Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

A Second Spring October 2, 2013

We see clearly but not in every color. We hear a pin drop from one hundred feet away. We can taste the difference between health food and people bacon. The more than 200 million receptor follicles in our noses can smell diseases. But (at least in my opinion) we canines are cut off at the proverbial knees if you take away our ability to feel. And today I feel blessed.

It happened suddenly on my twilight walk around the neighborhood with mom tonight. I had one of those overwhelming senses of peace. Happiness. Joy, from the ground up. And I have all of my senses to thank. That, and the true beauty that is fall in my tiny piece of the world.

The trees have begun turning all sorts of varying shades of gorgeous. Sure, I can’t see it nearly as vividly as my people, but I can tell something magical is happening. To me it’s all its own kind of sunshine. The leaves that fall are the rays that leave crunchy paths of novelty along my otherwise familiar route. It reminds me a little of the peace I hear when the snow falls. I don’t know whether people hear it or not, but I sure do.

And don’t even get me started on the smells. Though I do still catch a whiff of grilled goodness wafting through the air, it has mostly been replaced with burning wood and leaves. And candles that smell like cinnamon and caramel. And pies in the oven that smell like all kinds of delicious fruits of the season. (Did I mention my love for apples?)

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower,” suggested French philosopher Albert Camus.

How special then that these sights, sounds and smells all align around this season of harvest. Just as crops are now ripened and gathered this time of year, we are blessed with a veritable pantheon of potential sources of joy, happiness and peace. Trusting in our senses is perhaps the most basic way to soak it all in, and (at least in my humble doggie opinion) may even be the most powerful.

So today I saw my second spring. I listened. I smelled. And I felt it. Joy from the ground up falling down around me amidst the leaves.

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Look No Further August 1, 2013

I enjoyed a paradise for the senses tonight. The birds were singing in beautiful harmonious surround sound, accompanied by the faint chiming of wind chimes. The sun warmed my soul just enough as I inhaled the smell of people food on nearby grills through the cool breeze. If summer could be captured in a moment, I had it in the palm of my paw today.Joy

It was the very antithesis of misery. That’s the word my mom uses when nothing seems to be cooperating. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it happens it throws both dad and I for a loop. I’m not sure whether to steer clear or offer my sincerest of condolences, and I can tell dad feels the same.

It happened just the other day, when mom woke up with a terrible headache (which I’ve never experienced but I gather is quite painful), and nothing went right from the moment she got out of bed. She cut herself in the shower (heaven knows how), burned herself with the hair iron, spilled lotion all over the place, and then ripped the shorts she intended to wear to a family gathering that afternoon. And that’s when the crying started. It lasted longer than usual, and dad didn’t know what to say. (He usually doesn’t, poor guy, so I often find myself wishing he would just follow my lead).

I stayed my distance at first, but cuddling my condolences seemed the preferred method of recovery for this particular instance of misery. It passed as it always does, and I didn’t think anything of it. Until tonight, that is. I found myself reflecting on this thing called misery in a moment of pure summer perfection, when everything seemed to align into a happy harmony.

I’ve seen it happen far too many times – simple things (like lotion on the floor, hair iron burns, and ripped shorts) can really bring the spirit down when they all happen at once. But one of life’s most precious gifts is that of balance. Fortunately for us that means the same can be said of the positive impact of simple things (like birds singing, wind chimes clinking and people food grilling). Joy. Sometimes we need to look no further than our own backyards to find it. Whoever said good things come in small packages sure nailed it on the head.

 

The Perfume of Life June 12, 2013

Dog noses can pick up some pretty incredible scents. We can be trained to hunt for illegal drugs and missing persons. We can find buried treasures in the backyard we stowed away for a special occasion. We can smell that pepperoni pizza before the pizza delivery guy even gets out of his car. Regardless of what we use them for, the dog nose is a pretty priceless asset to us canines.

I use mine for all sorts of good (and evil…that garbage can never sees me coming!), including breathing in all the fabulousness of life I can handle. The fresh green grass after dad finishes with that loud contraption called a lawnmower. The bacon I occasionally get to sample after Saturday brunch. And (perhaps my favorite scent of all) the smell of my people.

I’m not talking the smell after they do their ritualistic readying routines involving various forms of scented shampoos, hair styling products, perfumes and lotions. I’m talking about their natural people smell. It might sound weird, but that is one most heavenly smells to those of us who are fortunate to find forever homes. To us, that is the smell of happiness, love and true joy.

Jess (at 10 weeks) and IAll of this came to the forefront of my doggie heart tonight when we got a visit from my mom’s good friend Jessica (also known as mom of my doggie pal Diesel). From the moment she walked in, I was absolutely enamored with her smell. And while my mom immediately attributed my obsessive sniffing to smelling Diesel, I knew better. I knew better seven months ago when Jessica was frequently visiting my mom after her knee reconstruction surgery, and I know better now. She smells like life. And I’d choose the smell of life over that of any designer perfume.

Sure, there was a faint underlying sense of vanilla and cocoa, but my heart paid no attention to that. She sat on the couch and I couldn’t help myself from sniffing all over her rounded tummy and nuzzling up against her hair. I only half heard the conversation she was having with my mom about how she is feeling with just a few days left before the baby is born. She can’t wait to meet the baby, and (to be honest) neither can I. It smells so good already and it’s not even born yet!

I don’t think I realized it until today, but this smell of life might be my new favorite people smell. It’s not really something I’ve been exposed to in the past, and I’m not likely to be exposed to it too often in my doggie life. So today I breathed it in with all my might because it truly is special. I was reminded at some point amidst my epic sniff fest that a dog’s nose can smell some pretty spectacular things. There are many moments in a dog’s life that we unconsciously give thanks for our gift of smell, but today surpassed that for me. This was no buried bone or pepperoni pizza. I smelled life today. And it smells fabulous.

This post is dedicated to my pal Diesel, who in a few precious days, will become a big doggie brother to baby Sternard. Congrats dude!

Dieselmeister