Tuesday, September 15, 2009

the dog that wasn't there

OK, let me be frank...(actually I'm Jim, but never mind...). I think I'm posting something but the stuff that came up on my screen is different than before...I hope it works.

Sitting in the gazebo down at the end of the long walkway from the house we were in on Oak Island, I settled in beside my friend. He was reading on his Kendal--is that how to spell it? And I was looking down the beach.

A couple of hundred yards away I saw a dog that I thought was tethered in the sand near the rising tide. The dog didn't move but his ears blew out in the wind. A big dog--probably a black lab--sitting extremely still as the waves came nearer and nearer.

I said to John--my friend's name--'look at that poor dog, how can anyone do that to a dog?'

John looked for a while and said, 'maybe we should do something, that seems cruel...'

I got up and crossed the dune to the beach and started walking toward the dog, imagining myself liberating him/her and giving his/her owners a stern talking to about how to treat animal companions. I was going to be stern and threaten to call the ASPCA and make a scene on the beach and maybe even take charge of the lab and bring him back to our house.

The setting sun was in my eyes, I must confess, since Oak Island faces south and we were East of the poor dog. But I was building up my indignation, righteous I assure you, having left my dog back in CT, when I realized it was one of those short beach chairs with a towel on it. The edges of the towel were the 'ears' of the dog I saw and the chair itself was his/her body. I turned back, realizing I had become upset and discombobulated by a dog that wasn't there.

Seems to me that is a metaphor for a lot of stuff. We--you and I--become upset and angry and self-righteous, I think, about a lot of 'dogs' that 'aren't there'.

The whole nonsense about the health care reform--people screaming and whining and complaining about dogs that aren't there.

The next time you decide it is ok to yell out, "you Lie" about something, take a walk closer--this is just me talkin'--and see if the dog is really there....I'll do the same. We'll all be better off, I suspect....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.