Following a Lead

I have been leaving my phone at home when I walk Leonard. Even though it’s dark. I figure the world is no more dangerous now at 4 am than it was those years ago when it was perfectly normal to not carry a tether in your pocket. Ah! But what if I need to call the police?

Opportunity creates need, I suppose. Or the illusion of need – want. But I want not to have these fears and this steady state of vigilance. This false sense of security in the face of an artificially inflated sense of danger.

I let Leonard lead this morning and he took the back route along the railway. A long, narrow stretch behind the (not so) temporary building for kids’ soccer training. There is something intensely discouraging about temporary structures in decay. But I try not to dwell on it.

No pun intended.

It’s usually deserted this time of morning, but we crossed paths with a young man who was probably on his way to work. He smiled. I’d been humming, somewhere in the middle of my walking meditation. I figure these kinds of interruptions are more like prompts and direction than interruption. Nudges.

Home again, I move through the morning asana flow. Still wondering why, when I get to the bridge, Leonard invariably trots over to tuck his forehead into my neck. Nuzzling. Breathing his own ujjayi – nose pressed against my skin. I try to accept it. The interruption. The nudge.

Then he watches me do a headstand and curl into child pose before he wanders off to wait for me in the library, while I grab a coffee and my glasses. Routines. What is good for the dog is good for the human.

“But flexible,” I remind myself. Be flexible.

I have so much to say on days I can’t make time to sit here in front of the computer. So much to say while I’m running on the beach or sitting on the train. All these thoughts pressing to be sorted and seen. And most days if I can’t catch them, sort them, form them and pin them down in a way that later will seem both true and strange, I worry that I will never have really existed. I will have let myself slip through my own fingers. Wasted time.

Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t about my thinking I have a gift to give the world, or an obligation to impose myself in anyone’s life. But I fear not taking the time to give myself a true form in the present tense. The blue boxes in the corner, filled with notebooks and scraps of paper aren’t there for posterity. Or documentation really. They are the process of my becoming and the sloughed bits of what I was. And even as I type this, I feel stupid. And self-indulgent.

There are artists who make sand paintings that blow away, wash away, are trampled under the feet or the bellies of creatures as they pass.

This.

And as it should be.

photo: Ren Powell

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