A few weeks ago I had an early afternoon off from my day job. I had a few duties to attend to that were government related, phoning about their tax mistakes etc. I also wanted to walk the dog, but I hadn’t really made a plan in which order I would do these things. I knew I had to phone during business hours, and walk my dog before dinner. We had a quick foray down the road when I got home, and then I tackled the administrative stuff. Lines were busy, my patience was running thin. Hugo wanted another outing to play frisbee. I dressed, not warm enough and quickly took him out, where my patience ran as thin as my clothing. It was freezing outside and I hadn’t put on anything for an extended time in the cold. I grumbled. Back in we went. Back to the phone. Back to the busy signals. Back to waiting.
We had one more trip out doors, but still I was distracted, and this time it dawned on me just how distracted I was. Enough to realize that I hadn’t been present at all, to our walks. They were walks of duty, which I am sure Hugo could sense. I was disappointed in myself. This was not at all what life was about. Too late, dinner time, cold fingers, setting sun, biting wind, drafty drawers, numb thumbs, simmering discontent, no one on the other end of the line. And I had missed our chance at a perfectly perfect couple of hours. I had blown it.
The next day I had a client who cancelled an appointment late in the afternoon. I went home, bundled up in parka, snow boots, toque, scarf, heavy gloves, and for Hugo to wear, his much disliked but not so bad once they are on, booties.
From the moment we headed out I thanked everything for giving me this second chance to have mindless wandering with my best friend. I thanked deeply and extensively. Hugo was thrilled, sniffing everything. And everything was beautiful from my cozy vantage tucked into my parka; the snow was slightly sticky, the tree branches creaked. Wind howled. Hugo raced, leapt, bounded and bounced from snowdrift to tuft of grass, burying his face, for scents. I noticed field mice or voles or moles or whatever, poking their noses out of places we had stepped. I realized there was a city of life not far below the surface, made up of tunnels and little grass dens.
Time disappeared. There was no rush, no destination. Distractions were made up of no more than new scents, paw prints, and the odd stumble. We squatted by a tree to stare into the wind that blew from miles away (imagining it starting somewhere in California and flying across the continent) onto the field, to us. I looked at Hugo, smiling into the wind, and he looked at me. This was it. We wandered. And I kept saying thank you, for having a chance to retrieve something I had so carelessly missed the day before. It is all too short and so sacred, so divine. I can’t say thank you enough.