that cautioned me to stay. Instead I got close. I looked danger in the eye and gave it a good talking to.

It lasted only about as long as it took dad to run barefoot through the snow to grab me and haul me back inside. Boy was I in trouble. Not just because dad and mom were upset with me for putting myself in danger like that, but because I have what I have determined to be a pretty serious problem. And I’m not sure what to do about it.

I realized it tonight as I saw the darkness in those eyes. I got up close and personal with evil and I didn’t like what I saw. Defeat. On both our parts. On his, from whatever made him into such a monster. Everyone has a story and I’ve wanted nothing more than to give him the benefit of the doubt. And on mine, because I realized I don’t think I can save him. Your resident doggie optimist is throwing in the proverbial optimistic towel on this one.

And I don’t like it. Not one bit. I don’t give up – it’s not in my nature. I see the good in all people, places and things. I find the silver lining. But sometimes there is maturity in recognizing there are some things we simply cannot control. Some problems can’t be fixed. I find peace in knowing this itself is the silver lining.

“Defeat is not the worst of failures,” suggested American literary critic and poet George Edward Woodbury. “Not to have tried is the true failure.” I tried. That’s what matters. In this case my defeat can be my victory.

 

Come In From the Cold December 7, 2013

It happens in an instant. And a few minutes later it’s gone. Call me crazy, but I get the zaniest surge of energy from being outside in the cold. It is 11 degrees in Wisconsin right now, which feels downright toasty compared to the 3 degrees it was earlier this morning.

And I love it. It’s like a volt of electricity coursing through my veins. It charges me up in a few short moments so much that I run around the house like a ninny for several minutes upon returning inside. If they made a 5-hour energy drink for dogs, this would be it. But just like those energy drinks, the moment passes. The high is inevitably short-lived. Not to mention there is a very thin line between just enough and way too much time outside in such frigid temperatures.Running Joy

It reminds me a bit of one of those late-night infomercials mom has been skimming over when the little person’s kicks wake her in the night. The salespeople are pitching all of these gadgets and gizmos that they promise will make life easier in one way or another. Yet I fear these too are quick fixes. So many of these things are not really solving a problem as much as they are pacifying them.

It made me wonder what I would tell the world if I had 15 minutes of air time (and could speak people obviously). Tonight when I came back in from the cold I got my answer. I was running amuck with no particular destination in mind. I galloped down the hallway to the master bedroom and that’s when it happened. Joy from the ground up. Literally. My people both got down to my level and we all played together. My joy (albeit sparked artificially by something in the freezing cold Wisconsin air) was contagious.

In that moment I knew what I would share with the world in my 15 minutes of fame. My sales pitch wouldn’t be a momentary fix. It wouldn’t promise five hours of energy. There wouldn’t be any of that “order in the next five minutes” and “limited-time offer” business. Forget the gadgets and gizmos. I know what will really make life easier in the long-term. Joy. In my world, it is not a limited time offer. It’s a way of life. And its warmth will outlast the cold every single time.