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Saturday, January 4, 2014

January 4, 2014

Taking the dog out when there are five or six inches of snow on the ground is an interesting exercise. We humans in her pack are so attentive to her possible need to eliminate, cheerfully encouraging her to tend to that business. Gracie, however, is more zen-like. She sniffs the snow, licks at it, stops at the crunching sound of slow-moving tires over icy road, and watches with interest until the vehicle has turned into a driveway and come to a stop. She forsakes the patch of snow she'd been occupying, chooses an area where the snow is more shallow, stands and watches some more. Sits and watches. Listens and watches. We both hear it before we can see -- a rhythmic huff sound - huff, slap, slap, slap, huff, slap, slap slap -- and then the jogger comes into view, heavy jacket, thin legs, gloved hands, knit cap pulled over ears, small cloud on exhale, one breath for every four steps.

My right hand feels cold, and I switch the leash to my left, look at the long contrails left by passing aircraft, making diagonals across the sky, wide above, narrowing down to point toward the horizon. There's a slivver of moon above, pale in the late afternoon sky. There's a blaze of setting sun behind a neighbor's house, the tulip tree branches silhouetted. I imagine someone's happy little brush, or happy little pen, scratching the image on a surface whiter than the snow; whiter, because the snow itself looks startlingly white in places, and in other places, blue-toned.

I was reading earlier this afternoon about the many benefits of mindfulness, about starting a mindfulness practice, of the neurological changes associated with mindfulness. I contemplate.

It may be that happiness lies in developing the worldview of the dog. 

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