Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Fifty Shades of Grey March 25, 2014

Please excuse my French. The whole cliché about us canines being colorblind? It’s bullshit. It’s simply not true. It is true that we are limited in terms of the color spectrum. We only see a fraction of the colors humans see. But we do see color. We see differences in color. And today I saw the value of life in a world that isn’t black and white.Sunshine

It occurred to me as I sat patiently by mom’s feet as she rocked baby Carter to sleep. It was dark in the room, but I wouldn’t call it black. I would call it grey. Grey, like one of those in between colors open for interpretation. Grey, like a color that means something instead of nothing. Grey. From the ground up, it looks pretty nice to me.

Yet it seems to be one of those colors that is frequently misunderstood. It’s one of those dreary colors that brings people down instead of lifting them up. It’s a symbol of uncertainty. Of confusion. Of feeling lost.

Fortunately it’s also one of the colors I see. Because (like most things) that whole cliché about canines being colorblind is only as true as we let it be. It was another grey and frigid winter day in Wisconsin today. And it hit some people pretty hard. Because I speak for a lot of the two-legged philosophers in my life when I say they have had had enough grey. They just want it to be colorful again.

Not only can we canines see more color than we are given credit for, but we interpret color in everything around us. And, at least according to me, the colors of life are open for interpretation by anyone on any given day. A few days ago it rained. But today I found it. My rainbow. Today, as I sat in my own version of grey, I was reminded life is not black and white. It’s not about waiting for something good or bad to happen. Instead we should make it happen. Instead we should make our own rainbow. Even if it is a little grey every now and then.


A Day in “Our Town” January 10, 2013

I do a lot of thinking about my future. Where I want to go, who I want to meet, what I want to accomplish.

Among my most exciting destinations are the warm sandy beaches of North Carolina and the rocky river trails in Tennessee. I’d really love to pick the brains of doggie stars like the ones in the Ceasar dog food and Traveler’s life insurance commercials. And I aspire to have my words touch the hearts and minds of canines and people all over the world.

But today I was reminded that could all be taken away from me in the blink of an eye.

“Dogs’ lives are too short,” turn-of-the century American writer Agnes Sligh Turnbull said. “Their only fault, really.”

While I appreciate Turnbull’s sentiment, its a stark reminder that our time on Earth is limited. We should live each day as if it were our last and all that. Most importantly, we are to notice the little things about even the most seemingly unimportant of days and cherish every moment before its gone…a lesson learned from Thorton Wilder‘s character Emily in “Our Town.The Blink of An Eye

After dying in childbirth, Emily longs for even the most mundane parts of what was so boringly familiar to her in life. She has an epiphany when she finds joy in the moments she used to take for granted. I’ve always found the story a bit depressing, like a snapshot of something too painful to think about.

Thinking it over today made me realize its important to occasionally think about the painful things. Its not easy for me, so for inspiration I turn to a singer-songwriter starlet from whom I am not to embarrassed to say I have received a great deal of emotional education – the dearly beloved Bette Midler.

“I always try to balance the light with the heavy,” she said, “a few tears of human spirit in with the sequins and the fringes.” I know I can’t see color, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate sequins and fringes. Tears, on the other hand, I avoid at all costs. It’s Bette’s kind of balance I need.

All of my time spent in the future is keeping me from enjoying parts of the present and almost completely suppressing the past. As it turns out, that’s no way to get to the future after all.