Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Things That Happen at Dusk July 16, 2014

I’ve gotten pretty used to the nighttime routine around here. Dinner, play, nap, play eat, sleep. Things have progressed slightly from where they were a few months ago, for which I am appreciative. Mom, dad and dear baby Carter spend a little more family time together than they used to thanks mostly to the six-month landmark that is solid foods.

Nonetheless, something happened today that departed from routine. And I’m not going to lie. I loved it. Moments after Carter went to bed, mom spontaneously decided she was going to take me for a quick walk around the neighborhood. This might not sound like much to the average canine, but to me it meant the world.

I can’t remember the last time I was out and about sans baby and carefree. While I realize this sounds like a complaint, I truly and sincerely digress. It’s not about that. It’s about things that happen at dusk and my love and appreciation for them.

Be it a random walk around the neighborhood, observing Carter’s bedtime routine, or watching the moving picture window known by people as the TV, it doesn’t really matter. I see stars in all of these things because these things spark happiness in the people around me.

Today, my stars multiplied because I felt like I was out living large with a chapter of my past. In what some might call the “good ole days,” mom and I adventured through the neighborhood (and sometimes even the dog park) on a daily basis. Obviously it has been some time since that has been the norm, but that doesn’t remove the importance of a thing like tonight from my heart.

If nothing else, it increases it. Because I’ve gotten quite used to the nighttime routine around here. It has departed (a bit) from the temporary eat, sleep, poop routine that was the norm a few months ago. And while that change has been welcomed, something else is welcomed along with it. While still increasingly important, routine needs to be broken every now and then. And when such a thing involves a journey to the past to which I felt like paying tribute, all is well in my little doggie world. So I say long live tradition and all it means for change.

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Of Monsters and Dogs May 21, 2014

I’m not proud of it. But I succumbed to a human emotion I prefer to avoid today. And (even worse) it wasn’t the first time.

I was ecstatic that my (more than slightly ill) forever mom and dad decided to take baby Carter and I for a walk on this beautiful evening. It’s a far cry from those terrible frigid winter nights of the not-so-distant past. There we were, a happy family of four, journeying through my beloved neighborhood. It was grand.

Until it wasn’t. We were almost home when I saw him. Monster. I’m not joking or being coy. This dog’s name is actually legitimately Monster. I know it because I’ve heard him called that by his owners on several different occasions, including today.

Here’s the thing. Monster is scary looking. I’m not sure what breed he is, but he probably weighs about 120 pounds and is black and has red eyes. I’m not just saying so – his eyes are bloodshot red all the time. And it kind of freaks me out. It doesn’t help that he isn’t exactly friendly to other dogs in the neighborhood (namely me). Or that his forever people don’t ever have him leashed. But I digress.

There he was, unleashed, in all of his scary glory today and it was the first time he was exposed to my dear baby Carter. Well, I wasn’t having that. I could almost picture my all 15 pounds of my dear little person getting swallowed up by his big scary teeth. The thought was terrifying.

Then I noticed something. There were six or seven of them, all huddled around Monster, petting him and telling him to stay. Which he did. But more astonishing than that was that there they were. Six or seven little people, no older than 5 or 6 years old, in the company of this so-called monster.Forgive Me

I was overcome with guilt on the spot. All of this time I had assumed the worst about Monster. His name is Monster for crying out loud. But that’s the thing about first impressions.

“It’s pretty simple, pretty obvious: that people’s first impressions of people are really a big mistake,” suggested American actor Vincent D’Onofrio.

I’m not proud of it. But I succumbed to a human emotion I prefer to avoid today. First impressions. From the ground up, I was reminded today that there are a lot of impressions that come next. I’m a believer in second (third and fourth) chances, and this should be no different.

 

A Shower of Gold October 9, 2013

Sometimes I want it. Badly. Other times I’m overcome with relief that I never really have to worry about it. This thing called money offers me a variety of emotional responses. Lately I’ve been struggling with the realization that while I am blessed not to have to worry about it, it doesn’t go unnoticed. Instead my people worry about it. A lot.

Money, money money. It used to come up occasionally, but the frequency has increased lately as preparations continue for my new little person. And its never really a happy conversation. Not that there is arguing or fighting, but us canines have a sense for things like stress and tension.Its just money

It happened again today. I overheard them talking about it and I was overcome with longing. I wanted money. I wanted to buy them all the nice things for the little person they keep talking about like a travel system (whatever that is) and a mobile for the crib. I wanted to give them everything they think they want.

But that’s just it. Wants are not always needs. And needs are not always wants. It sure would be nice if I somehow had all kinds of money to spend on these things. But that’s all they are – things. Just things. Things don’t create happiness, no matter how necessary they seem. Moments of real joy begin in the heart, not the mind.

I was reminded of this tonight as mom and I took a quick walk around the neighborhood right as the sun was setting. It made for a beautiful scene, with the sun shining through the trees as the leaves fell peacefully along our path. And I realized in those precious moments there is this thing about beauty – its completely free. And (even better) it often buys happiness. And joy. And gratitude.

“Here we are sitting in a shower of gold,” observed Australian writer Christia Stead, “with nothing to hold up but a pitchfork.”

It seems I’ve gotten it all wrong. I don’t want money. I want my people’s worry to go away. I want them to see the beauty in all things like I do and feel the sense of emotional richness that brings. I want them to be happy. These wants are really needs in my book. So today I renew my vow to do my small part to highlight these things in our lives, starting with my people. Because I know my heart contains within it its very own shower of gold.