I want to learn to be more like Mrs. Wigglebottom, who was happy enough to go for her walk and happy enough to turn back when I realized I should have had gloves and a hat. She was happy enough when the folks were here and is happy enough to be back to her routine now that they’re gone.
I tend to stand in the stream of time, looking backwards at all that’s gone past, upset that I didn’t hang onto it longer, didn’t make more of it, didn’t live it differently. Or looking forwards and imagining a flood rumbling down towards me, terrible events I can’t control racing to overtake me and sweep me away.
Mrs. Wigglebottom stands belly deep in this same water, stomping around, splashing, biting at the splashes, and barking in delight when the water hits her face. She can’t swim. She tries, but she sinks like a stone. She trusts that I will drag her back above the surface for as long as I am able and that, after that, things will go some other way.
She doesn’t fret about that other way. She doesn’t look upstream for any other reason than to see where she must put her foot next.
I don’t understand people who see their dogs like their kids. I don’t think they’re wrong; I just don’t see it. My dog is nothing like a person.
That’s how she saves me, regularly.
To her, I think, I am a person she keeps company with, and though she could happily keep company with any number of people, she likes keeping company with me.
But for me?
She escapes words. And, as a person constantly chasing one letter with another, it shakes my perspective, constantly, to interact so regularly with a being who has no words.
I try to be mindful of her, taking one step after another, raising her back leg when it hurts her and going forward on three. Curling up on the couch, always one part of her touching you, or under your feet, here at the desk.
Nothing like me, but constanly modeling a way I could move through the world.
I don’t know. I thought I had something more profound to say, but I don’t.
She’s just such a good dog.