Ours Is Joy



“Most people do not consider dawn to be an attractive experience–unless they are still up.” ~ Ellen Goodman

Somewhere in one of my email folders I have a message from the great Ellen Goodman urging me to keep writing. I sent her an email of admiration when she retired from her career as a journalist/columnist. She responded, which gave me a thrill because her columns, her writing, played a big part in the refining of my style and focus as a writer. Carl Hiaasen, Al Burt, Leonard Pitts Jr., Molly Ivans, all played similar roles. This was back when the newspapers were all hard copy. Imagine that.

This is me on my first cup of coffee. Up earlier than usual. Sporadic coyote calls in the dark, the cat going out and back in through the cat door, daily meds, Lamictal and gabapentin. These substances, the meds, keep my bipolar 2 disorder under check, for the most part. I awoke this morning with a compelling feeling that something major had changed in regards to my mental health, a feeling that is unprecedented in my experience. I tried to pin it down but I did so with the admitted knowledge that such identification is highly unlikely. Something like this unfolds gradually through calm and steady revelation. Darn it. I want to know right now. A bit of greed, me thinks. And yes, Ellen, I do enjoy the dawn, and the pre-dawn. It is an attractive experience for me. As well it should be.

Yesterday at work, at the animal shelter, was a dog day. My lesson for the day came in handling a certain dog named Mitch. He’s a big hunk of dog alright, and he is known for being a pain in the ass when it comes to leashing and then handling him. Mitch has thrown me down to the ground three times, but not once did I loose control of him, yet for a while I would not handle him at all, I would have my coworker Maricella do the job. She is a slim, petit, and young Native American woman, but she has a way with the dogs. My revelation yesterday was that I needed to become more alpha in my handling of Mitch. It worked. It’s all about mammalian politics and communications, instinct and innate cooperation. There’s another honkin’ big dog named Buddy Joe, who has the same reputation for nearly uncontrollable rambunctiousness, but I had his number from day one. A dog that size, like Mitch and Buddy Joe, can deliver a heap of hurt, but when they feel that they are underlings, as far as the alpha things go, it is all a playground event. They are happy to get out of their pens, if only for a while. Theirs is joy, with just a smidgen of freedom.

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~ Mark Twain

From dogs we go back to my morning mental state and health. I came to noticing how many fears I can throw together in short time. The number is truly amazing. Its not a seamless flow from one to the other. The fears have the quality of being staccato, like bullets from an assault rifle, a machine that I am afraid of. See! Even my analogies show fear. I must live in the 21st Century, reckon? That would explain it – for sure.

We all know advanced syntax and linguistic organization is a primary factor that separates the human from the lower animal mind, more physically defined as the evolution of the cerebral cortex from the brain stem and limbic system. Language is what creates abstractions from direct cause and effect relationships. A dog doesn’t question why his tail doesn’t wag the way it used to like a human questions his/her motives and emotions. ~ Terence McKenna

Dogs again. I love my job. And I adhere to the deep implications of the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness, which states that “most animals are conscious and aware in the same way that humans are, and confirmed that virtually all animals have at least some degree of sentience — “. How about that! So when I do what I do with them doggies I do so with the knowledge that they have comparable knowledge of what’s going on. Yesterday I noticed that a big shaggy Shepard mix was clearly depressed, and cowering somberly at the rear of his pen. He had just had a vet check, in which the veterinarian and his assistant intensively check out the animal, looking for health issue that might need treatment. The dog, named Cato, was noticeably humiliated by the procedure. And when I asked the vet’s assistant about it he said, “We have two dogs named Cato. He was the wrong dog”. I responded, “No wonder he’s depressed, he is the wrong dog”. I imagine we have all been in comparable situations. So I unlatched the door to his pen, went in to comfort him, and to apply some flower essence to help alleviate his emotional state. I sat down on the concrete floor, he got up, came over, and laid back down, rolling over on to his back, then I proceeded to rub his belly for a while. After a while I put my hand over his heart and the other on his head, a method of energy healing. The dog was in hog heaven. I will go to him first today, to see if he has perked up at all. I have great concern for my charges. Cato is a new dog. I wonder if that knowledge bothers him as well. In the midst of strangers can also be a hard place to be.

Which brings me back to my coffee, which is almost gone. A single turtle dove sings outside. The cat has ceased her hunting and patrolling, coming back inside to lay at my side while I write. Sweet features of a quiet morning. Mine is joy, which I cherish.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.



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