My dog, Buddy, is a Maltese. It’s an ancient breed—two thousand years old. And since the Maltese wasn’t bred for anything but to be a cute companion, that’s two thousand years of lapdog-ness. In a dog-like devotion to please, he fails utterly. He doesn’t care one whit whether you approve of him or not. He is also not keen on taking walks or obeying. He’s kind of like a cat, actually. He is very cute, though.
One day, I went for a hike in the woods and I took Buddy. Once we were away from the road and in the woods, I took his leash off and he seemed puzzled.
“Okay, go run along the trail like a dog,” I told him.
He looked at me as if to say, “What part of ‘lap dog’ are you not understanding?”
I began hiking along the trail. Buddy followed, reluctantly. Then he started to get the gist of it. Oh! Sniff at stuff! Eat deer poop! And that’s when Buddy, ancient breed of luxury, began to let his wolf DNA filter through.
“Yes!” I told him, “you are descended from wolves!”
Now that he’s figured it out, Buddy loves to hike. He gallivants along the trail ahead of me. He sticks his little white head into crevices to scare chipmunks. He laps water from streams when he is thirsty. He hops from rock to rock with insouciance. And once, forded icy cold water up to his chest. He comes alive in the trying of new things.
Often I think we get too comfortable staying within the parameters of what we think are our boundaries—those things we think are our reality. But it’s all a big catch 22.
“Reality is what we take to be true. What we take to be true is what we believe… What we believe determines what we take to be true.” David Bohm, physicist.
I told my mom I needed to write in the blog this week because I have had BIG adventures. TWO of them.
I was at a bike race and it was about ninety degrees, so my mom asked someone to take me in the shade while she worked in the pit at the bike race. But I did not want to be in the shade with someone. I wanted to be in the pit with my mom. So I escaped. People were diving for me, but they missed. I crossed under some yellow tape and all of a sudden a bike ran right into me! I went flying and some poop came out (well you try not pooping when something big runs into you) ( I wasn’t scared) (well okay maybe a little.) So there I was, lying on the ground, but then I got up and ran toward the pit again. I ran under some more yellow tape and I heard people screaming. Then I was next to my mom. She looked surprised and she scooped me right up, poop and all. She took me into the shade. I was tired. I lay down and rested. After that I felt fine. Even though everyone thought I should be hurt.
Here is the second adventure. I had a sore. No big deal. I licked it. It got bigger. Mom put stuff on it. I licked it. This went on for many days. Then the sore got a hole in it–like a volcano. Mom called the vet. I hate the vet. We went to the vet. When we got there I started doing the shaking-panting thing (because it smells funny in there) (I wasn’t scared) (well okay maybe a little.) They took me into a little room and stuck a needle in me. I did not make any whimpery noises. Then the vet made a slice on the sore and she took some tweezers and pulled out—-a bug-thing! It had been living in there! In me! It was like I had my own pet! They called it “Cuterebra.” I would have named it something different. Maybe “Lucy.” The vet people were impressed because they said it was one of the biggest ones they’d seen. Who’s special, huh?
(Me, that’s who.)
Buddy, Adventure Maltese
I am sitting on the couch in the really nice and big room that Richie booked for us in a Maryland hotel, three-quarters of the way to Virginia, where we will be for a bike thing. Well, it’s a bike thing for Richie. I take my paints and Maybelle (my sometimes traumatized GPS) and Buddy (the adventure Maltese) and head out to the Blue Ridge Mountains, in search of vistas. And there are vistas a-plenty.
When I find one that gives me that zing, I set up to paint. Despite people coming over to look at what I am doing, which makes me very self-conscious, I persevere until I get a painting done that I like the looks of.
For those of you who paint outdoors, or en plein air as they say, you know that when you look at that picture later, you will smell the air, feel the sun or shadow on your skin again and hear the bird calls—it is that absorbed into you. It becomes more than a memory; it becomes a tangible part of your life.
After completing a satisfying painting, I load everyone back into the car, we head back to the cottage where we are staying and wait for the bicyclists to get back. They are riding a ridiculous amount of miles on back-woods dirt roads, and they feel very manly for doing it. I am satisfied with my day, they are satisfied with their day and when we meet again at the end of the day, we are complete.