How A Dog Taught Me to Dance

So it worked this way, a fresh face was my face every hour, because that’s what dogs can give us.

So it worked this way, I was lighter but not so light I couldn’t get down on my knees.

So it worked this way, Corky fit perfectly under my desk.

It worked, Corky beside me in precise, parallel patterns.

She was the dog who woke me each day and made me think more clearly.

She made me take a break, sit the emotional curve of slow.

One morning she walked me down a path among hedges in light rain and I felt just perfect. The Buddha said: “Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.”

So it worked this way.

If some mornings I had dark dreams on my mind, she would place shoes in my hands and drive out ghostly rhetoric.

If I was at a meeting with unkind souls, she’d put a paw on my foot, feeling my distress from her spot under the table.

Dogs do these things for free, without expectations. They don’t say: “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.”

Don’t say: “you’ve been with another dog, I hate you now.” (Though this is what most people believe—i.e. petting my dog, they say, “Oh my dog will be jealous when I get home…”

Dogs are never jealous. They never dance with tears in their eyes. But they dance alright.

One night I told a friend I’d like to make a short film in which the Buddha dances alone.

“That’s the way dogs dance,” I said. “Every motion is the mild morning turning.”

“Don’t call Hollywood,” my friend said.

“A dog’s entire day is without regret,” I said.

“We who live in the freighted world where lovers disappear and our children are unfriendly, we’re the anti-dancers,” I said. “Regrets in motion do not make a dance,” I said.

My friend said I was drunk but he thought I was onto something.

“Dogs teach us life is a dance and that mindfulness is being that dance, and only the dance,” I said.

So Corky had taught me a thing or two.

Be safe. Love every single gesture.


Author: skuusisto

Poet, Essayist, Blogger, Journalist, Memoirist, Disability Rights Advocate, Public Speaker, Professor, Syracuse University

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