Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

That Time I Fooftered August 22, 2013

Forget milk. It’s humor that does the body good. I say this partially because I’m not allowed to have milk (even though I’ve sneaked a delicious taste from my dad’s glass a few times), but also because I’ve seen laughter at work. It’s a pretty amazing thing that creeps up on me at some of life’s most unexpected moments.

It Wasn't MeTake tonight for example. There I was, scratching behind my ear with my back paw when bam. I fooftered. (This is my more delicate way of saying farted, for anyone that didn’t already connect the gastrointestinal dots). It was far from dainty, and seemed to almost echo through the room. To be honest, it startled me. It brought my scratching to a complete halt for crying out loud. (It isn’t unusual for me to stop and pay attention to my butt region when these foofters happen, but I’m not usually stopping mid-scratch to do so). I paused for about thirty seconds with my back paw still poised for scratching. I was completely frozen in the moment.

That’s when it happened. Mom started laughing almost uncontrollably. I found myself looking around the room for whatever the beautiful source of her laughter was so I could send a mental thank you note. But the television was off, so it couldn’t be that episode of Big Bang Theory when Sheldon is playing in the ball pit (which mom and dad both find hysterically funny for some reason). She wasn’t reading or on the computer or paying attention to anything except me. Me? What about my foofter was so funny?

It’s nothing new for me. I can’t be the only dog who does this. I don’t know that I would find it particularly funny if I witnessed another dog doing it. Yet it made her giggle so much I couldn’t help but share the story in hopes it has a similar effect on other people. I can’t say I understand it, but I’m not sure it matters whether or not I get it. I’m not even sure comedians see the humor in what they say sometimes until after they say it.

All of this reaffirmed for me the words of American poet e. e. cummings who said “the most wasted of all days is one without laughter.” Well, thanks to my silliness, today was not a wasted one. People have wind chimes. Dogs have laughter. These are things that bring us peace. That’s why I say we should forget milk. It’s humor that does the body good.

 

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.

 

Here Comes The Sun June 30, 2013

I thought I had gone blind. One second my brothers were all curled up together in the warmth of my mom’s fur and the next we were out in the open squinting into blindness. Out in the open, away from mom’s protective warmth, and in contact with the brightest thing I’d ever seen.I see opportunity

This thing called the sun used to absolutely terrify me. It was too big…too bright…too much. Not to mention I felt a bit like that baby bird who had been nudged out of the nest and forced to fly. Granted, I wasn’t exactly plummeting toward the ground on a free fall to test my limits, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t scary.

I thought of this today as I reveled in my own little slice of paradise. Here I am five years later enjoying something that used to make me quiver in my paws. My backyard was a paradise for the senses today, complete with birds singing in perfect harmony with the gentle tinkle of the wind chimes. The rays of sun warmed my soul in a way I would have never thought possible so many moons ago. As I breathed in the delicious smell of various types of people food on the grill throughout the neighborhood, I found myself completely caught up in the nature around me.

Nature overwhelmed me with its simplicity today, and in doing so made me reflect on some things. “The sun is new each day,” as ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, and with it comes a whole host of exciting new opportunities. Maybe that mother bird has the right idea with her little nudge toward self-understanding. These changes are not always welcome, but they sure do have a profound impact on our lives. “When the sun is shining I can do anything,” Olympic champion Wilma Rudolph explained, “no mountain is too high, no trouble to difficult to overcome.”

In some ways I was indeed blind that day when my mom left me out to enjoy the sunshine. I was blind to the beauty of nature outside our comfort zones. Blind to the possibilities an open mind affords. Blind to the truth that sometimes the things we fear most may actually prove to be among life’s most promising gifts.