I live in a great place for walking a dog. When we have a perfect Florida night, the street that runs through the center of all of the subdivisions is packed with the neighborhood dogs and their parents.
I usually walk my dog Winston at least 2 – 3 times a day or more if I’m working from home. I’ve recently had way too many days when I needed to take a break and get out from behind the laptop for some fresh air. Some days my head just hurts from staring at the computer screen. It gives me a chance to clear my head and I swear, I’ve written some of my best blog posts during these walks.
My regular readers know about my golden retriever Winston or as we like to call him Stink Monster from this post here. Winston turned two this year but he still has a lot of puppy in him. He’s not the best trained dog on the block and he’ll still pull me here, yank me to sniff this and take off to chase that. We’re still working on our ‘how to walk like a good boy’ skills.
But something happens to him when he gets a stick.
It’s like he’s found his purpose. Other then his usual peeing, pooping and patrolling the neighborhood, Winston’s main goal is find a stick, a long leaf, anything he can carry around in his mouth.
Sometimes he gets too ambitious and pulls up this long branch from the ground. There’s been way too many days that I’ve been whacked in the leg when he lifts his head up and shows me what he found. He’s so proud of himself and I feel bad when I take it away with a “put it down, that ain’t gonna happen.”
I think it’s a retriever thing about why he does this. Whatever it is, you can see the change in the way he walks. He listens more, his head is held high, there’s a skip in his step. He trots down the sidewalk with his stick because he has his purpose.
I understand the whole stick thing. It took me awhile to see the connection of Winston’s stick because I didn’t understand my own purpose. All this work this year, all these people I’ve met, all this … writing. It must have some purpose.
I’m not sure what else I can add to this right now except for the wise words from Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of The Rings, The Two Towers:
I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.
Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something. That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.