Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Glowing in the Dark November 25, 2014

It doesn’t make sense. I have never and will never understand it. I will, however, question why this trick of nature happens every year. Here we are in the midst of all things holiday and literally speaking it is the darkest time of year.

The sun seems to rise later and set sooner every single day. That means less sunshine, which (at least from what I can tell) means less happy people. None of this is good news in my world. It’s also not the worst news, because I make it a point of mine in life to be a light amid the darkness in whatever way possible. This thing called daylight savings time will not break me down.

My faith in the power of one’s inner light was renewed tonight as I watched as another bought of silliness unfolded between my forever parents and dear baby Carter.Hard at Work

There we were, the four of us, in the darkness of the basement. I was sure either mom or dad would turn the lights on eventually. Instead they grabbed out these little sticks and I listened as they cracked them to life. I’m not sure of the correlation between the cracking sound and what happened next, but I suppose some things are best left to mystery anyway. Within a few seconds, the room was dimly lit by little florescent glow sticks, which brought far more joy to everyone involved than I would have ever expected.

The fun continued as mom suggested Carter have a glow-in-the-dark bath time. He loved every minute of it. He was happy. Mom and dad were happy. I was happy.

It doesn’t make sense to me why there is so much darkness during such an otherwise joyful time of year. But that’s okay. It sounds silly, but the glow-in-the-dark games tonight reminded me it’s possible not just to let your light shine, but to find new ways to do it. Routine has its perks, but switching it up from time to time is good for the soul. How you choose to shine ultimately doesn’t matter. What matters is that you shine at all.

Because as Dutch Renaissance humanist Desiderius Erasmus put it “give light and the darkness will disappear.”

 

I’m Sorry Now August 19, 2013

I don’t know what mom expected me to do. There we were, relaxing in the hammock together on a beautiful Sunday evening. She was reading and I was cuddled up against her sniffing the air. All was well with the world. That is, until I ruined the moment.

Smelling the AirThere they were, playing and climbing one of the very same trees to which the hammock was attached. The family of squirrels who live in my backyard (and frequently taunt me from their place of safety outside the reach of my lead) simply could not go unnoticed. So I did what any dog would do. I attacked. I bounded out of the hammock in what can only be described as another one of my ill-fated attempts to take flight into the tree. The way I saw it my odds were much better than usual because I was already a few feet off the ground from my place in the hammock.

But mom didn’t see it that way. After she rounded me up from my failed attempt to show those squirrels who’s boss, I saw the physical and emotional aftermath of my escape from solitude. My dramatic exit made her spill her water all over herself, her book and her (not-so-Smart)phone. Fortunately no one was harmed in the making of this story, but I know I ultimately ruined our otherwise peaceful time. I'm Sorry Now

And (while I am tempted to argue that I only did what is in my nature and it was really actually the squirrel family’s fault for trespassing) I was immediately sorry for the apparent devastation I’d caused when I saw the pathetically defeated look on mom’s face. Any and all reasons aside, I found myself in quite the quandary. I don’t know what she expected me to do. Certainly the squirrels could not be ignored.

That’s when it hit me. Sometimes what’s in our nature gets us in trouble. It happens to the best of us, and innocent people get hurt in the process. It reminds me a little of a story I’ve heard mom recalling about her and her younger sister when they were little people. Whenever mom’s little sister did something naughty, she would say “I’m sorry now” in the cutest and most sincere voice imaginable. How can you not forgive that?

Therein lies the moral of my flying hammock dog story. Sometimes it doesn’t matter why we do what we do. If innocent people are hurt in the process there is only one way to make it right. They just need to hear it. I’m sorry now. And since us canines can’t say it, we find ways to show it. So I may have ruined my peaceful moment with mom in the hammock. But I made it up to her with lots of love and cuddles and it was like it never even happened.

 

Home is Where the Heart Is January 28, 2013

I’ve lived a lot of different places in my relatively short life.

When I was a little pup, my birth mom and my two brothers moved around a lot, finding shelter under garbage cans, in alley ways, and in cardboard boxes (if we were lucky). Times were pretty tough and food was scarce, but one thing brought me comfort like nothing else: cuddling with my mom. I would scrunch myself as small as I could, inhale her motherly smell, and listen for her heartbeat. It was warm, and with each beat of her heart, I could somehow feel her loving me just a little bit more. More than anything, I miss that about her. She was home to me.

Later when I was fending for myself, it brought me the most powerful sense of relief to picture myself back there snuggling myself into serenity. I could be shivering cold in the icy cold rain, and the memory of being in my mom’s arms brought me warmth.

As time went on, her smell became more a distant memory and her image became the slightest bit blurry, but her warmth somehow remained a source of solace in my heart.

People at the humane society (fondly?) referred to me as needy, and perhaps that’s what I am. I never passed up the opportunity to nudge myself into the hands or arms of the workers and especially of visitors who asked to see me outside of my room. I know that’s why I struggled in the first adoptive home with all of those other cats and dogs. There was simply not enough cuddle time to go around in that house.

That has never been a problem in my forever home. My mom and dad (and various people visitors) seem to enjoy my cuddly nature (for the most part).

The other day, it was bedtime in the Schmidt household and (as has become customary), I snuggled myself in between mom and dad on the bed. I closed my eyes, let out a deep grunting sigh and realized something. While my birth mother’s warmth is irreplaceable, I have found not just one but two new hearts to lull me to sleep with their love. And with that, I realized I am truly blessed.

If its true that home is where the heart is, my heart has found its forever home.

Smiles for Cuddles

 

More People Have Gone to Hell on Their Buts… December 27, 2012

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I… I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” These very famous words penned by Robert Frost in the 1920s’ “The Road Not Taken” took me on a trip down memory lane today. It started during my afternoon nap…a memory of a warm summer day a few months ago when mom took me on a special walk. I remember I was so excited because we went for a car ride too. Oh, how I love exploring the world! I do my best thinking while I’m out in the great outdoors with the wind in my fur and the world at my paws.IMG_20110504_154627

Padding along that trail, I found myself thinking of Frost and his decision to take the road less travelled. Granted, I do not make many decisions in life (thank goodness I have my parents for that), but I see the value in making the right ones. But therein lies the question…how do you know if a choice is the “right” one?

It seems to me that taking the occasional risk in life would be exciting (albeit challenging). I bear witness to my parents discussing things on such a regular basis, and I’ve got to say – there are a lot of buts in their lives. “I would do that, but…” or “Let’s go there someday, but…”

If I could, I would remind them of a funny thing I heard mom’s grandma say when she was over one time: “more people go to hell on their buts.” All right, I’ll admit it – as the occasional sniffer of canine butts, I found some humor in her commentary. But that kind of ironically philosophical wisdom is hard for me to pass up. What I take from those silly (yet brilliant) words is that it is a waste of life not to take chances, not to take the occasional left turn instead of going the same old “right” way.

It reminds me a bit of the paradox involving a very wise cat. Devised by Erwin Schrodinger in 1935 (not so long after Frost commented on the value of novelty in life), the thought experiment known by physicists as “Schrodinger’s cat” presented a feline who was placed in a box with a vile of poison. In theory the cat could be considered both dead and alive and only through opening the box could one would discover the cat’s fate. Like Frost’s challenge to take the road less travelled, Schrodinger’s experiment challenged scientific thoughts of the time. By implying that the cat is simultaneously dead and alive, the experiment brought into question that the cat cannot actually be both at the same time. Ahead of their time, Frost and Schrodinger alike offered reflections on the value in taking chances.

So let us take that road less travelled. Let us open that box to find out what’s inside. Let us not go to hell on our buts.