Photo of Stephen Kuusisto with his first guide dog Corky, taken on the grounds of Guiding Eyes for the Blind, 1995
Down by Fisherman’s Wharf It began to sink in—I was two persons walking with Cork. The boy who used to be me was there— a boy sparking with wonder. Then there was the man I was becoming. This bonding business, “becoming one” with a guide dog was a spiritual event. I sat on a bench and listened to the sea lions. Corky sat beside me. The boy listened to the sea lions. He thought they were talking the talk of the rocks—orgulous and pushy. Beautiful rocks, swimming stones. And Corky, tilted her head, her ears up, taking in the notes that sounded like protests from a rusted gate.
The man thought at last he was congenial with his own flesh. He could understand why Buddha appeared relieved. The sea lions called. Someone had a flute. Someone was playing a flute. The man remembered a friend who went to a Florida swamp to read poems to alligators. The man thought the flute accompaniment to the sea lions was better. The call and response of the flute and the sea lions spoke something about owning our lives.
The boy wanted to run down the wharf waving his arms. The blind boy had always been good at running wildly. The man understood that joy. The man and dog understood. The man and dog and boy got up together and covered the wharf with very fast footfalls.
The man was meditative. He thought about C.S. Lewis who wrote: “No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened.”